Monday, March 27, 2006

The Naked Chef

OK, so I'll admit it - I'm not much of a cook. My repertoire consists mainly of "everyday" Indian dishes - a lentil, curry and a vegetable. Nothing fancy. Hubby, on the other hand, rarely cooks, but when he does it's always fancy, fancy, fancy. Anyway, so yesterday I decided I had to "up" my cooking skills a little and what better way to start than with a brand new set of cookware, right? Ofcourse, right!

A girlfriend and I headed for the nearest "Bay" store and I bought a
Jamie Oliver 7-piece "Stainless Steel"cookware set. Made in collaboration with Tefal the pans are just fabulous to look at - I couldn't stop caressing their shiny bright surfaces and giving my arms a good workout with their reassuring weight!

Why Jamie Oliver? Because, have you ever been able to resist a "Naked Chef"? I know I can't! ;) Seriously, I bought it because it was on "special" for that day with 50% off the regular store price! Woo hoo!

And oh, here's the real reason for my post - I also bought a cookbook to go with it!
Bon Appetit, mes amies!

Here's a lovely summer recipe from the Jamie Oliver website. It gets the official "drool" award.

Clementine Chocolate Salad

Serves 4

8 clementines
1 large handful of flaked almonds
10 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
6 tablespoons caster sugar
4 tablespoons water
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
100g/31/2oz best-quality cooking chocolate (70% cocoa solids), shaved

I love the idea of having a refreshing salad for dessert. You can have some real fun with this sprinkling different nuts, herbs and chocolate over the top.


Peel the clementines, slice across thinly and remove the pips. Arrange on 4 plates and sprinkle over the almonds and mint. Bring the sugar and water to the boil, add the vanilla seeds and allow to simmer until the liquid becomes a light golden syrup. Try not to touch it too much at this stage. Drizzle the syrup over the clementines and top with the shaved chocolate before serving.

Removing seeds from vanilla pods

1. Score the pods.

2. Scrape the seeds out.

3. Put the unwanted pods in a jar of sugar for delicious flavoured vanilla sugar.

Speaking of recipes do check out Susan in Italy's blog - it's called"Porcini Chronicles: Living and Cooking in Italy"


hellomelissa said...

what's a caster sugar? am i dumb? have you ever actually SEEN jamie oliver naked?

congrats on the new cookware. mine is almost officially 11 years old-- i bought it when we were first married and i still love it (and him).

Lotus Reads said...

Caster sugar is finely granulated sugar - but that's probably a British term...

Ummmm, no, never seen Jamie Oliver in his birthday suit, but that was a clever name for his food show, don't you think? Got lots of people tuning in to see it, I'll bet ;)

My cookware was around 7 years old - can we say 7-year itch? ;) Seriously tho' those pots and pans needed to go - they were pretty yecchy!

sruthi said...

mmm i wish i was a better cook! haha.
Also, here's an article about the

Bhopal gas leak...the same gas leak that was implicated in Malladi's A Breath of Fresh Air, which was all fiction except for the mentioning of this actual event.

Guinness_Girl said...


Ooh, do you have a good recipe for chicken tikka masala or chicken bhuna? I know. These are Indian dishes Americans eat and probably make you roll your eyes. But yummmalicious.

Susan in Italy said...

Jeez, Lotus, don't sell yourself short! An Indian lentil, a curry and a vegetable sound fantastic! All three in the same meal would take me forever.
Now, I'll admit I was waiting with bated breath for the "Naked Chef" to finally appear on TV and when he did, clothes and all, I was a little disappointed.
If you tried risotto in Milan, you hit one of the most canonical local dishes! A more adventutous (and potentially traumatic, depending on your tastes) would have been to try "casseula" a stew of cabbage and pork...tails, feet, ears!

sruthi said...

ooops, that's the article, forgot to paste it in before.

Anonymous said...

Jamie's called the "Naked Chef" because he started out making dishes in which the ingredients would really sing. It didn't involve much cooking, mostly just bringing the flavours out naturally, therefore "naked". Personally I think he's yummy, plus he's a drummer in a band! Woot woot!

Lotus Reads said...

guiness-girl - chicken tikka is a family favorite,will send you the recipe via e-mail; I just marinate and grill...nothing fancy. The bhuna chicken I do with prepackaged spices because funnily enough, it's not something my mom ever made - or maybe she did and we just called it something else?

Susan, true, a curry and all those side dishes could be a daunting task for someone not used to Indian cooking, but for me, I'm more intimidated by Italian or Spanish cooking! :) Thank goodness I have your blog to refer to for nice Italian recipes, but finding some of those ingredients might be challenging. And ohhhh, I still salivate at the thought of that milanese risotto with the saffron! As for casseula, I will have to make a note of that, only so I know what NOT to order on my next trip! ;)

Lotus Reads said...

Thanks for filling in the blanks, sruthi, I will look it up and get back to you! :)

Lotus Reads said...

Hi, anonymous

Thanks for that tidbit on why Jamie is called 'The Naked Chef' - that makes a lot of sense really. And I agree, he is a hottie (with a civic conscience) -he's been campaigning to get all the junk food out of British schools, replacing them with nutritious and tasty food choices. Ofcourse, it's probably not entirely altruistic on his part, but hey, atleast he's getting the kids off their sugar high!

Upasana said...

Thanks for the link! I love your avatar.

Oh look, there's your photo! cool....