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on April 18, 2010
My husband has food sensitivities, so I've been cooking at home for a long time. I mainly bought this book to generally support the movement and see what Jamie Oliver was up to with the Food Revolution. I didn't expect to really find many--if any--recipes that I would be able to use. But I did.

The good:
* TONS of photos. Every single recipe has photos, both of the finished dish and of the preparation. Yay!
* He doesn't just give you the recipe (add 2 onions, chopped). He walks you though the process (Chop two onions and set aside). So you can usually cook as you read the recipe.
* He tells you what to serve with the recipes, and the recipes for suggested sides are in the book. Yay!
* Many of the recipes can be easily adapted for allergen-free cooking. My husband is senstive to gluten, corn, dairy, honey, legumes, and some nuts. That's a long list, and I was still able to adapt several recipes.
* He offers recipes for all meals: breakfast food, lunch food, suppers, desserts. You could use this as your only cookbook.
* The dessert section is amazing. We generally don't eat dessert in our house...at all. I think sugar makes you want more sugar, and it's a nasty cycle. But these desserts, while clearly luscious, include a lot of healthier stuff in the preparation, like fruit and oats. And the photos depict appropriate serving sizes. They look very elegant. I'm glad I'll have something wholesome to serve when company visits.

The not so good:
* There isn't any nutrition data for the recipes
* Some of the recipes, while simple, can take some real time to prepare (fine by me, but I'm not trying to whip together dinner in a frenzy when I get home from work)
* Many of the recipes serve 2 people. Which is fine, but it took me some time to adapt. I've purchased ingredients for a recipe only to realize later that I didn't get enough.

In the end, the recipes are quite good. These are not recipes that will show up in Gourmet magazine. And they won't all make the list of the world's healthiest foods either. There are several comfort food recipes...spaghetti, stew, cheesy pastas, roasts. But overall, I'm pleased. Even experienced cooks will be able to find some things of interest here. And this is an awesome collection for someone trying to transition to real food from a diet full of McDonald's and pizza rolls.

Update: I've cooked several more recipes from this book since I wrote this review, and I am growing more and more pleased. At first I blew off some of the recipes; I thought I didn't need another recipe for roasted chicken. But I made it, and it's great. I have cooked many recipes from the book now, and so far nothing has flopped. This is the only cookbook I own that I can say that about.

Update #2: I'm still cooking from the book all the time. I'm a complete convert. I've purchased copies for other family members now...even for my total foodie of a father-in-law. We are all fans, and the majority of my everyday recipes now come from Jamie Oliver. Everyone knows I'm a Jamie Oliver fanatic now, so when people like something I cook they don't ask, "Where did you get the recipe?" They ask, "Is this from Jamie Oliver?" I've become a proselytizer for the book. And still, after all this time, nothing has flopped.
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VINE VOICEon October 19, 2009
Jamie Oliver's cookbook is beautiful. It is full color, complete with step-by-step pictures and easy to follow traditional recipes but with a definite twist. Jamie's cooking hook is that the recipes are fairly quick, good for you and easy. So easy in fact, that Jamie has rounded up a bunch of every day folks who would never consider themselves cooks and challenged them to cook the recipes in his book. He challenged them by teaching them how to make the dishes. Jamie believes that non-cooks can cook these meals and proves it by including some of these folks, in full-color glossy glory, with their now-mastered meals!

The result is brilliant. The reader is tempted, inspired, and motivated, just as I was last Sunday, when I attempted "The Perfect Roast" on page 192. I followed the recipe to the letter and served my family a delicious roast dinner complete with horseradish sauce, p.210 and evolution cucumber salad p.114. (note to Jamie, as you suggested I improvised and added bacon bits to the cucumber salad and it was delish!)

You see, Jamie's cookbook has a challenge attached to it. He wants folks to start cooking again in their own kitchens! So... he challenges his readers to "pass it on." He asks readers to try some of the recipes in his book and then teach someone else the recipes and so on and so on and so on, you get the idea. Although I will probably skip signing that actual pledge which you can find on his website at [...] I will continue to try delicious recipes from this book and will pass them on to my friends and family.

