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Somewhat to my surprise, this has become one of my regular, go-to recipe books. I must be one of the world's slowest cooks, so the title is aspirational rather than realistic for me, but nevertheless they do provide relatively speedy evening meals.
The book is helpfully divided up into sections: Chicken, Beef, Pork, Lamb, Fish, Pasta, Soups & Sarnies and Veggie, with an extra section for Breakfast. There is also a nutrition section at the back, which provides useful guidance about creating balanced meals, and has a breakdown of each of Jamie's speedy meals - calories, and grams of fat, saturated fat, and sugar. The calorie count is also provided with each recipe, but this is a handy way to be able to skim across and compare.
Our family doesn't eat meat (although we do have fish) so quite a few of these recipes aren't appropriate for us, but the crab briks and killer kedgeree are particularly declicious, and many of the other dishes are easily adjustable using quorn products or something similar in place of meat, such as the chicken cacciatore, chicken pasta and sausage gnocchi.
The vegetarian recipes themselves are particularly good, the veggie chilli and tasty daal are now well established family favourites.
The book itself is a nicely produced hardback, with a quality feed to it, and a useful bookmark so you can quickly get back to where you want to be if the pages do close while you're cooking. Each recipe has a double page spread of its own, with the recipe on the left hand page, and a clear, attractive photograph on the right.
On the recipe page it tells you clearly how many it serves and the number of calories it contains. There is a clear list of ingredients on the left and then method on the right, which I find very convenient.
Each page is for a meal, not just for one recipe, so for instance the tasty daal that we like, also recommends serving with naan bread and a warm tomato salad (the recipe for the latter is also given on the page). In terms of producing relatively rapid meals, this is really useful, as you're not having to think about what to serve it with, or casting around for ideas, and a balanced meal is provided, although we don't always go for the full package.
The only downside is the expectation that these meals can be turned out in 15 minutes. Obviously it must be possible, if you have everything ready and weighed out before hand - and of course you have to accept that those things also take time, but even though I'm never going to reach those dizzying heights of speed and organisation these are still good, nutritious streamlined recipes which the family enjoy.
I often see things in shops that I'd like for myself but never buy them unless a gift for someone else, this book was something I liked and I hadn't mentioned it to anyone but a friend gave it to me for my birthday this year so I was really chuffed. You'd never believe that many years ago I qualified as a chef and knew everything about cuts of meat wine to serve with meals and could make any sauce going after cooking and serving at gourmet meal evenings but I have no idea when it happened but somewhere along the line my brain lost all that information. I can still cook but not as good and fancy meals as I'd like to.
The RRP is £26.00 but can be purchased for around about £8.00 on Amazon. Have a look around to see where offers the best deal on it before buying it.
Jamie Oliver is better know as The naked chef and this book follows his TV series of 15 minutes meals. I liked to watch how easy he made it seem to prepare and cook healthy nice looking meals so fast.
This book is a hard back with a removable paper cover. It has a good lay out to it and amazing pictures. At the start of the book there are pictures of Jamie's family, Daisy, Petal, Poppy & Buddy they really add a personal touch to the book and it is nice that he chooses to share his private pictures.
The book is 288 pages long which includes an index in the back. The first 20 pages or so give you a run down from Jamie about the book and has information about which types of equipment are best to use, which ingredients should be in your larder how to serve food and a bit that I nodded to was that it is common that most peoples kitchens are not organised well and contain items like money boxes and magazines. Something else he mentions is that the average cost of the meals in the book are £3.80, you may be thinking so that's not bad but i'll add per person to that and suddenly it isn't so cheap.
The book is set out in sections which are as follows - Chicken, Beef, Pork, Lamb, Fish, Pasta Soups& sarnies, Veggie then breakfast. A nutrition section and thanks section follow all the recipes near the end.
I have yet to make a meal that looks quite like the pictures do in the book nor make it in 15 minutes. Having children to feed at meal times I find a lot of the meals seem to fancy for them, mussels wouldn't go down well but the happy cow burgers, falafel wraps and pasta dishes are fine with them. I've yet to try the sticky kicking chicken dish. There is a nice Spring Frittata served with tomato toasts watercress and pea salad. Also I tend to mix and match the salads and one salad I now use from the book is meant to be served with winter squash Penne which I haven't yet made but the salad is lovely, mint & avocado chopped salad which is basically your average salad with mint avocado and oil thrown in too and even the kids like this one.
