The Return of the Naked Chef – our verdict

Anna: Well, I enjoyed this month if only I was 27 again!

Kirstin: Oh yes! I totally know what you mean.

Anna: Quite a lot of the recipes from this book I still cook anyway. But it was lovely to have the excuse to do some of the others again.

Kirstin: I think I tried more recipes back in the day than I do now. But that could be because I cook with the kiddies in mind nowadays.

Anna: I think it’s true. Our lifestyles have changed somewhat. In those days, I had just got my own flat, Peter and I had just started courting and it was all about having people around for dinner.

Kirstin: I remember those days with great fondness.

Anna: I think the thing for me is that this is Jamie at its best. Bring back the old Jamie, that’s what I say.

Kirstin: As Georgia said in a previous post, “Do you know, I don’t think we would be where we are now, without Jamie and his handful of this and that.” So true.

The Return of the Naked Chef – our verdict

“Fantastic Fish Pie” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

If you would like to make “Fantastic Fish Pie” for yourself– and I highly recommend that you do– you can find the recipe here.

Maureen: Yum! Jamie’s fish pie. We love this.

Andrew (12): We do?

Nicholas (8): Are you sure?

Maureen: I could not be more sure. In fact, when I made the “Happy Fish Pie” from “Jamie’s Great Britain” we spent a lot of the meal saying this one was better.

Andrew: I really don’t remember that. But whatevs. This is nice.

Continue reading ““Fantastic Fish Pie” from “The Return of the Naked Chef””

“Fantastic Fish Pie” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Baked trout and potatoes with a crème fraîche, walnut and horseradish sauce” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Ella: So can I stab the fish eyes again?

Kirstin: If it makes you try the fish, yes you can!

Ella: Yes please!

Continue reading ““Baked trout and potatoes with a crème fraîche, walnut and horseradish sauce” from “The Return of the Naked Chef””

“Baked trout and potatoes with a crème fraîche, walnut and horseradish sauce” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Farfalle with savoy cabbage, pancetta, thyme and mozzarella” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Peter: This smells like the broccoli pasta.

Anna: That will be the pine nuts. He puts pine nuts in almost every recipe in this book.

Peter: Are pine nuts very turn of the century then? What’s in now, during these recessionary times? Quinoa?

Anna: Dried things. And things you grow yourself. You can’t grow pine nuts. But, you can grow cabbage if you’re so inclined. I don’t think we’ve done this recipe before. And it’s rather nice.

Peter: You’re right, I can’t remember having it. But it’s a proper meal. And this is an easy way to sneak cabbage into someone’s diet.

Anna: Yes, hide it behind the saturated fat and salt of the mozzarella and pancetta. I think we’ll be having this again. It’s good for restoring your energy after your swimming lesson with Louis.

Peter: All that splish-splashing around in a circle and up in the air certainly takes it out of you.

Anna: I should mention that there’s no photos as the camera ran out of battery just as I was serving. This isn’t the sort of dish that can sit around while searching for an replacement.  Next time…..

“Farfalle with savoy cabbage, pancetta, thyme and mozzarella” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Roasted slashed fillet of seabass stuffed with herbs, baked on mushroom potatoes with salsa verde – a la Tony Blair” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Anna: I’m feeling very nostalgic, eating a dish named after Tony Blair. I’m sure you are too. Don’t give me that withering look.

Peter: Did Jamie’s next book have a recipe for T-bone steak?

Anna: New Labour, those were the days.  I thought this was going to be too much hassle for a mid-week meal, what with having to make the salsa verde and all. But it really wasn’t, and it tasted yum. It was a taste of the past.

Peter: It certainly was.

Anna: Do you remember, I made this at your flat in Balham for someone or other who came to dinner years and years and years ago? So long ago, I can’t even remember who we cooked it for! Was it Miff’s birthday?

Peter: I don’t think we’ll ever remember. We haven’t had bass in a while, I enjoyed this.

Anna: Me too. It was a bit decadent for a weeknight, but I will remember this recipe for when we’re having people to dinner.

Peter: It’s obviously a classic.

Anna: I’ve been so transported back to the early noughties that I’ve drunk far too much wine tonight. All I’m missing are the Marlboro Lights.

“Roasted slashed fillet of seabass stuffed with herbs, baked on mushroom potatoes with salsa verde – a la Tony Blair” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Whole sea bass baked in a bag and stuffed with herbs” “Chocolate pots” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Kirstin: So Ella. What do you think about this sea bass?

Ella: I will like it more, if I get to stab your fish in the eyeball.

Kirstin: So that means you like it then?

Continue reading ““Whole sea bass baked in a bag and stuffed with herbs” “Chocolate pots” from “The Return of the Naked Chef””

“Whole sea bass baked in a bag and stuffed with herbs” “Chocolate pots” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Salmon fillet wrapped in prosciutto with herby lentils, spinach and yoghurt” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Peter: Haven’t we had this before?