Some of the other recipes that look terrific: Classic Tomato Spaghetti, p.43, Hardly Any Prep Shrimp Stir Fry, p.66, the entire Chopped Salad section p.120-p.125, Baked Creamy Leeks, p.123, and Pork Kabobs, p.238. Oh heck, the entire cookbook is full of terrific recipes. The desserts, including the Mega Chocolate Fudge Cake, look pretty awesome, too. Jamie combines traditional cooking with conventional time and money constraints making this book a pleasure to work with. I also love that fact that Jamie tells us, with more gorgeous pictures, the equipment we will need to get back to cooking and the essential ingredients we will need to stock in the cupboard for cooking success. Cooking this Fall is going to be a breeze!
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on November 20, 2009
So, in one of those odd publishing things... Jamie's cookbooks are released a year earlier everywhere in the world but the US. Since I spend much of my time in Bombay I have been cooking from this book since last November. Anyhow its awesome. The recipes are delicious (my favorite is the Chicken & Leek Stroganoff), easy to understand, and many are quick to make. There are pictures of all the food and detailed instructions. The book assumes nothing so anyone can really pick it up and make a great meal. The book also contains Jamie's trademark style and you can really hear his voice in the writing throughout the recipes and narrative. Jamie also encourages new cooks to play around (experiment) a bit and gives them strategies to do so - this is particularly evident in his evolution salads chapter.
If you are a fan of Jamie Oliver this book will definitely not disappoint, it has been my go to cook book for most of the year. It would also make a great gift for your novice cook friend or a college student. Enjoy.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon November 13, 2009
I have loved Jamie Oliver since he began his trek into the food world. This is his 12Th cookbook and probably one of his best. Jamie began his revolution in the UK where they have the highest obesity rate in Europe. Ready made meals make up 50% of the meals in England. Jamie wanted to change that life into simple, home cooked meals.

Now, Jamie has come to the US, Huntington, West Virginia. His mission is to show how to prepare simple, good food, made in the home. Jamie loves cream, butter and creme fraiche in his cooking. But if we eat well made meals in moderation,you will be fine. This is a cookbook for anyone, from the newbie to the most experienced. I love and collect cookbooks and this one is going to be used very often! Jamie hopes that once we know how to cook simple, economical, delicious meals that we will pass this knowledge on, and there is pledge to sign at the end of the book, if you are so inclined.

Upon opening this cookbook, you will be surprised to find the most wonderful photographs of the entire process of a recipe. The photographs lure you in and then the organization of the recipe makes it easy to complete. He starts off with a picture of the Essentials in every kitchen, and then we see a list of those essentials. What makes a meal? Jamie shows us and the book is organized around that question. We see pasta, stir-fries, curry, stews, roasts, and desserts. Twenty minute meals is a popular feature and even though that may extend to thirty minutes,it is delicious! Sweet and sour pork was my first recipe and it is so good and easy to prepare. Jamie's macaroni and cheese with cauliflower and crusty top, yum, yum. Various rice dishes and each recipe comes with photos to show the steps and the finished product. Fish pie, comforting stews, dumplings, cottage pie and chocolate cake are all found in this cookbook. This is a cookbook that will catch your eye and once you have tasted your cooking, you will be convinced that Jamie Oliver knows how to bubble when it boils!

Highly Recommended. prisrob 11-13-09

Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life

Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook
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on February 21, 2010
I'll be brief. I borrowed this book from the library and cooked three recipes from it. All of them were very good. I have shelves of cookbooks but few of them have given me three excellent dishes in a row. I've since returned the book to the library and bought my own copy.
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on May 4, 2010
I'm not a beginner cook. I am, however, a cook that seriously needed to get back to the kitchen AND back to basics. You do get out of practice if you don't cook for long stretches of time and, after a one year stint working evenings, I am definitely out of practice. So, I bought this. I told my BF that I will cook from this book for 7 evenings straight and I will follow the recipes to the letter. I am now through day two, and feel like I can write a review.... one which I will update for all seven days to give everyone a "taste" of this cookbook. I will give you the exact names of the recipes because some of them can be found for free on Jamie's website so that you can give them a whirl yourself. But even before I tried any recipes, I thought the book was worth the cost of admission because there are some fantastic tips in this.... he has quite an ingenious suggestion for storing your own lettuce mix that I am over the moon over... but I won't give it away. I am also excited to try the homemade curry pastes.

Keep in mind that for some recipes you will need Amazon or a very well stocked grocery store. For example, Jamie is a big fan (obviously) of English mustard , like Coleman's. I would suggest springing for it, because I have had it (lived in Europe for 8 years) and it really does taste much different than your standard French's. Also, he uses Marmite which I think is a sweet yeast extract. I haven't used that product yet. Anyhow... on to the recipes.