Some other recipes from the book are Grilled steak with ratatouille & saffron rice, grilled scallops with sun-blush mash and greens, a mexican BLT and a small selection of smoothies.
I've not made anything from the breakfast section yet as basically I don't have time in the mornings to faff about. But there is a nice looking toastie in that section called sweet naughty beginnings which contains ricotta cheese, honey, banana and chocolate that would sure give you a sugar hit for the morning.
I do like this book and would recommend it but feel it is more for people with more time on their hands then me. It is probably a case of the fact I don't know the recipes and have to keep reading the book whilst cooking from it, I'm sure after making the same thing a few times over I'd get the hang of it. I have the mint salad down to a Tee now and can put one together in a matter of minutes.
For me there is one very important section missing from this book! Maybe Jamie will do a separate book for that missing section called desserts.. There are no desserts in the whole book not even one.
Some of the meals in this book I will never make but I still have quite a few I plan to get to. The photography makes some look so tempting it would be cruel to not at least try to get mine looking somewhat similar.
As a keen cook family and friends know that a cookery book is always a good present idea for me, and will be gratefully received. I was given Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals book a few months, and it was around this time that the TV series was also on TV so I was able to see many of the recipes being cooked.
The book as a RRP of £26, but s currently available on Amazon for £11.96 with free delivery. It's a hardback and has a red ribbon to use as a bookmark, this comes in very handy when you're picking recipes or need to move the book away when cooking.
The idea of the book is to allow you to be able to cook good food, fast, hence the '15 minute meals' name. The introduction of the book gives you some tips to get yourself into the '15 minute mind-set'. These include a list of utensils, gadgets and equipment which will make cooking quicker and how to keep your equipment handy and your kitchen organised. The preparation really is half of the battle when it comes to cooking a quick meal, and I can vouch for that after cooking many recipes from this book.
The book contains chapters for each category of recipes: Chicken, Beef, Pork, Lamb, ish, Pasta, Soups and Sarnies, Veggie and Breakfast. This makes it much easier to navigate through the extensive selection of dishes, and avoid any categories that you know you won't be interested in. I am a vegetarian so immediately go to this section of recipe books to see if the selection of recipes are half decent - these are. \There are many recipes new to me with dish ideas such as the 'Happy Cow [bean] Burgers', 'Ricotta Fritters' and 'Camembert Parcels' all being things which I hadn't tried cooking before.
For the meat lovers there is a wide variety of dishes with something or everyone from 'Glazed Pork Fillets' to 'Quick Lamb Tagine' and 'Flashy Fish Stew'. The breakfast section includes some interesting ideas such as colourful smoothies unsweetened cottage cheese (I'm yet to try it!. The soups and sarnies section includes some speedy lunches which are still nice and healthy, the 'Grilled Mushroom Sub' is a favourite of mine, and other good ones include the 'Minestrone' and 'Mexican Tomato Soup' recipe.
Each recipe has a set of tips at the top of the page telling you what you will need, for example my favourite recipe which I have cooked from this book is the Thai Chicken Laksa (pg44) and above the recipe it says you will need your ingredients out, kettle boiled, a griddle pan on high, a large lidded pan and a food processor to hand. This idea makes it much easier to plan in advance and ensure you have everything you need out of the cupboard, rather than battling with a stack of pans half way through a recipe, which I regularly do!
"Do the recipes really only take 15 minutes?" I hear you ask. Well, yes and no. If you include preparation, cooking, and cleaning up afterwards then no, not for me. But if you are prepared to read very carefully, set you kitchen up well and work efficiently then it's manageable. I like to take my time a little more and enjoy the cooking, but the idea isn't lost on me as this recipe book allows me to find quick and easy recipes which I can prepare and cook much quicker than many others available.
Overall, this is a great book for speedy and healthy recipes. It's helpful that an accompanying TV series is available and it shows you that if you're prepared you can cook good food on a tight schedule (not so sure about the washing up though!). I would definitely recommend having a copy, whether you're a seasoned cook and just like to dabble in the odd home cooked meal. 5/5 from me!
