As much as I love Jamie Oliver, his extraordinary food knowledge and talent and new Italian restaurant in Perth (just quietly, AHHHMAZING), Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals CANNOT BE MADE IN FIFTEEN MINUTES. I know, I have tried. And Failed. Three times.
I received the recipe book for Christmas last year but so far I have only cooked three meals from it. The first time I cooked Green Tea Salmon with Coconut Rice and was fairly happy with the time it took to make – only 25 minutes. The second time I made the Crispy parma pork with minted courgettes and it also took around 25 minutes from start to finish. Not bad, you may say, for a recipe that’s meant to take just 15 minutes.
Last Saturday however it took me nearly 15 minutes alone to cut up the vegetables. The recipe was the Gorgeous Greek Chicken with cous cous and while it was a tasty, Summer dinner, cooking it frustrated the hell out of me.
Here is a breakdown of the time it took for each step:
- 5 minutes to read the recipe and locate ingredients in the pantry and fridge.
- 4 minutes in total to find all the utensils (when half of the contents from the kitchen cupboards are currently in the dishwasher or soaking in the sink and you still have to wash the grater, peeler and juicer, this makes sense).
- 14 minutes to cut the capsicum and spring onions into tiny little pieces (it said use food processor, which I don’t have) as well as remove pips from olives and chop up them up.
- 2 minutes to boil the water for the cous cous.
- 5 minutes to make the tzatziki (juice a lemon, peel and grate a cucumber, open the ridiculous ‘child-proof’ yoghurt container).
- 6 minutes to make the chicken. *Side note – I used half a roast chicken left over from the night before – all I had to do was slice it off the bone, toss it in some ingredients and lightly fry it on each side for 2 minutes each. If I actually had to COOK the chicken, I think that would have taken a total of 12 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I can’t cut up vegetables, make cous cous, dice chicken and cook it at the same time).
- 2 minutes to put it all together and serve.
So, it took me close to 40 minutes to do all this. 40 minutes is not a shocking amount of time to get dinner on the table. In fact it’s quite good. But when the cookbook says 15 Minute Meals in BIG SILVER LETTERS on the front cover, 40 minutes is not good. I’m thinking if it takes close to 40 minutes to cook a meal which is meant to take 15 minutes, it must take at least an hour to cook something from his 30 Minute Meals cookbook? On the plus side, it did make alot more than the four servings stated – it made seven, so enough for lunch the next day for three of us. And it was just as delish as a leftover, if not better, so there’s another plus.
Some may say if I was more prepared (had a clean kitchen, clean dishes, had a food processor, knew where all the ingredients were in the cupboard etc.) it would have taken less time to make this meal. But let’s face it – in reality, the kitchen isn’t always clean, and you don’t always know where the utensils are or where in the back of the cupboard YOU HAVE PUT THE BLOODY PACKET OF COUS COUS.
One last thing. The Dishes. It took 25 minutes alone just to do THE DISHES. The kitchen resembled our verge during road-side collection. A fat ugly mess. In my defensive though, featuring in this mess were a number of dirty dishes from the previous night’s dinner which was NOT cooked by me and I washed and dried these as well, so I’m estimating that contributed to an extra 5 minutes of dish washing. (Pommie font here) Wicked.
I still adore Jamie and his creative kitchen genius, but I don’t appreciate his speedy skills in the kitchen that allow him to pen a very commercially successful cookbook which put simply, should be judged by its cover.
♥ ♥ ♥