Seeing as my earlier Nigel Slater post had me singing XTC constantly, I don’t hold much hope with this one (look it up, kids)!
So, the inimitable Jamie Oliver is back on our screens with not only his ’30 Minute Meals’ (coz that clearly wasn’t fast enough) but also his ’15 Minute Meals’. All Jamie, all the time. I think even I might struggle with all the excitement.
There was a recent elimination task on Oz MC; cooks had 30 minutes to grab ingredients from the pantry and cook whatever they liked. The bottom three moved on to the next round and had 20 minutes to do the same. The bottom two then had a whole FIVE minutes to rustle up a storm in the kitchen. Pretty crazy scenes, I can tell you.
’15 Minute Meals’ begins with a visual riot of a title sequence. Buffalo Stance blasts out of my speakers as our host flings basil, crushes chillies and generally makes a split-screen mess. I pity poor old Jules who, I presume, has to clean up after him.
After a lengthy intro where we’re told how much this will change your life, tips on pre-boiling the kettle and getting the grill up and running then he’s ready to go. A pretty glamorous fish stew is first up and yes, it may be jam tasty but does look on the expensive side with saffron, monkfish, red mullet, clams and sea bass just some of the ingredients. I was tempted by the saffron sauce, I must admit. Our cheeky chappy’s next course is an Asian beef noodle dish. This is typical Jamie using what looks like a tray as his plate, he scatters toasted nuts, throws wilted noodles and chops herbs with wild abandon. A nice little tip is when cooking the meat. He explains that by turning the meat every minute you achieve evenness and the fatty juices are regularly used to coat each side. Simple yet vaguely interesting. TWO MEALS, 15 MINUTES. DONE!
The cult – I mean BRAND – of Jamie has now reached the nation’s favourite chemist. Among the meal deal products and packets of monster munch at you can now find rows of funkily packages sandwiches, focaccia and salads. These join the existing tat that will no doubt get snaffled up this Christmas. In the name of research I purchased a ‘Proper Salmon Sarnie’ with a picture of our little chef on the side, head tilted in his ‘hey, I’m a relaxed kinda guy’ way. A blue label on the reverse has the following:
“I wouldn’t say much of what I do is elegant, but that’s really the only word to describe this sandwich. It’s got poached and hot-smoked salmon with these brilliant little pickled cucumber slices, all topped with delicious lemony soft cheese and chives. It would be brilliant for afternoon tea, but why wait until then? Made with love, Jamie O” Jamie Oliver is a registered trademark.
Yes, it was nice. Certainly better than the majority of the standard Boots range or many other sandwiches found elsewhere. The rectangle wholemeal slices complimented the salmonidae perfectly with a hint of pickled cucumber that cut through the cream cheese with aplomb as I savoured every mouthful at my desk. As I shook the crumbs from my keyboard, I thought – not bad, not bad at all.
OK, back to the telly. The ’30 Minute Meals’ had a calmer introduction and we were promised a gorgeous mushroom risotto to which Carsmile retorted “a risotto in under 30 minutes? Can’t be done.” But, done it was and tasty it looked. Along with some grilled, buttery ‘shrooms on the side and a cheesecake in a glass.
One last image to leave you with, dear readers. As our host tucked into his aforementioned beef noodle dish he explained that you just had to get stuck in: “I’m going to get lots of bits on the fork here and shove it in the orifice … I call … GOB!”