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Jamie Oliver’s 45 Minute Meals

Book coverI will grant that it is not such a snappy title but that is how long it took me to rustle up the mustard chicken recipe from his 30 Minute Meals book; perhaps even a bit longer if you count the stage of getting out the requisite pots and pans and assembling the ingredients. That is quite an overshoot from the target time although, to be fair, it did result in a delicious and filling meal.

What held me up? Some of it was unfamiliarity with the recipe. Having to keep checking back with the text does slow you down, especially when you realise you misread an earlier stage and have to improvise a way forward. Also, I don’t have quite the range of labour-saving gadgets that he has in his kitchen (and insists that you need if you want to make the 30 minute mark). Some of those stages, like finely slicing potatoes, are a lot quicker with a food processor although my experience of food processors suggests they lose some of that time advantage when you factor in the washing up, which is not part of the target time.

I think that, if I worked on those two factors, I could probably rustle up the meal within the target time. I am not quite sure I would want to though, as it does involve putting on an intense performance. Also, I shudder to think of how much cream and oil went into the dish; chicken in a creamy sauce, creamy dauphinoise potatoes and ice-cream as the dessert. What I think the book could really benefit from would be less recipes but more writing about each recipe. At the moment, there are lots of them, each giving a full meal in a page of terse instructions and I think they could do with more information about why the various steps have been chosen, giving more scope for applying them to the ingredients you have or want to eat.

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