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March 2011 Cookbook of the Month: THE NAKED CHEF Collection

Welcome to our March COTM: The Naked Chef Books:

THE NAKED CHEF
THE RETURN OF THE NAKED CHEF
HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF

Please use this thread for review and discussion of recipes from these books by Jamie Oliver. Give us the name of the book, the name of the recipe along with the page number. Photos are welcomed.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Thanks smtucker!! I hope to do a lot of cooking from these books this month. I'm still waiting from Happy Days to arrive (an Abes Books purchase) but have flagged numerous recipes in the two other NC books so I have my work cut out for me it seems!! Not to mention all the bookmarks in my other JO books!!

    I'm actually planning to make a dish from the NC - Takes Off tomorrow night so will be back here soon w a review. Happy cooking everyone!

    1. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Shrimp with Chilli, Parsley, Ginger and Garlic on Toast, p.153
      Oliver says "Serves 4" but I served 6; two of them young kids.

      The title pretty much says it all: large raw shrimp ( I used 1 1/2 # ) are tossed into a large hot saute pan with olive oil, chopped ginger, sliced garlic, and deseeded and sliced red chili peppers. After about 3-5 minutes when the shrimp turn pink, the heat is turned down and the juice of a lemon and a bit more olive oil is added along with some chopped flat-leaf parsley. Toss and dish out with toasted ciabatta bread to sop up juices. Couldn't be much easier or fresher and everyone scarfed it up, even the young 'uns, who didn't complain about the bit of heat from the fresh red chili peppers. (I had removed any largish slices of the peppers from their plates--what remained was a pleasant peppery-ness.) Oliver says you can use 3 chili peppers if desired; I thought 2 were fine for us. It's very quick to prepare, too, once the shrimp are peeled (I buy frozen packages of shrimp called "Easy Peel" and they are not that bothersome to de-shell.)

      I made one change, inadvertently, thinking that the recipe called for a small wineglassful of white wine (turned out this was supposed to be in another of the evening's offerings.) So I added that instead of the called-for juice of one lemon, and I removed the shrimp for a minute or two to deglaze and reduce the white wine sauce. It was delicious this way, too! Next time, and there will be one, I will try it with what the recipe actually called for: lemon juice. A very agreeable and easy entre, nicely complimented by the toasted bread instead of a more prosaic rice side dish. Would be a nice first course, too.

      This was my very first Jamie Oliver cookbook recipe and I was impressed with how simple and good it was. And the food photography in this book. . . . . . oh my. Food-porn for sure and very inviting. All of the food photos in this book are really wonderful.

      11 Replies
      1. re: Goblin

        Great review Goblin, I have to try this one! I had to chuckle at your inadvertent change....just happened to have a glass of wine hanging around . . . ; - )

        My Dad used to say he always like to cook w wine, and sometimes he'd even put it in the food!

        1. re: Goblin

          Goblin, this sounds incredible. Exactly the kind of thing we like. You answered my first question, which was whether this was a first course or a main, but I do have another. Just how spicy do you normally like your food? We tend to like things on the spicy side, so I'm wondering if we should go with 3 chilies. Thanks for the report. It's going straight on my list.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Lulu'sMom, this recipe was just right for us as a main course, but it could also work well as a starter. In fact, I think that Jamie (I'm calling him "Jamie" now) might have meant it for a first course when he specified "16 large raw tiger or other large shrimp" to serve 4 (maybe 1 lb. of tiger shrimp? Jamie didn't specify the weight. ) I decided to use 1 1/2 lbs. of "extra large shrimp" (21-25 per pound) and as you recall, I threw in 6-8 oz. of white wine by mistake (instead of the juice of one lemon.) I didn't increase the parsley, ginger, and garlic, etc., at all and the sauce was still quite yummy.

            Yup, I think 3 chilies would be great if you and your family/guests like spicy. It's still not over-the-top. The 2 chilies that I used added a nice fresh tinge of heat without being excessive for a 5 and 7 year old.

            Breadcrumbs, I'm with your dad!

            1. re: Goblin

              I'm sure he won't mind - he's a friendly guy! Great review.g

          2. re: Goblin

            With a title like "The Naked Chef" I'm glad the only porn in it is of the food variety :)

            1. re: sarahcooks

              Saracooks, I am not familar with these books, but do you know why they are titled "naked chef'??? I just crawled out from a rock (again).

