For a couple of weeks, our preferred late night viewing, thanks to Sky+, has been Jamie’s 30 minute Meals. I’m not sure how we missed the start of this series and all the related media hype, but miss it we did and we came late to the party.
Out to lunch with a good friend last week, though, she mentioned that she’d enjoyed making – and eating – one of the recipes in the book, which reminded me that at the end of every programme, my hero and I both comment that the dishes on the table look yummy and we must give it a try. So, I ordered the book from Amazon and with the perfect opportunity yesterday to gather ingredients for one single meal, we took Jamie shopping with us.
But a pound of mince for a Sunday lunch? This had better be good…
Whilst sitting in the cafe at the supermarket, we’d selected the recipe for Superfast Beef Hash, with Jacket Potatoes, Goddess Salad and Lovely Butter Beans and Bacon. But no pudding! A request was made for the Sticky Prune Sponge Puddings and there we are. An easy shop later and we were set to go.
We followed the instructions without problem and the end result was incredibly tasty and “different” from our normal, run of the mill lunch. Who’d have thought that a pound of mince, cooked with onion carrot, celery and Worcestershire sauce could be so tasty? The butterbean dish was delicious and something we’ll definitely do again – though I think we’ll add the whole shebang to our repertoire with some minor changes.
As you’d expect, though, cooking a whole meal in 30 minutes – or at least, attempting to – is a fairly steep learning curve and like many others who’ve tried, we learned one or two things along the way.
First lesson, these menus are carefully put together and mixing a pud from one with the main from another isn’t really as easy as you might think. There’s a microwave oven conflict and the food processor needs to be washed up mid-prep. Secondly, it’s vital to read and think through the recipe before starting rather than following it through on the fly. Vital steps are easily missed which leads to added stress and anxiety. Third, to make it all work, the instructions really need to be followed to the letter. No matter that we have our own way of doing something – for this occasion, it was key to do as Jamie said. Finally, even if all goes according to plan, a 30 minute meal definitely leads to an hours clearing and washing up. Sadly no stylists or assistants here to deal with the fallout, just my hero, who stands at the kitchen sink as I type.
But unlike many of the other reviewers of the book and the menus inside, I feel very positive about the experience and enthused to try another meal – though perhaps not with the same expectations as far as the timings go.
The 2004 Tim Adams Shiraz helped, of course ;-)