Anna: Yes, lots of times. But not for a long while. It started off as one of my dinner party recipes in the old days at the flat. When we were young and entertained alot.

Peter: Ha! Who did we entertain?

Anna: We used to have people round all the time!

Peter: You did have a selection of salmon recipes. And I think most of them were Jamie Oliver.

Anna: Well I always liked this one, so I was keen to try it again, especially as we’ve been doing another recipe that’s virutally the same recently.

Peter: Yes, I got confused. This tasted very similar to whichever one it is that you do now.

Anna: Can you tell the difference?

Peter: No.

Anna: The Waitrose recipe has harissa on top of the salmon. And chilli flakes and sauteed onions in the lentils. Rather than prosciutto on the salmon and loadsa herbs in the lentils. Otherwise they both have spinach and yoghurt.  I reckon you could merge the two quite easily. I love the salmon with the prosciutto but I prefer the lentils with the onion.

Peter: I like them both. I don’t know which one’s quicker….

Anna: They’re the same really. Especially as I cheated and used tinned lentils tonight. In the old days I made the puy lentils from scratch. No time for that anymore!

“Salmon fillet wrapped in prosciutto with herby lentils, spinach and yoghurt” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Peter’s lamb curry” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Anna: I think I remember making this curry years ago, and wierdly I think that I didn’t like it that much. But this is delicious!

Peter: Maybe your tastebuds are maturing like this book.

Anna: Hmm. Maybe. What did you think?

Peter: It was very good. You could tell that it was made from scratch, all the flavours were really fresh. If I had one comment it would be that it tasted like it should be a dry curry, but there was quite a lot of sauce.

Anna: Actually the core recipe is just for the sauce. In typical Jamie fashion you can make the dish your own…. bit of chicken, throw in some paneer, chuck in some chickpeas….

Peter: Did you rip in some herbs?

Anna: I didn’t, but I added spinach for greenery. What is it with curry? It’s impossible to take decent photos! Brown sludge. Yummy brown sludge.

Peter: It is brown.

Anna: Despite having 3 Indian cookery books on my bookshelf I think this will be a recipe I will be going back to. I’m glad we tried it again!

“Peter’s lamb curry” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Roasted fillet of beef rolled in herbs and porcini and wrapped in prosciutto” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Georgia: I think that Jamie’s first books seem a lifetime ago. So much has happened in food and our lives. I’ve slightly moved on and forgotten some of those recipes, except for this one which we still do regularly. This recipe is low effort, high impact food. It looks great, especially when you cut it open in the middle and yet you can prepare it hours beforehand and have it all ready and it takes just half an hour to do.

Continue reading ““Roasted fillet of beef rolled in herbs and porcini and wrapped in prosciutto” from “The Return of the Naked Chef””

“Roasted fillet of beef rolled in herbs and porcini and wrapped in prosciutto” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

“Fantastic roasted chicken”, “Baked carrots with cumin, thyme, butter and Chardonnay” and “Strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”

Anna: Ah, this book. It reminds me a cooking in the flat a decade ago. We have cooked so much from this book and continue to do so to this day.

Peter: You’ve never done this chicken before though, have you?

Anna: I don’t think so. The first roast chicken recipe I ever made was from The Naked Chef. I think I just stuck with that, probably because this recipe requires half a pack of butter.

Peter: Half a pack of butter!?

Judy: Well I think it tastes delicious. Is this celeriac?

Anna: It is. A vegetable I wouldn’t normally use, but it is surprisingly good.

John: It’s all wonderful!

Anna: I was slightly disappointed that the potatoes and celeriac weren’t crispier. They didn’t roast so much as poach in the chicken juices. Which gives them a good flavour of course.

Peter: It’s hard to get a crispy celeriac I imagine.

Anna: What it did do though was minimise the effort and number of trays to wash up. Likewise the carrots were easy to prepare and you just bunged them in at the same time as the chicken.  I won’t be making this again though.

Judy: Why not? It tastes lovely!

Anna: Too much prep required versus my usual chicken recipe. I use the River Cafe Easy one which is really quick and doesn’t use any butter either.

Peter: Phew.

Judy: What’s this sauce on the strawberries?

Anna: Balsamic vinegar and sugar. I love this recipe, have been making it for years. I’m sure I’ve done it for you before.

Judy: I’m sure you have.

Anna: It’s a great way to serve strawberries, particularly at this time of year when they aren’t really in season.

John: Well this was a delicious feast from Jamie.  Or should I say ‘pukka’?

Anna: Given it’s this book, I think you should!

“Fantastic roasted chicken”, “Baked carrots with cumin, thyme, butter and Chardonnay” and “Strawberries marinated in balsamic vinegar” from “The Return of the Naked Chef”