Day 1: Chicken and Leek Stroganoff, pg. 34

I cheated and used penne pasta instead of the rice which the recipe calls for. I forgot to buy it, what can I say? DON'T USE PASTA. The sauce is quite thin and does not work with pasta. It would have been quite delish, though, with some rice soaking it up. This is a heavy recipe because it calls for cream. Having made it, I found it a bit bland. I think it is a good idea to cook the rice in some strong chicken stock OR to add a teaspoon or so of Better than Bouillion Chicken paste to the cream while it is bubbling. Also, Jamie uses lemon juice presumably to mimic the tang of sour cream which is typically used in Stroganoff, but the end result is pretty obviously lemony. I loved it... but it definitely needs to be served with rice cooked in chicken stock. This would also be fantastic with Broccoli tossed in.

Basically.... this is a VERY basic recipe. Make it once as Jamie has it written. Then mess around with it. Frankly, that's what Jamie wants you to do anyway. Learn the recipe, then learn to play with it. And this really is a great foundational recipe.

Day 2: Sizzling Beef with Scallions and Black Bean Sauce, pg 69

YUM. I loved this. A lot. Jamie's simple mixture of lime, soy, and black bean sauce will be my go-to mix for stir frying. I did add some stuff... I know, I know... I said I wouldn't change anything but I have a lot of veg in my fridge and I LOVE vegetabley stir fries. I added 1 carrot, chopped and two ribs of celery, chopped. And mushrooms. Because they rock. The one negative thing about this recipe is that Jamie asks for a thumb-sized piece of ginger finely sliced and, for me, that was too strong. I would have preferred the ginger grated, and maybe 1/2 the amount. I also used red pepper flakes instead of the chile in this because all I could get were jalapenos.

This recipe was a winner and is destined to become a staple in my house. His cooking times may leave you with slightly pink beef, though, especially if you don't have a gas stove and/or a big enough pan. I like it that way, but if you don't then consider yourself warned to increase the cook time a bit.

Day 3: Potato Leek Soup

Love it. Simple to make and cooks quite quickly. Make sure you use a high quality chicken or vegetable stock here, because there are very few ingredients so the stock's flavor will really make or break this. The recipe called for 1 lb of potatoes which, for me, is 3 fist sized spuds. I weighed them so I knew I had the right quantity, but for me I will add another potato in the future... it will make for a heartier soup. Yummy with crusty bread and a refreshing green salad. This is a keeper.

Day 4: I cheated and we went out to eat.

Day 5: I am cheating again... but only because I am not making a new recipe... I am making the sizzling beef and bean sauce again because it was so ridiculously yummy!

Day 6: Broccoli and Pesto Tagliatelle pg. 46

This was pretty good. Tagliatelle is fettuccini. The pasta is simply dressed with pesto and parmesan. You don't have to make the pesto from scratch, the recipe just calls for pesto and doesn't include ingredients or steps for making it (not that it's difficult). I took my cue from Jamie and used a jarred pesto. He calls for lots of fresh basil, so you still get that bright flavor of the basil as if you had made the pesto fresh. I also added a squeeze of lemon to my plate which I thought brightened it up more (Jamie uses this trick throughout the book, but doesn't call for it here), but my boyfriend took it straight and liked it well enough.

Bottom line, I would make it again as is but the BF wasn't into the pesto.

Day 7: Lasagne pg. 169

Wow. This was different. But GOOD. Jamie calls for Creme Fraiche along with the standard tomato meat sauce, which is totally different for me. No mozzarella in this dish, just parm. The parm is layered on top of the creme fraiche, a tangy combo that might keep you from missing the mozzarella. I admit, though, that I will probably add mozza to the top when I make this again... I just love bubbly, crusty mozza.

I thought it was a nice twist on what I know as lasagne... drowned in red sauce and mozza. The creme fraiche layer will lend itself well to layering with some roasted veg in the future. Oh, do spring for the creme fraiche if you can find it... I think sour cream (Jamie's suggested substitution) would be too sharp. I figured it is worth the effort to get a special ingredient because lasagne is a special weekend dish for us, not something I'm just going to want to toss together any old time. It is worth noting, though, that Jamie calls for Creme Fraiche in a lot of recipes and sour cream is a fine substitution I think, most of the time.

Overall, I am quite pleased with this book so far. It really is worth it to have added yet another cookbook to my collection.

