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Jamie’s 15 minute meals – not quite!

A friend gave me “Jamie’s 15 minute meals” as an early Christmas present, knowing that I find it a real chore cooking for myself during the week. Christopher and I each had a copy of Katharine Whitehorn’s “Cooking in a Bedsitter” which draws a distinction between “cooking to stay alive” and “cooking to impress”, and whilst I’m prepared to make a big effort for my Saturday night dinner (even though the only person I’m impressing is myself), mid-week is definitely a case of cooking to stay alive. And I still haven’t come to terms with having to cook for myself on a Saturday lunchtime. So the tagline from Jamie’s book, “Delicious, nutritious, super-fast food” sounded really appealing.

I’ve tried a couple of recipes from it so far, and can report that the title is somewhat misleading. It should really be called “Jamie’s 21 minute frantic non-stop cooking setting off the smoke alarm and leaving the kitchen looking like a bomb has hit it”! I’ve had to adapt the recipes somewhat – for a start, they are all for four so I have to quarter the ingredients. Then there’s the factor that one of the ways he gets everything done in such a short time is by using a food processor to chop/slice his vegetables. I don’t have one, so have to chop/slice the old-fashioned way using a knife, which takes longer. And I’ve noticed that he gets a lot of flavour into his food in such a short cooking time through the liberal use of chilies, which I really don’t like, so I shall have to adapt or avoid those recipes.

I’ve tried three of the recipes so far – linguine with smoked trout, asparagus and peas; a ludicrously decadent breakfast of a toastie filled with ricotta, honey, banana and dark chocolate; and chicken breast with braised greens and a potato gratin. That last recipe was a big surprise – I love potato gratin, but the way I’ve always cooked it takes about an hour and a half. So to be able to have a version ready in twenty minutes was a real revelation. I’ll definitely be cooking all three recipes again, and will be adding that potato gratin to my standard repertoire!

Judging by the recipes I’ve tried to date, they are certainly delicious and nutritious, if not quite as super-fast as Jamie Oliver suggests. I doubt that I’ll get down to the fifteen minutes  promised, but I think that some of the time-saving techniques he suggests are well worth adopting. When I come back from a long day at our Hampshire HQ, I’ve typically cooked myself a store-bought pizza. The oven takes 10-15 minutes to heat up, and the pizza another 10 minutes to cook. In that time, I could have cooked one of these new recipes  from scratch – and I think I’ll do so next time. I’ve read the book from cover to cover, and book-marked several recipes that I want to try out…..

{ 4 } Comments

  1. David A | 13 December 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it’s been widely reported that Jamie’s “15 minute” recipes generally require some form of time travel device 😉

  2. Julia Jackson | 14 December 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Have you got a freezer? If so, try cooking up the whole recipe (not quartering the ingredients) and freezing what you don’t need for another time. It works brilliantly with casseroles, bolognese sauce, etc (the latter made with Quorn mince, not real meat!) It saves time, even though you do have to defrost or plate up for the second time round (and a microwave is then a great advantage, for defrosting/reheating). It sounds as if you’re doing really well with your cooking, anyway. Much more adventurous than I am – although I did try a venison casserole the other week which was very successful, so we’ve got some more venison in the fridge waiting for the next one!!

  3. Stephen | 17 December 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Dear Gillian,

    I am an occasional librivox listener and I was browsing on the site for something to listen to, something not in a mixture voices of varying and unequal qualities, its my own peculiar foible I suppose that I can only really enjoy listening to short stories or classic works when the narrator is recording in a clear British accent. there are exceptions (American Literature read by a clear eductaed American accent or one suitable to region or era being some examples) but not many – anyway I stumbled upon a reading of the novel The Beetle 1898 by Richard Marsh made by a certain callsign icyjumbo who I have subsequently found out to be the voice of Chris. Reading this blog I found to my great regret and sadness that Chris passed on a while ago. Its is a great pity for his voice is excellent. I just wanted to send my heartfelt appreciation of this man’s extemely pleasant reading delivery and voice. I am enjoying the recording very much. I shall search out other recordings made by him but in the sad knowledge that it is a limited canon.

    Sincerely, with best wishes to you both

    S.Cullis MA Oxon

  4. Gillian | 17 December 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much Stephen for taking the time to let me know that you enjoyed the librivox recording. Chris really enjoyed making them, and it’s good to know that they are appreciated. And I agree with you that he had a very pleasant voice!