If someone, say, oh I don’t know, a celebrity chef well known for food crusades, tells you that you, yes you can cook a 3 course meal in no more than 30 minutes, it is indeed too good to be true. Jamie Oliver I’m talking about you. In case you hadn’t guessed, todays recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals book, and while there are many lovely looking recipes within its pages, they are quite frankly unachievable in such a short space of time. I’m not just saying this after trying one recipe that took ages, I’m saying this as someone who’s cooked many meals from here that have taken a lot longer than half hour. I’ve even teamed up with The Boyfriend in the past to lighten the load and speed things up, but this still took 90 minutes. Why the rush anyway to cook dinner? If I want a quick meal when in a rush I take some leftover chilli out the freezer or pop a pizza in the oven. If I’m not in a rush, that’s what all the cookbooks are for. At the end of the day, cooking should be enjoyable and if I rush around in the kitchen I get stressed, overheated and am likely to accidentally stab someone while flapping about in a panic. Just take your time.
Saying all this, all the recipes I’ve tried from this book have been delicious and if you can forget Jamie’s false promises and just cook at your own pace then you’ll have a lovely dinner. Today I cooked Pregnant Jools Pasta, which I’m guessing from the name means his wife ate this a lot while preggers. I am not pregnant, but agree with Jools that its a tasty pasta dish. Now, the whole meal plan in the book also includes a salad and then some little frangipane tarts but I just wanted the pasta, which meant for the first time ever a dish from this book really only did take half hour. The pasta sauce is made with veg, herbs, spices and sausages that have been de-cased and mashed up so you have something resembling a bolognese sauce. It has a nice aniseed flavour from the fennel seeds as well as some strong balsamic notes. I used low fat pork sausages with a high meat content from Waitrose which made me feel a little bit more virtuous until I grated tons of Parmesan cheese over it. I’m guessing the taste of the dish would vary depending on what sausage you use, but these went very well with all the other ingredients so I recommend.
Other great recipes in this book include Satay Chicken Skewers (very addictive), cheesy grilled mushrooms (part of the steak sandwich meal plan, but this is a very rare occasion where the vegetable is more desirable than the meat) and piri piri chicken. Despite my reservations over the time frame, it’s a decent cook book, but don’t put yourself under any pressure to get the whole meal done in 30 minutes. You’re human, not Superman/Jamie Oliver after all.
PS: if it looks like I had a lot of pasta on my plate, well that’s because I did. Hunger struck!