When I was fourteen, me and my best friend had a huge crush on Jamie Oliver. His first cooking show, The Naked Chef, was broadcast on Swedish television and we would watch it obsessively, soaking in every word he said and memorizing every move he made. The food was nice too, but back then, I didn’t care much for cooking so it was just a pretty backdrop to the fantastic Jamie Oliver.
Man, did we love Jamie Oliver! “Look at his mouth when he speaks! Look how much his tongue is moving!” “I love his lisping, it’s soooo sexy!” “Look at his hair, it’s like he’s just rolled out of bed!” “He could get out of my bed at any time!” “And that mouth!” “Yes, that mouth!”
Of course, this was all talk. At fourteen, we were both very virginal and our real fantasies about what we would do with The Naked Chef and his mouth was probably something like “go to the amusement park and make out in the roller coaster line”. He was charming, though, even my dad thought so (but in a whole different way than I did, obviously): “Nice bloke, that Oliver. Food looks good. He’s not so pretentious. He seems real, in a way.” Everyone agreed, Jamie Oliver was just the man of the year 1999.
Even though my obsession has faded, I still like Oliver. Many of my safe cards and go to-recipes are originally from one of his cookbooks. Since many of them are quite simple and don’t need too many ingredients, they’re easy to alter and evolve as you get more confident in the kitchen.
This chicken in a bag-thing is a dish I’ve made for the past ten years or so. I modify it slightly almost every time I make it; this time I used chicken, shiitake, blushing wood mushroom, grated parsnip, thyme, white wine, salt, pepper and butter. Mix it all up in a bowl and then put in a tin foil bag and bake in the oven for about half an hour. I served it with cauliflower purée, which I think is a fun alternative to mashed potatoes, but rice or roasted potatoes works well too. It smells fantastic when you pop the foil, so bring the whole bag to the table and open it in front of the guests. A simple and bragworthy meal. Naked cooking at its best.
Malin’s eating is now on Instagram at malinseating and on Facebook at facebook.com/malinseating