                1. re: Gio

                  Doesn't say why "naked chef" was chosen as a name. I remeber knowing why back when but have no idea today...

                  1. re: herby

                    Ah yes... sorry. He called himself the naked chef because he treats his ingredients simply. As he has said, "it's basically stripping back to the bare essentials." Localy grown food, easy to obtain ingredients, simply cooked. All that and very tasty too.

                    It's also very catchy for marketing...

                    1. re: Gio

                      And, well, he was young and cheeky, so it all worked together, I guess. (I never saw his shows, and only looked at his cookbooks once they were COTM.)

            2. re: Goblin

              Made the Shrimp with Chili, Parsley, Ginger and Garlic on Toast tonight. Made just as written, except couldn't find red peppers so used 3 jalapenos. They must have been fairly lame jalapenos. And the garlic must not have been very strong either. We all liked this, but considering we love all the ingredients, it somehow didn't bowl us over. I think part of the problem for my husband was that it was a "pick it up and eat it" thing - he's not big on eating with his hands (unlike Lulu and me). He also said, and I think this is a valid point, that some sort of carmelization (sp????) on the shrimp would have made them a bit more interesting. My feeling though is that there just wasn't enough (or strong enough) garlic/chilis or salt. I personally loved picking up the toasts and letting the juice drip down my arm a little. So ... mixed review.

            3. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: World's Best Baked Onions, p. 206

              Man, this was another case in this cookbook where the photo of the recipe not just called out to me, but COMPELLED me to make this recipe NOW! And though involving a few steps, it was not a difficult prep. I set up the onions early for baking later, which would be useful when entertaining. I'm definitely going to use this one again as a delicious side.

              The recipe (serving 4) calls for 4 "tennis-ball sized" onions (I used yellow) which are first peeled and parboiled until almost tender (be sure that they are indeed tender but not falling apart--mine took longer than the 15 minutes Oliver recommends but they might have been a bit larger than a tennis ball!) Then some of the onion is scooped out and chopped; this is added to a frying pan with some olive oil, chopped garlic and fresh rosemary, and sauteed a few minutes till softened, at which point the heat is turned off and several TB of cream and a "couple of handfuls" of grated Parmesan cheese are stirred in. Now how could THIS be any good ? ;-)

              The scooped-out onions are filled with the mixture (I had about 1 1/2 x too much filling to fit into the onions--I think next time I will scoop out more onion to make a bigger cavity, but not necessarily use all of it for the stuffing-mixture.) Then, to gild the lily, a strip of pancetta or bacon is wrapped around the stuffed onion before baking them at 400 F. The recipe says to bake for 25 minutes; mine took about 35 min. to become tender because I hadn't parboiled the onion sufficiently. But here's the cute part! When you are stripping your fresh rosemary sprigs for the leaves to chop, just remove the bottom 2-3 inches of leaves -- leave the rest on the upper part of the sprig, which you now use to spike the bacon in place (you can also use a toothpick.) It's so fun; looks like a little rosemary-flag! I think this would be very attractive and easy to serve at a buffet dinner and/or a dinner party. My diners were just family and they loved the savory flavors and richness. I served this with sauteed shrimp.

              14 Replies
              1. re: Goblin

                Wow, another mouth-watering review Goblin!! You've got me really, really excited about getting this book I'm expecting it any day now and will definitely flag both these recipes. Thanks Goblin!

                1. re: Goblin

                  Gosh that sounds good! Definitely another one to add to my ever-growing list.

                  1. re: Goblin

                    Weirdly enough, your report brought back to me that I actually made this recipe when the book came out. It was featured on some morning show and looked fantastic. Mine, quite possibly because I used turkey bacon instead of pancetta, were not really as good as expected. They were fine, but not special. I do think the turkey bacon could have been the problem. I'm glad they were a hit for you.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Yeah, Lulu'sMom, I have to admit that I never eat real bacon, nor cook with it much, but when I do--and I HAD to, that's what Jamie SAID--the flavor is really something. The combo of cream, parmesan cheese, and onion with the smokiness of the bacon was really great. Wait a minute. . . didn't we used to make something like this in the old days, called quiche?

