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VINE VOICEon 21 March 2007
This is the seventh book from everyone's favourite mockney celebrity chef, and anyone who owns the likes of The Naked Chef or Jamie's Dinners will know what to expect: Jamie's jovial, conversational-style of writing, a lovely, clear lay-out, tantalising, mouthwatering photographs, and recipes that straddle the great divide between haute cuisine and decent, down-to-earth grub. So, what does this book offer that's new?

Well, firstly, at over 400 pages, Cook With Jamie appears to have been conceived as a more comprehensive cook book than previous efforts, as he covers everything from basic salads all the way through to desserts, even revisiting some of the chapters from earlier books (Making your own pasta, Risotto). Secondly, each section has an introduction of its own, including a list of 'Top tips' and a bullet-point guide to being a better ingredients shopper. Some of it may seem bleedin' obvious but it's great for the newcomer and worth reminding yourself of if you've been out of the game for a while. Finally - and most importantly! - it offers some very inventive and scrumptious-sounding new dishes, of which my favourite are:

'Gorgeous slow-cooked duck pasta'
'Pan-fried scallops with lentils, crispy pancetta and lemon creme fraiche'
'Grilled spatchcocked chicken with new potatoes, roast asparagus and herby yoghurt'

The recipes vary from the ridiculously simple (see: Return of egg salad, Prawn cocktail, Jools' favourite Saturday afternoon pasta) to the rather more time-consuming and complex (anything with crab or lobster...) and there are entire sub-chapters devoted to carrots, peas, broccoli and cauliflower!

Matt Pucci
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on 9 February 2007
I bought this book as my new years resolution was to learn to cook. Who better to turn to than Mr Oliver? To start with, there are absolutely loads of recipes to try out, you could spend a very long time trying to decide what next to cook! Its always good to have variety, and Cook has this in spades. My first recipe attempt went disastrously wrong (sausage fusilli) but whether this was because we broiught the wrong sausages or because its not a great recipe i dont know, but we werent very keen! However, everything else we've cooked from this book has been a success. The meatballs were delicious and nicely spiced, the fish wrapped in bacon was yummy and surprisingly filling, and the home made custard is beyond words. Its so good and so hard to stop eating- calorific but the nicest thing i've eaten in a long while! Every recipe has a mouthwatering picture and there are tons of tips from shopping for meat to how to kill a lobster. If you want to learn to cook then this is a must buy-simple recipes that taste very very good!(apart from the sausage fusilli!)
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on 25 October 2006
All though all of Jamie's books are good, there were all complicated to follow. There were to many this and that's and the ingredients were expensive. But now, as the book says; this helps you become a better cook. The ingredients are easy to get; they are simple things like common vegetables and meats that are not too expensive. The book is easy to follow, the foods are simple yet different in their own little ways, and still lovely.

Maybe some people that have loved Jamie's past books will be slightly disappointed with this one, but I wouldn't have thought so. This book is for new coming cooks that want to prepare a meal for any number of people. Jamie concentrates on everything in this book, loads of different food types: meaty main courses, desserts, veggie meals and even how to make simple fruit and veg better to eat.

I am now third of the way through this book (I haven't cooked everything) and all of the meals that I have followed in this book so far are excellent. The really important thing is that the recipes turn out just like the pictures provided, they are that simple to follow that they are always just like what they are supposed to look and taste like.

I would recommend this book to ANY inexperienced cook, or even a experienced one. This book is fantastic, even though the recipes are simple, and the food is not expensive, the meals are brilliant. This is to improve your everyday food, and there are even some tips on the techniques of making the food. This book is one of my best cooking guides. A must buy.

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on 14 December 2006
I'm not very experienced in the cooking department and as a huge fan of Jamie Oliver i reckoned this must be the book for me. I wasn't wrong! As ever Jamie is easy to understand and seems sincere in his desire to make you, the reader, a better cook. I agree with a previous reviewer that his quantities are a bit off (the 15 Chocolate Tart makes enough pastry to fill 2 cases) and i've been a little disappointed with his baking recipes (the aforementioned chocolate tart was a nightmare to make and i had to fiddle with the amounts of flour and cooking times, in the end it tasted alright though). However i still love this book, it's really practical - with sections on buying and preparing meat, fish, poultry and herbs, sharpening knives and kitchen dos and don'ts - and his savoury recipes are wonderful as always.
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on 14 October 2006
I got this book last week and as soon as I opened it inspired me to invite my whole family round for sunday lunch! (something i have NEVER done before lol)

I baked my first cake, made my first pavalova, and cooked a beautiful meal following several of the meat and vegetables recipes! Everyone loved it and I really enjoyed cooking it!

The book looks amazing and the food tastes even better! Think this would make a lovely christmas present for someone who is interested in learning more about cooking!
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on 30 September 2006
This book is absolutely amazing! It has soooooo many recipes in it that will tingle your taste buds. I manged to look at all of the recipes in one day and it has alrady helped me come up with some new ones. That is the beauty of the book, you can adapt the recipes to suit your likes and dislikes. This book takes you right back to basics from sharpening a knife, to cooking restaurant dishes of the Fifteen Menu. I hope you all have as much fun reading as I did and may it bring you many happy days in the kitchen as it did me!
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on 18 October 2006
'Welcome to my 7th book...
In a way I feel this should have been my first cookbook, where I take you on a journey through the basics of food, shopping and cooking with great ingredients, a bit like the Fifteen students when they start on day one of their course...
Whether you've cooked before, or it's your first time, I wanted to give you a smidgeon of our 'Fifteen' cookery course.'

Jamie goes on to say: 'it's the biggest book I've ever done', and that is no understatement ~ it is a weighty tome of 447 high quality pages making it a little on the heavy side for bedtime reading!

