JAMIE OLIVER, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, H/B, $60
Whether it’s a collective decision-making hiccup or the boss’ own isn’t clear, but it seems there’s been a slight malfunction in the Jamie factory. This book is timely; it seems every renowned food writer will have a vegetable-focussed volume before the year is out. And the recipes do indeed fit the title description of easy – no convoluted ingredients lists and a mere handful of steps to the methods make this book a good pick for less-experienced cooks. But it’s often clunky. There’s the small issue of interchanging the ‘veg’ of the title to ‘veggie’, much like Australia tends to swap out its PM. But the main problem is the recipes themselves and the styling of them. In the leading ‘curries and stews’ section, eight of 10 recipes feature white rice. Style jumps from overly try-hard ‘Filo Snake Bake’ (we got that the spiral filo is the snake; we didn’t need the grapefruit-filled gem lettuce leaves also arranged like a snake) to a bland-looking squash gnocchi, piled onto a spread of mid-green parsley pesto with not enough parmesan on top to rescue the situation. A cynic might say Oliver would’ve been better off releasing a compilation of his greatest vegetable hits, but they may not have made for ideal nutritional breakdowns, which accompany the recipes in this book.