                      1. re: Goblin

                        Laughing! Yeah, I had a feeling, whle eating those onions, that the bacon(ish) was the problem. Normally I think it works fine, but there are times when only the real thing works.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          LLM: Whose turkey bacon do you buy back there on the far away East Coast? Out here we have a company called "Willy Bird" (or is it "Willie"?). In any case, they make a great turkey bacon which we use almost exclusively in dishes calling for bacon. Once in a while, eating breakfast in a restaurant, we'll have REAL bacon, but never at home. I'll have to try this recipe to see if Willy Bird's rep. holds up.

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            That would be fascinating to hear. I always forget the brand name - I just go for the package. One of the big name ones actually still has a bit of pork in it, so that was out. Apparently there is a very good beef bacon sold at WFs, but since I'm not a big beef eater either, this doesn't appeal so much. I actually like the turkey bacon way more than I ever liked regular bacon when I ate it, but then again I'm a bit of a weirdo.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              I am trying to imagine what turkey bacon is like and I'm afraid I can't, really. I love bacon - can't imagine living without it!

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                It's sort of just a lighter flavored bacon. My husband doesn't notice the difference any more between the two (but then he's been forced to eat turkey bacon for well on 12 years now). Lulu doesn't notice the difference when she eats real bacon. Maybe someone who eats both can explain?

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  The whole bacon thing brings up the problem of totally different products in the US and UK. Keep in mind when americans say bacon they mean crispy bacon, not back bacon, and I'm not sure even that is the same because I never had crispy bacon in the UK. And for Americans, British bacon is more like thinly sliced Canadian bacon or ham. Could make a huge difference in any bacon recipes in his book.

                                  1. re: sarahcooks

                                    I notice in these Naked Chef recipes that Jamie usually recommends pancetta first, and then offers "bacon" as a alternative--and as you suggest it could be UK style bacon he means!

                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                    Well, GG, we don't live totally without it. We just use it sparingly. The Willy Bird turkey bacon looks a lot like bacon. They must use a combo of white meat and dark meat to make it look like the fat and the meat. It's cured like bacon, too. Maybe we're just used to it.

                                    I'm not a fanatic about this kind of thing. My husband eats (and claims he likes) egg white salad. It's hard-boiled egg whites mixed with spices and some lo-cal mayo to sub for egg salad. I can hardly stand to look at it. FAUGH!

                          2. re: Goblin

                            This was one of the recipes I really wanted to try. Thanks for taking the plunge! I think I might have to add a little extra bacon to the stuffing though...

                          3. HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF: Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, and Olive Oil, p. 223

                            Again, the title says it all. The feathery tips of the fennel bulbs are cut off and put in a roasting pan, then the next ingredients are added in one layer. NOTE: the fennel bulbs (quartered and halved) are first parboiled for 10 minutes, and the cherry tomatoes are also parboiled for 45 seconds, and then their little skins are pulled off (very easily.) This last seemed especially fussy to me but I think it was worth it: my family-diners really liked the result: no unattractive and somewhat tough tomato skins to cope with. The olives (I used Kalamata), thyme leaves, and sliced garlic roast nicely with the fennel and olive oil for about 30 minutes and I must say, everything ends up tender and buttery (oh yes; you are encouraged to add two pats of butter at the end) and completely delicious. A very nice side. I completely forgot to add the wineglass-ful of white wine, vermouth, or Pernod that Oliver suggests before baking the dish but it wasn't missed.
                            Here's a photo of the dish BEFORE baking. (I always forget to snap one before serving.)

                             
                            37 Replies
                            1. re: Goblin

                              Oh man, that hits SO many of my buttons. But I think I'd skip the parboiling and just roast for longer (we love roasted fennel, and I never parboil it first). Sounds like pure heaven, and would go great with the shrimp. I think you've picked out my first meal for me!

                              1. re: Goblin

                                Oh Goblin, another hit and yet another dish for me to bookmark. This is right up our alley. Perfect w a roast. Can't wait to try this! Thanks for the great review.

                                1. re: Goblin

                                  Again copying goblin (who obviously has similar taste to mine) I made the Roasted Fennel with cherry tomatoes, olives, garlic and olive oil. Did not parboil at all beforehand or peel tomatoes. And it was a huge huge hit. Right out of the ballpark. I did let it roast much longer - probably almost an hour instead of 30 minutes, but one less pot to clean up, and it was beautiful and slightly crispy around the edges. I'm in love. I'll make this again and again. Thank you goblin (and I finally have copies of the books in my greedy hands so I can pick out my own recipes, although something I found on JO's website while away is being made on Thursday).

