30 Minute Meal Madness

Jamie Oliver (yes, him again) has a new book out in England.  Entitled, Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, its premise is that even good meals can be whipped up in only 30 minutes.  To prove the point, Jamie has a new series on Channel 4 also entitled Jamie’s 30 minute meals, where he goes through various meal themes.  I say themes because he creates an entire meal (sometimes including dessert pudding) without individual recipes but instead as a process or series of steps whereby all the elements come out at roughly the same time to be served.

I watched a number of the episodes via laptop and thought it looked kind of hectic but the food itself quite good.  Also, I started work this week and no longer have the luxury of taking the afternoon to plan my dinners, do the shopping and luxuriously cook dinner with a glass of wine in hand.  Therefore I gave it a whirl.

I decided try Jamie’s Roast Beef with baby yorkies, carrots, crispy potatoes, and onion gravy.  Roast beef clearly can’t be made (properly) in 30 minutes, so I was eager to see what Jamie had in store.  I watched the episode previously and so knew what to pick up at the grocery store and also had a sense of what I was in for.

I can’t post the recipes for these as part of what makes the recipes is Jamie’s writing and descriptions (and to copy them here would be all kinds of illegal).  I hope you can click through the link above to check it out.

So what did I think?  The recipes are laid out in a way that I cook.  I start different elements at different times, and cook as more of a fluid process.  I liked how the recipes are written but had to re-read them as I went through the 30 minutes as there was so much going on at once and the techniques were ones that came natural to me.  The episodes move quite quickly and make use of kitchen appliances such as blenders, food processors, microwaves and electric kettles.  For example, instead of slicing the onion for the gravy by hand, you use a food processor, to cook the carrots and potatoes more quickly, you boil a kettle and pour that in the pot with the veg.  The techniques did speed up the process (I used a mandoline as our food processor is living above my in-laws garage) but I actually enjoy the slicing and dicing that goes along with cooking, let alone working on my knife skills.  Trying to prepare the meal in 30 minutes was a bit mad.  I think I was close, but by the end my kitchen was a disaster.  I think I prefer a slower pace where I can take my time, clean up as I go and enjoy the process.


the finished product

That said, the finished product was excellent.  Mr 416expat was blown away by the flavours involved.  Jamie Oliver does know how to throw together some amazing flavours.  While I like the premise and the recipes, I think I’ll cut out the 30 minute requirement and cook according to my own schedule.


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