Picture the scene... An array of fresh ingredients laid out on the counter top, all the required equipment ready and waiting to be used, recipe book open to the right page and the timer set on my mobile phone (well, I do like a challenge!) The basic premise of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals is that you can prepare a full, balanced meal using fresh ingredients in a 15 minute window which sounds ideal for our busy, everyday lives. However, friends who have his '30 Minute Meals' book say that you can't cook those in half an hour, so my expectations of actually being able to get one of these meals on the table in 15 minutes weren't particularly high. Of course, my husband had other ideas - with the timer ticking away on my first attempt ("Gorgeous Greek Chicken with Herby Vegetable Couscous and Tzatziki'), he was posting on Facebook saying that he'd "been waiting 16 minutes for his dinner and it was still not ready"... in the end it took me 21 minutes from starting cooking to serving that first recipe. Plus, I felt like I was racing round the kitchen, from one task to the next, like a contestant on some kind of bizarre 'speed-cooking' game show.
* The Recipes *
Jamie's 15 Minute Meals is designed to allow you to cook quick, tasty and nutritious food that you can eat every day of the week. It is not 'dinner party cooking'. You definitely wouldn't want to attempt the 'speed cooking' required for these recipes while trying to entertain guests at the same time. Instead it is the kind of food that you can prepare after a day at work and sit down to enjoy, safe in the knowledge that you are eating something that is fresh and full of flavour, all in approximately the same timeframe as serving up a plate of oven chips. In addition, whereas some of Jamie Oliver's books have been criticised for being unhealthy / too high in fat and calories, these recipes have been developed in conjunction with nutritionists and have an average of 580 calories per serving. The book is divided into chapters based on the main ingredient (type of meat / fish / veggie) or style of meal (Pasta / Soups and Sarnies / Breakfast) and I will talk about my personal favourites below.
Chicken - The chicken section is my favourite part of the book so far and the one I find myself coming back to time and time again. The 'Gorgeous Greek Chicken' mentioned above has now become a favourite in our house (and I've shaved 5 minutes off my original personal best time for making it) and we also love the 'Spicy Cajun Chicken, Mashed Sweet Potato and Fresh Corn Salsa'. The 'Incredibly Delicious Chicken Salad' is tasty too. I feel that I have learned some new techniques too from this section - such tenderising and flavouring the chicken breasts by shaking the spices over them in a greaseproof paper wrap before bashing them repeatedly with a rolling pin. The range of recipes is really varied - from 'Chicken Dim Sum' to 'Warm Chicken Liver Salad with Little Welsh Rarebits' via 'Golden Chicken, Braised Greens and Potato Gratin' and I feel that there really is something for everyone here. Quite a lot of the recipes do have an element of spice (always popular amongst the adults in this house) but there are also recipes which I feel are suitable for the whole family.
Beef - The beef section of the book is also really good. There are simple recipes such as homemade burgers (definitely one for the BBQ season, assuming we get a summer this year), Chinese inspired recipes such as 'Sizzling Beef Steak, Hoisin Prawn and Noodle Bowls' and more classic recipes such as 'Steak Medallions, Mushroom Sauce and Spring Greens'. My personal favourites from this chapter as the 'Beef Kofta Curry with Fluffy Rice, Beans and Peas' and the 'Grilled Steak, Ratatouille and Saffron Rice' both of which were relatively simple to cook and tasted delicious. Again, you can use this section as inspiration for creating your own meals as well as following the recipes - we always eat steak with either chips or potato wedges, but it was delicious with the ratatouille and I have used the saffron rice recipe to accompany several other dishes since.
Pasta - We eat a lot of pasta in this house so I am always on the lookout for quick and easy pasta recipes, and this chapter of the book is full of them. All of the pasta dishes in the book come with their own salad accompaniment, although you could obviously serve them on their own / with garlic bread just as easily. Personal favourites here are the 'Sausage Fusilli with Creamy Garden Salad', the 'Chicken Cacciatore, Spaghetti and Smoky Tomato Sauce' and 'Prawn Linguini with Sicilian Shaved Fennel Salad'. The Prawn Linguini (or Tagliatelle / Fusilli / Penne depending on what we have in the cupboard at the time) is an excellent quick dinner option and one that we seem to have every few weeks, although I don't usually bother with the salad.