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    Good to know that roasting longer renders everything tender and juicy without any boring parboiling! Thanks, LulusMom, for the excellent review.

                                    1. re: Goblin

                                      The thanks goes entirely to you. This was excellent.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Hats off to Goblin for alerting me to this recipe, and to LulusMom for doing the test drive without parboiling fennel and peeling tomatoes. This came out perfectly without the added steps. I halved the tomatoes, as they were rather large for cherries and I didn't want explosions in the oven. I used white wine (instead of the planned pernod) because the fennel was so wildly fragrant on it's own. Really a lovely, aromatic dish. I'll try it again using Jamie's suggestion of cooking chicken breasts (or maybe fish fillets?) on top for a one-dish meal.

                                         
                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                          Oh yeah, that idea of the one dish meal is perfect! How did I miss that? I had some leftovers the other day over leftover polenta, and that was a really wonderful meatless meal. Glad that the whole lack of parboiling worked for you too. And mostly just glad you loved it as much as we did. If I was making it for myself, I'd go with the pernod, but I went with white wine too, as I think it might have been overkill for my husband with both fennel and pernod.

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            I think I'll try it with pernod when I make it with chicken breasts. I always add pernod when I make fennel soup, and it gives it a nice punch. It should be good with this dish too, for those of us fans of the flavor.

                                          2. re: L.Nightshade

                                            I had all of these ingredients on hand, so this was a light lunch for me yesterday, with some shaved parmesan on top. Simple and delicious -- thanks for the alert. I too would love to try the chicken/fish on top option.

                                    2. re: Goblin

                                      HAPPY DAYS WITH THE NAKED CHEF
                                      Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic, and Olive Oil, Pg. 223

                                      We made this last night... without the fennel...! There was no fennel in the market and it's not in season here so I used 1/2 large green cabbage, shredded, instead. However I did use all the other ingredients required: cherry tomatoes, black olives, fresh thyme, garlic, S & P, EVOO and white wine (Chardonnay). Like LLM I didn't blanch anything nor skin the tomatoes.

                                      To try to compensate for the fennel lack I ground 1 T of fennel seeds and thinly sliced fresh basil and incorporated that in the mix. And, per the suggestion I placed well seasoned chicken pieces on top of the vegetables before roasting: boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The roasting time was approx 45 minutes.

                                      We loved it and plan on repeating the recipe with the necessary fennel when I see it on offer. This is a super versatile recipe. I can definitely see it used to cook fish as well. I served it with L/O couscous heated up in the MW with a little bit of chicken broth. Delightful dinner.

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        Every time I read another review about this recipe I crave it. Your adaptation sounds wonderful Gio.

                                        My Happy Days book has yet to arrive but after a quick Google I was able to find it posted on a forum in Jamie's website. Yay!

                                        I've pasted the link here in case anyone else that's book deprived like me wants to try it:

                                        http://www.jamieoliver.com:81/forum/v...

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          That's the recipe BC... you'll love it, I'm sure. The recipe above that one sounds like a terrific side dish. (Baked Fennel with Garlic Butter and Vermouth) I love fennel. it has such a sweet fresh flavor.. Mum served it as a component on a plate of fresh vegetables with bagna cauda.

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            I adore bagna cauda Gio and can imagine the fennel would be lovely w that. We too love fennel. I've recently started using the stalks to make what I call " fennel water". I simmer the stalks in water until it's infused w the lovely fresh flavour and then I use it in place of plain water in recipes. Last summer I boiled my pasta in fennel water and served it simply w some chopped fresh tomatoes, evoo, Parmesan and some fresh basil. Pure heaven!

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              That sounds wonderful. I have fennel growing wild in my garden and I am going to steal this idea. Thanks Breadrumbs!

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                That's a great idea, and a good way to actually use the stalks, as opposed to tossing them after taking a bit of the fronds, which is what I currently do.

                                        2. re: Goblin

                                          Roasted Fennel with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic and Olive Oil – p. 223 – Happy Days With The Naked Chef

                                          Goblin, Gio and L. Nightshade – HUGE thanks to all of you for your endorsements of this recipe. I made this last night and fell in love with the dish. I love all the individual components in the first place but the combined result is a symphony of flavour and deliciousness. I could have eaten the whole lot myself. For me, this is the perfect vegetable dish. I also think it would be fabulous at room temperature as part of an antipasti spread . . . not that I’d let anyone get near it!!