Complete with braid fabric bookmark, this chunky book is split over main chapters:

1. Salads
2. Pasta, Gnocchi and Risotto
3. Meat
4. Fish
5. Vegetables
6. Desserts

along with an intro, 'thanks', a section entitled 'Bits and Bobs' (safety, freezing, chopping techniques, herbs & spices) and a full index, with vegetarian recipes clearly indicated.

Each chapter opens with helpful notes about the subject, e.g.:

♦ 'Salads' includes 'What makes up a salad?', understanding flavours with recipes for barious dressings and mayonnaise.
♦ 'Pasta' includes a guide to making your own.
♦ 'Gnocchi' - literally means 'lumps' in Italian, and there are a few different ways of making them'.
♦ 'Risotto' includes a basic recipe.
♦ 'Meat' includes notes: 'All About Meat' & how to be a better meat shopper, how to cook it and there are useful two-page spreads showing the different cuts of beef, lamb, pork and chicken, including cute black and white drawings of each animal. Then follow some other meats that Jamie loves - duck, rabbit & turkey
♦ 'Fish' includes notes on types, flat and round, how to be a better fish shopper, cooking filleted fish, cooking whole fish, scallops, mussels and clams, prawns, crab, lobster (inc. how to prepare a live one) & squid.

Each recipe is clearly laid out with an opening note, the number of servings, the list/s of ingredients & method, with an illustration of the finished product.

A small taste of the other recipes contained within:

* My Favourite Coleslaw
* Jools' Favourite Saturday Afternoon Pasta
* Macaroni Cheese (a twist on the old-school frumpy Anglicised dish)
* Fantastic Fish Lasagne
* The Best Stew with Potato and Rocket Pasta Cushions
* Asparagus, Mint and Lemon Risotto
* Melt-in-your mouth Shin Stew
* Overnight Slow Roasted Pork
* The Best Roast Turkey
* Perfectly Cooked Crispy Duck with Spiced Plum Chutney
* Poached Salmon Steak
* Steamed Thai-style Sea Bass and Rice
* Whole Fish baked in a Salt Crust
* Prawn Cocktail (tweaked!)
* Southern Indian Crab Curry
* Scotch Stovies
* Slow Cooked Leek Soldiers with Bacon
* The Best Onion Gratin
* Whole Baked Cauliflower with Tomato and Olive Sauce
* Classic Victoria Sponge with all the trimmings
* Tea Party Fairy Cakes
* My Nan's Lemon Drizzle Cake
* Basic Meringue
* Eton Mess
* Proper Custard
* Homemade Ice Cream
* The Best Shortbread in the World
* Fifteen Chocolate Tart

My favourite main dish (to date), tried & tasted...'delish'!

~ 'Incredible Baked Lamb Shanks'
The lamb is baked in individual foil parcels, each including a 'swig of wine'(!), and served some two and a half hours later.

My favourite pudding - a modern spin on an oldie - '1980s-style Black Forest Swiss Roll'
I have to echo Jamie's note in the recipe heading:...'sponge, black cherries and booze...a match made in heaven'...!
Sprinkled with the recommended chocolate shavings I have to admit to regularly 'going OTT', with the clotted cream, making my completed dish far less delicate than it is meant to be!
BUT...I can justify that it is indeed a super alternative to a heavy Christmas Pud with brandy butter, with Christmas not that far away (at the time of writing).
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 November 2006
I have made five things from this book within only a few weeks of getting it, and all have been easy to make, clearly explained and delicious. Some top recipes, some explanation of how things work. Great book. Someone else said "beware, this is Jamie's 15 tie-in". Well 15 is mentioned and some of the recipes are from 15 trainees, but so what? Its definitely a useful cookery book and not the book of a TV series. Buy with confidence. Cook with on hand, and fill your boots. Nice touch that its covered in wipeable plastic.
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on 2 January 2007
I am neither a fan of the author's TV programs nor a particular admirer of the author, to be frank. I think the program is about entertainment and not about teaching you how to cook. There is no doubt that he is a great cook, but a terrible TV cook show presenter-teacher. But this review is not about the author, but about his book and, for my surprise, the book is good and didactic. It is not a book that will change your life (except if you had never cooked in your life), but it is a good first/second step towards better cooking skills. Yes, it is basic. Yet, the receipts were very good, easy to follow, well explained and, well, very tasty.

The book is honest: it tells you that it is for beginners and early intermediary, and this is what it is.

Besides, all profits go to a charity that has positive effects on people's lives. So I think that if you like cooking but lacks confidence or want to start liking it, it is worth buying. If you are already a skillful cook, you will certainly be better off by buying something more complex.
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on 16 October 2006
Jamie Oliver is a rarity amongst Chefs - he understands and appreciates the fact that the majority of people in the UK get there food from their local supermarket and not a specailist delicatessen or some organic farmer 70 miles from nowhere. It is one of the reasons why this book is a must.

Jamie doesn't just tell you how to cook the meals, he explains why gas cookers are better than eletric hobs, the must have utensils (peeler and mortar), and why you should wear an apron when cooking. Simple I know, but the fact of the matter is that previous cook books assume that you know this information.

But my best section is the meat section. It is not often you see a diagram of a cow, lamb and pig in a cook book eached clearly marked showing you which part of the animal certain meats come from and how they should be cooked.

Each receipe comes with a picture of how the end dish should look.The receipes are not pretenious and you can get the ingredients from your local supermarket.

Jamie has inspired me to ditch the ready made meals and get back in the kitchen and for someone who didn't like cooking, I now love it.

PS Our microwave has been broken for the past six weeks, we were planning to get a new one, but you know what, we don't miss it at all.
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