Overall though, there are so many enticing recipes in this book. I have pulled out a few favourites above, but if I was to go through my list of 'things that I want to make', this review would be far too long. There is a good range of vegetarian recipes too, plus a lot of recipes which could be converted to suit vegetarian guests / family members by just substituting something else for the meat. Veggie meals include a 'Keralan Veggie Curry', 'Falafel Wraps, Grilled Veg and Salsa' and 'Spring Frittata, Tomato Toasts, Watercress and Pea Salad'
* A Few (Minor) Issues *
Overall, I think that this is an excellent cook book and one that I use regularly. There are a few issues though - not so much for me, but on a more general basis. The first is that you need a lot of equipment - there are very few recipes which don't specify the use of a food processor, for a variety of different purposes (chopping, blending, disc-slicing etc.) and, although all these tasks can be done by hand, you would need to allow a lot more time if you don't have a food processor. The other issue is timings - there are no defined timings in this book, which if you stick to the recipe and do things in the right order, shouldn't be an issue. However, if you can't do it as quickly as Jamie thinks you should be able to do it, you are likely to find that your chicken (for example) is cooked long before you have finished making the accompanying elements of the meal. Or, sometimes, you buy something and it takes much longer to cook that the recipe suggests it will - I did one last week which needed to have bulgar wheat put on to cook about five minutes into the cooking time, but the instructions on the packet said it took 15 minutes to cook.
The other issue, which my husband is constantly pointing out, is that this style of cooking makes a lot of washing up - the average meal uses at least two (often three pans), plus the food processor, and all of that needs to be washed by hand. Oh, and while I'm here, you need to take his advice about 'serving' the food with a pinch of salt - seriously, who has a variety of different shaped boards to serve their everyday dinners on?
* Price and Purchasing *
Jamie's 15 Minute Meals has an RRP of £26.00 but you are very unlikely to have to pay that much for it, as it is usually reduced. Current Amazon price for the hardback is £11.96. It is available everywhere, in proper bookshops and online.
* Final Thoughts *
Jamie's 15 Minute Meals is a book that I would highly recommend. The recipes are mostly easy to follow and the results are impressive. I love the way that one recipe gives you a complete meal - it takes away all the indecisiveness about what to serve with a main dish, and it has certainly broadened our culinary horizons. We had slipped into a bit of a rut where everything was served with rice, couscous, pasta or some kind of potato, and it is refreshing to cook (and eat) a greater variety of meals. I have used this book at least once a week since I got it at Christmas - a combination of experimenting with new recipes and revisiting ones that have quickly become favourites - and I feel like it is one that I will continue to use. You do need to have a bit of confidence in your own abilities in the kitchen as there are a few tricky techniques in this book (it is definitely not as basic as 'Jamie's Ministry of Food' for example), but there is nothing that should make it inaccessible to a relatively experienced cook. So, if you want to make fresh, healthy, balanced meals which taste delicious, go out and buy this.
I brought this book on the back of watching the TV show. I was inspired by how Jamie managed to make quick, healthy appetizing food so quickly and wanted to have a go myself. There are so many recipes to choose from, and they really are quick to make. (Although i've yet to manage 15 minutes!). There are chapters to cover chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, pasta, soups and sarnies and veggie. As well as sections on breakfast and nutrition.
Jamie advises to prepare and get everything out before starting as it saves time. However if you consider the preparation time too, these meals whilst quick to make are not made within 15 minutes.
Each recipe includes an ingredients list, clear, easy to follow instructions as well as the equipment required. Jamie also indicates alongside each recipe the calories of the dish and how many it serves. There are beautiful mouthwatering pictures and the instructions are clear and easy to follow.
The only downside ive found is that quite a few of the recipes require ingredients you wouldnt find in the average householders store cupboard and sometimes these have not been easy to get hold of. Equally needing to buy these more specialist ingredients doesnt make some of the meals cheap to make.