                                          I did make a couple of changes. Since fennel bulbs were fairly small and, we love fennel, I thought I better use two. I did quarter them as JO suggests. I had some lovely little campari tomatoes on the vine and I felt it would be a shame to pull them apart so I chose not to skin them and just tossed them in as is. I did puncture their skin w a sharp knife to prevent them from exploding in the oven. Instead of par-boiling the fennel, I gave it a quick steam ‘til almost tender.

                                          I loved Jamie’s idea of finely chopping the fennel stalks and fronds and tossing this in the pan w the veggies. This served to flavour the wine-butter broth and infuse it w that fresh fennel flavour.

                                          Simply perfect, I’ll be making this dish again and again.

                                          The full meal consisted of a roasted baby beet, blood orange and watercress salad w fresh ricotta (which I made myself for the first time!!) then for our main had a herb-infused salt crusted grilled prime rib with the Roasted Fennel w Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Garlic and Olive Oil and Crash Hot Blue Potatoes. I made a garlic chive cream for the potatoes and some truffle butter to melt on the roast, which we sliced for serving. Delicious!

                                          Here's a link to the review and photos of the rest of the meal and, a recipe for the fresh ricotta if you are interested:

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7725...

                                           
                                           
                                           
                                           
                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            BC, what brand of milk did you use for ricotta? I am in Ottawa - we should have same brands of milk and things. I tried making paneer a few time and it did not turn out well at all. I used to make it all the time when I lived in India so it is a not lack of skill. I blamed pasturised milk but now wonder..

                                            Many thanks!

                                            1. re: herby

                                              Hi herby, what a good point you've made. I'm glad you asked because now I've made note of this in my book to be certain I get the same results next time.

                                              I used Neilson's milk and I thought I'd take a photo for you just in case there are different types.

                                              I happen to adore paneer herby, do you have a recipe you could share or point me to? I'd love to give it a try.

                                               
                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Thank you for the pictures, Breadcrumbs! We have the same brand at Loblaws - will try soon:)

                                                Paneer is very easy to make. I do not have a recipe but this is how I made it in India where the milk is hardly pasturized if at all. I will slowly warm up a litre of milk and when it is hot for a touch add a juice of one lime. They did not have lemons and their limes are very small and taste almost as a cross between a lemon and a lime. I would use about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. The milk will start to separate into curds and whey. Turn off the heat and stir it very-very gently until there is no milk left and let cool for about 15 minutes. Strain into a cheese cloth or muslin lined sieve, gather the cloth together and put back into the pot. Place a plate with some weight over to hold the paneer inside the cheese cloth so that it is flat and 1-1.5 inches thick. Once cool, put in the fridge still submerged in whey and let it set for a day or so. After that you can cut and cook it. It will keep in the fridge for a week or two.

                                                If you make it, please let me know how it turned out.

                                                1. re: herby

                                                  Thank-you so much for sharing that herby, I'd be delighted to give it a try and clearly the initial process is very similar to that for making the ricotta as some of the recipes I looked at actually called for lemon juice. I'm wondering if the pasteurization somehow interferes w the cheese solidifying. . . is that where you've had issues? I'm confident that even if I'd weighted my cheese and carried on as you indicate, my cheese would not have firmed up. Just a thought.

                                                  That said, I'll be happy to give this a try because if it works, the reward would be amazing! My two favourite paneers are Saag and Shahi. What about you?

                                                  A quick question on your recipe, do you use homogenized milk?

                                                  thanks again herby!

                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Very happy to share:) Hope it works for you. I am sure it is the pasteurization that is the problem. I am not able to make yougurt or creame fraiche or paneer. I use homogenized milk but I used it in India too, do not think it is the problem.

                                                    Cheers!

                                                    1. re: herby

                                                      Great thanks herby, I'll try w Homogenized milk as well then. Thank-you!

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        Can't wait to hear if you are able to make a decent paneer. Are you going to use Neilson brand since your success with ricotta?
                                                        Forgot to say that I am not familiar with Shahi paneer - will look for it - and like the Saag.
                                                        Hard to find ethnique food in Ottawa; it is getting better - fresh curry is finely available on Fridays and however long it will last; I heard about a small store almost out of town that carries some Indian veggies "imported" from a farm near Toronto - so, there is hope:)

                                                        1. re: herby

                                                          Sorry I missed this somehow yesterday herby. Yes I'll use the Neilson's milk and see how it goes. A friend of mine used to live in Ottawa and she shared your frustration in sourcing ethnic ingredients for her cooking. We're spoiled here in Toronto with fairly good access to most items we need.