Thanks for the lettuce trick, Jamie, and all of your efforts to get us cooking!
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on November 16, 2009
Bought this book because one of my favorite things to cook is by Jamie (white wine and butter chicken). The first night i made 4 things from the book, and though my Yorkshire puddings didnt fluff the 1st go round and the cheese on the beans had hardened by the time i was finished with everything else, it was still hands down one of the best meals i have ever made! This book paid for itself the first night.

SO im back, and i have more great food to tell you about! This book has made me LOVE leeks. The leek casserole is epic! And even i cant mess it up. The chicken with pancetta and lemon zest is just about the best chicken i have had, the pancetta keeps it so moist! Which is helpful cuz i tend to overcook chicken. The stew with guiness doesnt make a lot, but it makes the meat ridiculously tender and is a great meal on a cold day. Just no leftovers between 2 people. The salads are great, though they need to be eaten the same day they are made. The rice salad was awesome and the homemade dressing made me feel so accomplished! WTF, i just made my own dressing? I have made the roast chicken before the recipe was available in this book (online from the original food revolution in England) and its so good! Plus its actually really cheap to make, as you can buy a whole bird for less than precut breasts. This book makes me excited to try new things and while i have my blunders in the kitchen, somehow it always comes out better tasting than processed, and you feel good about what you made.
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on March 6, 2010
This book was perfect for a beginning cook like me. The recipes are so easy (and delicious!) and the step-by-step pictures are incredibly helpful for getting the dish right the first time! My friends are shocked at how quickly I went from being a non-cook to a girl who hosts dinner parties in her apartment. I can honestly say it completely changed my eating habits for the better! Thanks Jaime!
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on April 12, 2010
Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious and Affordable Meals has been a surprisingly enjoyable discovery. Prior to watching the ABC program: Jamie's Food Revolution, I did not know who "this English guy was." Well, I fell in love with the show, am always checking out his website and borrowing some of his cookbooks from the library!

I borrowed this book with a 14 day loan. Within a week, I had inserted slips of paper marking various recipes that I wanted to try. This book lives up to its full title--the dishes I made were simple (not too many steps), delicious (my 10 year old, a very poor eater, ate the Crunchy Garlic Chicken) and certainly affordable (I did not need unusual, difficult to locate and expensive ingredients).
So after a little over a week, I gave in and purchased my own copy.
Some of the dishes I have made are:
Crunchy Garlic Chicken
Baked Carrots in a Bag
Dressed Asparagus
Broccoli With Asian Dressing
Cauliflower Cheese
Omelets

Tonight's dinner is Sweet and Sour Pork

Here and there I modified some of the ingredients, for example, I used Panko Bread crumbs instead of Jacon's Cream Crackers for the Crunchy garlic Chicken and the result was delicious. In addition, I used the crumb concoction for some tilapia (cery good, indeed). In additon, due to my family's personal likes/dislikes and dietrary restrictions, I also modify/replace ingredients occasionally, but isn't this what a cook does? Makes the dish his own?

The book is a visual delight too. Each recipe accompanies gorgeous color photos that illustrate the steps of the recipe. Each one is more mouth-watering than the next.

All in all, this book is a worthwhile investment as well as a supplement to a great television show.
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This is the third Jamie Oliver cookbook I've bought and already it's becoming my favourite. I'm not the most confident of cooks and so I appreciate the clear instructions and having lots of illustrations. I also like the way he gives serving tips and ways to vary the dish next time around. The recipes however are what I particularly like about this book, because they are all the sorts of things that you actually want to cook on a regular basis: pasta, stir fries, curries, meatloaf, lasagne, roasts... My kids really liked the Chicken Fajitas and I thought the Mince Wellington was a great family meal option too. (It was a little time consuming to make, but not at all difficult). The fish pie was fine, but I prefer the fish pie recipe in the The Return of the Naked Chef cookbook. Admittedly it's a little more complicated, but it's seriously, awesomely good and this one pales in comparison.

At times it feels like Jamie's written recipes to make them seem easier rather than because it actually makes them easier - for example, in his meatloaf recipe he calls for crushed cream crackers, presumably because that sounds more accessible than rolled oats - but really, oats are pretty quick and simple.

One thing I don't like about this book is that a lot of the recipes (at least two sections of the book) are for two people only. Jamie explains in the stir fry section that it's best to cook in two batches if you want more than two servings, but again this is time consuming and not the easiest solution when you're feeding a family. Also, some of the photographs are more confusing than helpful: for example, in the illustrations of salad ingredients, the basil and the mint look almost identical, as do several of the lettuces.

Ultimately though it comes back to the recipes: a great selection written in way that's very easy to follow. Well done Jamie.
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