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Well I know it isn't Christmas, but I love cooking programs anytime of the year, and classic Jamie Oliver is no different! When we were first introduce to the Naked Chef, I was hooked, I love the style of cooking, simple easy ideas from Jamie's own flat. In recent years I have go off Jamie's cooking and documentary programs. However, this Christmas special is from back when he was still likeable and realistic in his cooking for the average person. The basic idea of the DVD is Jamie Oliver preparing his traditional Christmas dinner. He tries to time everything to make it as easy as possible for the person attempting this at home, and the instructions are very clear and simple to follow. The DVD is just under 2 1/2 hours long and include cards of the various recipes that are made, which makes things even simpler when you try to recreate this culinary masterpiece in the kitchen. The DVD allows you to select certain recipes rather than watch the entire thing, which I found very useful, as there were bits I found I need to go back and view again, such as the Christmas Pudding and the Turkey. The recipes: The Turkey with all the trimmings Roast potatoes with garlic and rosemary Parsnips with thyme and honey Pork and chestnut stuffing Christmas pudding Extras on the DVD include: American recipes, General Tips for Christmas. I like this DVD and have watched it several times, and not just at Christmas, I find the Roast Potato and Parsnip recipes have been used in our house for many a sunday roast dinner as well as at Christmas.
It's probably the least appropriate time of year for this review, but oh well..... Jamie's Christmas DVD is a Christmas cooking DVD that I picked up a few years ago and have used every year since. Essentially, Oliver takes us through the preparation and cooking for a traditional Christmas lunch. The running time is around 2 hrs 20 minutes, so it is quite thorough. What is particularly useful is that he organises the meal in such a way that he tries to make it as easy as possible for you timewise - that is he gives instructions on what can be done the night before. It is well filmed and the instructions are clear. He does a really good job of explaining things in such a way that you do not have to feel daunted by it. The DVD includes recipe cards of those recipes that he features during the DVD, these include the turkey (including turkey timings), roast potatoes with garlic and rosemary, parsnips with thyme and honey, pork and chestnut stuffing and a simply fantastic Christmas pudding recipe which has become a staple in our house. By including these cards, he overrides that most common problem with cooking DVDs, that although you may have the benefit of watching the method being demonstrated in front of you, you do also need the physical recipe in front of you at times, particularly when it comes to quantities and if you cannot keep up with the chef. There is a scene selection function, so you can easily select the part of the show that you may want at this particular time. This is particularly useful when it comes to anything regarding the turkey. And with the turkey of course, particularly when you are not used to preparing one - his instructions on how to deal with the raw bird are incredibly good and easy to refer back to. Obviously, what you may get out of this DVD is in part reliant on how you feel about Oliver himself, as I believe that he is rather a 'Marmite' character to many. Here I think he perfectly pitches himself, explaining things in a clear, friendly and encouraging way, never being starchy and patronising and giving a lot of really good additional information along the way. He is even quite self-deprecating in places. It is all very accessible and not so polished that it seems over-rehearsed. There are a couple of additional extras on the DVD that I could take or leave, to be honest with you, such as a couple of additional recipes for an American market and a section where he gives general (not necessarily food-related) tips for a smooth-running Christmas. As you can probably tell from my comments throughout the course of this review - I really like this DVD. It is comprehensive - covering everything that I would want and expect a Christmas cooking DVD to. It is well put together - not a clumsy cash-in which is something that I respect as it would have been very easy to produce something like that. I particularly like the way that they take some much time and care with showing how the turkey should be prepared - something which TV shows do not tend to do as ti is not really that interesting to watch in general I suppose . The editing is pretty brilliant to be honest, nothing is underexplained or rushed, yet it is also not a bore to watch at all. It is also quite simplistically done in that it focuses on the food rather than fancy camera shots and lingering views of the host (*cough* Nigella *cough*). I would highly recommend this DVD as a really effective tool in preparing for your Christmas cooking, particularly if you are not particularly experienced in doing them. This is a warm, inviting and overall encouraging way to get yourself in the mood for the often stressful and strenuous but all important main Christmas meal.