                                                          I first tasted Shahi paneer at an Indian restaurant in Manhattan and it was love at first bite! Paneer is served in a tomato cream sauce that also has some almond or sometimes cashew paste and raisins. Its so delicious!!

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            I am amazed we are still able to find anything here - the thread is sooo long!

                                                            Are you able to buy Shahi paneer in Toronto? Which restaurant in Manhattan? My children live there and I visit often, will be going next month. Sounds amazing - I am going to check a couple of Indian groceries.

                                                            1. re: herby

                                                              Hi Herby, yes I've been able to get Shahi paneer in Toronto. Unfortunately I don't recall the name of the restaurant I originally had it at in NYC, it was so long ago. That said, in more recent years I've had it at Tamarind though I don't see it online on their current menu but perhaps if you called ahead they could prepare it for you. Also, we had some take-out from Curry & Curry. You'll have to let me know what you think when you try it!

                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                Thanks Breadcrumbs! So nice to be home after a long day at the office:) I googled it and there are lots of recipes for Shahi paneer out there! I must've had it in India but forgot. I am going to look through my Indian books for a recipe - none of them are indexed on EYB which is annoying; but, hopefully, one day they will all magically appear:)

                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                  I hope you get a chance to try it while visiting NYC herby, what an exciting trip! By the way, do you have a favourite Indian cookbook you'd recommend?

                                                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                    I probably won't this time as I am going for Passover - we'll be staying at home, first cooking, then eating traditional Jewish dishes and then going to my daughter's in-laws for the second night.

                                                                    I just looked through all my Indian cookbooks and did not find a single recipe for shahi paneer - strange, no? My two favourite Indian cookbooks are:
                                                                    1. Madhur Jaffrey: A Taste of India. I love her recipes and the way the book is organized by most important (from the food perspective) states. You are familiar with her as I noticed there was a COTM on her other book, the one I am not familiar with.
                                                                    2. Shehzad Husain and Rafi Fernandez: The Complete Book of Indian Cooking. Not sure if it is available in NA; it was produced (whatever this means) in UK and published in India. I think almost all of my Indian cookbooks are from India.

                                                                    I just took 660 Curries out of the library and it has a recipe for Shahi Kofta Curry translated as lamb-almond dumplings that sounds very good. I am falling in love with the book but can't buy it as I just bought Around my French Table and highly recommended by chowhounds GF cookbook (my SIN is gluten intolerant and I love to feed him!). They were "unsuccessfully" delivered today by UPS and hope they will come tomorrow as I plan to work from home.

                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                      I'm so excited herby, I have The Complete Book of Indian Cooking. . . I purchased it on a trip to England after having a lovely curry at a friend's flat and she'd made it from a recipe in that book! Wow, what a small world.

                                                                      I do have a couple of Madhur's books but not A Taste of India, I'll definitely check it out of the library though.

                                                                      I found 660 Curries at Costco and I adore it. It would make a terrific COTM. That said, AMFT is great too, mr bc tabbed an unprecedented number of recipes for me this month (for a non-Italian book). No, he's not Italian, he just plays one at home!!

                                                                      I'll keep my fingers crossed that your delivery is successful tomorrow!

                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                        I can't believe that you have my favourite Indian cookbook BC!!! I taught my "boy friday" to cook from it while in India (after sending him to a language school to learn English, that is) and every recipe turns out nice. Might not be the very best but always tasty and doable. A couple of summers ago I took kulfi from this book to an Indian dinner party and was asked for a recipe!

                                                                        BC, I am loving this discusion but thinking that we are cluttering the thread with most irrelevant chat. How about I start an Indian Food thread on the home cooking board and you join in?

                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                          herby I love that book and what an amazing story you shared! I love your idea and I'd be delighted to participate in an Indian food thread and I'll bet others would too.

                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              Gosh, you really do eat well at Casa Breadcrumbs! Another great-sounding meal....

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Absolutely beautiful photos! What a lovely meal. And thanks for posting the ricotta recipe, I'm going to try that today!

                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                  Thank-you so much LN! I'm so glad you're going to make the cheese, I think you'll love it!! Please do let us know how it goes.

