The Re-Return of the Naked Chef aka the balsamic week (making my cookbooks earn their place on the shelf)

Whereas I’m keeping The Naked Chef for largely sentimental reasons, the Return of the Naked Chef proved to be a lot more cookable from, although as you’ll see below, quite a lot of balsamic vinegar.

Crunchy Thai salad

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I used to make this sooo much in my ‘youth’ but Mr. Lacer hated the smell of the sesame seed oil dressing (which quite frankly is the best bit), so I stopped, pah, I’m making it again because unlike other old pre-kid favourites which didn’t taste quite as good when I remade them years later, this is still absolutely delicious. Interestingly, as well as Mr. Lacer, who still hates the smell, Boy Lacer also hated the smell, whereas Girl Lacer thought it smelled amazing.

‘Spaghetti’ with olive oil, garlic, chilli and parsley

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I think I used to make this a bit but my knife skills have improved a bit in the intervening years (still not that good) and consequently the flavours were a bit more spread out, which was much nicer, no more lumps of overpowering flavour whilst the rest of the pasta is bland. This was so quick and delicious.

‘Spaghetti’ with red onions, sun dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and basil

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If this dish doesn’t scream the nineties, nothing does. It was a bit, ‘hmmmm’, first time I’d made this one and the last, although it was edible.

Baked beetroot with balsamic vinegar, majoram and garlic and Basil, balsamic vinegar and pinenut dressing

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Again, two dishes I don’t remember making before. I set the beetroot up to be baked in the foil parcel Jamie had instructed them to be cooked in (remember when Jamie was in to baking food in parcels?), stuck it in the oven, picked up the remaining foil to put back in the cupboard, happened to glance at the packaging ‘do not let acidic food touch the foil’, oh yeah. So whipped the beetroot out of the oven, emptied it into a ceramic dish and cooked it that way instead. I guess they weren’t so worried about aluminium poisoning back in the nineties. Anyway, without the enclosed environment of the sealed foil package, the beetroot burned a little and at the same time, didn’t complete cook through, I did have a try of the smaller pieces that weren’t totally rock like and they were quite nice, I will have to look up some better ways to roast beetroot.

The salad dressing was also nice but isn’t up there with my favourite rocket dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, little bit of salt and maybe some parmesan cheese.

(By the way, the sausages are vegetarian cumberland sausages from Cauldron and are my new favourite veggie sausage. I used to eat Linda McCartney veggie sausages but there was something about the taste of them that was getting a little overpowering, these ones are much nicer and quite low in calories to!).

So, in summary I’m definitely keeping this one and I should definitely try and cook from it more often, specially that thai salad (sorry Mr. Lacer and Boy Lacer). There are lots more recipes in the book that I didn’t cook this week that I’d like to go back to / try for the first time. It really looks like Jamie got into his stride with this book.

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