Saturday, February 09, 2013

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver

I often use the library to look for cookbooks that I might want to buy. I am not sure why I did that with a Jamie Oliver cookbook though because I already know that I like his books. But borrow it from the library I did, and now I will be happy to actually buy it, most particularly for the chicken recipes. Some of the recipes that sound like possibilities include Gorgeous Greek Chicken with Herby Vegetable Couscous and Tatziki or Chicken Tikka, Lentil, Spinach and Naan Salad.

The whole essence of this book is speed and there were times when I was reading the instructions when I felt like I was rushing when I was reading it. I am not sure if that was my inflection or the way it was written!

Like most of Jamie Oliver's books, this is full of beautiful photographs and I loved that at the back there were a couple of pages that showed the photos of each recipe but with added nutritional information. I did want to mention one thing about the presentation of this book though. I know what it is all the rage to have your meals served on boards now when you go to restaurants but I was surprised that nearly every recipe in this book is instructed to be served on boards or platters and is pictured that way all the way through the book. I don't know about anyone else, but this is not a way that we ever eat at home! I am all for only making the plates dirty that have to be used, not any others! Maybe that is just me!

I tend to cook the same things over and over and so the idea of finding some easy, quick, tasty and hopefully healthy meals like these is definitely appealing.   One thing we do make quite regularly is chicken pasta bake but usually when I make it I brown off chicken pieces, boil or steam broccoli and then mix it with cooked pasta, a jar of sauce, topped with cheese and shove it in the oven for half an hour or so. Even though it is easy, it still takes an hour or so by the time you cook everything separately and then put it in the oven.   The other fallback is just pasta with a jar of sauce which does the job but isn't particularly exciting.

There were lots of recipes that I thought I might make if I was to buy this book, but this would be the first one. I am not sure that I would be able to do it in 15 minutes but even if it takes 30 minutes that is still doable. It would certainly be a nice change from the two normal alternatives I talked about above!

Chicken Pasta Herby 6-veg Ragu

Ragu

1 large leek
1 stick of celery
1 carrot
1 courgette (zucchini)
3 jarred red peppers
Olive oil
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
700g passata

Pasta

320g dried wholewheat fusili
2x150g skinless chicken breasts
3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
1/2 a fresh chilli
4 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbsp pine nuts
Balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese, to serve


Split the leek lengthways, rinse under the cold tap, then finely chop in the processor with the trimmed celery and carrot, the courgette and peppers. Put into the casserole pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, the thyme leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir regularly. Put the pasta into a large pan, cover with boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions.

Dice the chicken into 2cm chunks and put into the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, tossing regularly until golder and cook through. Stir the passata into the vegetables and simmer. Finely slice the bacon and chilli and add to the golden chicken, then squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher. Strip in the rosemary leaves, add the bay leaves and pine nuts, and fry for a minute or two, until the bacon is golden, then drizzle with balsamic.

Season the sauce, drain the pasta, reserving a cupful of starchy cooking water, then toss the pasta with the sauce, loosening with the cooking water, if needed, and pour on to a platter. Scatter the chicken and bacon on top of the pasta and serve with a grating of Parmesan.



When I was looking for this recipe online, I did find this cool time lapse of the preparation.



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24 comments:

  1. That looks really good and easy, but I'm not quite sure I could do it 15 min. It takes longer than that to heat the pasta water and cook it. But this would still be a fast meal.

    And I'm with you - especially because I don't have a dishwasher - I try not to dirty up extra dishes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By saying to use boiling water at the beginning I think that is to try and save some time. Because there wasn't a lot of chopping it probably took me 30 minutes or so to do. Could have done with a little bit more cooking time on the sauce though I think.

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  2. yum.
    good idea to borrow it from the library and test a few recipes before deciding to buy the book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doing it that way has definitely saved me from spending money on cookbooks that I wouldn't actually use.

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  3. My friend is a huge Jamie Oliver fan so I might be able to borrow it from her. I never believe those 15 minutes time frames, That is only if you have a side cook who prepares all the ingredients for you, chops them up etc. and afterwards you give the dirty dishes to the scullery to be washed.

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    Replies
    1. Precisely! Where was my scullery maid when I needed her/him.

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  4. I too agree with you on the dirty dishes- the less used the better. One of my favorite recipes is Jamie's Corn Chowder, so easy, tasty and healthy.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, Corn Chowder sounds good. Might have to go and look for that one.

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  5. I've got most of his books but not that one. It's a good idea to check them out via the library. Have a good week.

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    Replies
    1. I need to complete my collection of his cookbooks at some point.

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  6. I could use some quicker recipes and this looks really good. Loved the time-lapse video. What a great way to show the preparation of a recipe.

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  7. I love Jamie Oliver, but I'm not familiar with this one. I'd never thought to borrow a cookbook from a library, but that is brilliant.
    2 Kids and Tired Books

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've borrowed a few over the years!

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  8. I saw an article in the local newspaper where they tried to complete one of Jamie's 30 minute meals in 30 mins and failed. I prefer to use it as something I know I can cook reasonably quickly, rather than in x minutes!
    I got this book for Christmas, but haven't made anything yet. Oops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, this was definitely long than 15 minutes, but I think it ended up taking about 30 minutes which is definitely doable.

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  9. Yum! What a great looking recipe. I also love that video you found. It made me want it even more.

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  10. As samstillreading says, I just take it as an indication that I'll be able to eat before it's time to go to bed!

    I've got his 30 minute meals book, and getting it all done in about that time requires rushing about and almost military precision. I enjoy cooking, so I'd much rather spend a leisurely hour in the kitchen and enjoy the process than spend half an hour stressing out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that is what this one was like to. You probably could do it in 15 minutes, if you rushed around the whole time.

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  11. I know what you mean about 15 minute meals not necessarily being '15 minutes,' but this still seems like it'd be a good guide to stress-free cooking when you're under time constraints. Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. There were definitely more than a few recipes that I looked at and thought would make a good weekday meal, which is when I want quick, healthy and tasty.

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  12. Maybe I am a slow cook. This would take me longer than 15 minutes to prepare, but it does look good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fay, I think most people who aren't professional chefs would struggle to get it done in that time!

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