                                            3. RETURN OF THE NAKED CHEF p156: Roasted slashed fillet of seabass stuffed with herbs, baked on mushroom potatoes with salsa verde.

                                              I'm making this for dinner for the bf's parents on Saturday and can't decide what to do for a starter! I liked the sound of the ricotta fritters in Jamie's Italy but I'm not sure they'll go. I'm worried that any of the big punchy salads, pastas or risottos in the Naked Chef series will make the fish seem a bit bland by comparison.

                                              Any suggestions??

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: gembellina

                                                Hi gembellina, I loved the look of those ricotta fritters and plan to make those as well. I think they'd be fine prior to your fish course but if you want another option, I'd flagged the "Baked Endive with Thyme, Orange Juice, Garlic and Butter" in NC-TO (in the Veggies section p. 201) I'd thought this might make a nice "warm salad" and imagined using olive oil instead of butter in that case. I think some black olives would be nice on top as well. Just a thought.

                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  I missed that one, tucked away behind the introduction. I think I might give it a go! Depending if I can find endive, of course, so I'll have the ricotta cakes in my back pocket just in case. Thanks! Then the Bustrengo (apple and polenta cake), Italy p282 for pudding.

                                                2. re: gembellina

                                                  So I made this last night and it was a huge hit! Potatoes are sliced, tossed in oil and S+P, then part-roasted. While the potatoes are cooking, torn "wild" mushrooms (I used a mixture of oyster and shiitake, all that was available) are sauteed in butter with lots of garlic. More butter and lemon juice is added at the end. Then the potatoes are removed from the over, the mushrooms are sprinkled over the top, and on top of that goes sea bass fillets, skin slashed and stuffed with mixed herbs. Back in the oven for ten mins or so, and served with a salsa verde on p277, I think. I actually put it under the grill for a couple of mins at the end to crisp up the fish skin.

                                                  I thought the mushrooms and potatoes were a nice mild accompaniment that really let the delicate sweetness of the seabass shine through, and the salsa provided an occasional bright herby zing which stopped the dish from being too bland. I have to admit that I didn't follw the recipe for the salsa at all - thought i knew how to make it then discovered I didn't have half the ingredients! - so I probably shouldn't comment on that recipe. Al in all, it's a super-easy way to cook fish for people who aren't used to doing it and who mght be a bit intimidated, and I do like the way a lot of his recipes just use one tray which sits in the oven and cooks away with little intervention needed.

                                                  It did cost me £36 for 6 seabass fillets though so I won't be making it again in a hurry!

                                                  1. re: gembellina

                                                    Wow that's pricey! Where did you go for the fish?

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      Moxons by Clapham South; it was about 2.5kg unfilleted but I think they were unnecessarily large!

                                                      1. re: gembellina

                                                        Yikes! That IS pricey. Food here in the States is getting more expensive by the minute. Prob. due to shipping costs as gasoline is almost $4/gallon. I do gloat a bit since our hybrid gets 45 mpg. I have to gloat about something, since it has less power, especially when driving over mountain passes in the Sierras/

                                                    2. re: gembellina

                                                      Made this tonight and there have been many useful comments already so I will just note my own: One of the best things about this recipe is the flavor of the "wild mushrooms" (I used a mixture of cremini, portabellos, shitakes, and white mushrooms.) Sauteed together with garlic and butter, the mushrooms make a delicious mixture (quelle surprise!!) I tore the funghi up as Jamie suggested and I really liked the slightly rustic appearance and how the mushroom pieces absorbed the butter and oil.
                                                      I used what my fishmonger called "rockfish" instead of cod. The fillets were firm and flavorful and at least to me, much more interesting than cod. I've looked up "rockfish" on google, and there are several different fish with this appellation! You could use any fish with a reasonably firm texture IMHO--swordfish or halibut for instance.
                                                      The "slashed" fillets made an attractive pattern with the herbs filled in. The only deficiency, to my mind, was that the fish filets themselves were rather flavorless., even though they had been baked on top of the potato-mushroom layers and refreshed with lemon juice squeezed over all. The recipe requested a fresh salsa but I thought that this might be extraneous so I didn't bother. But I think I was wrong. Despite the herb flavoring, they needed something to perk them up besides lemon juice, salt and pepper. Maybe I should have roasted the fillets with the mushroom mixture on TOP of the fish?