Cooking. We all know it has to be done, but there are just so many other things to be doing, like checking Facebook. And staring at a blank Word document, hoping that essay will write itself. Despite this reluctance, most of us are tired of having variations of pasta dishes every night, but there’s still no way we’re going spend hours in the kitchen making something that still tastes dodgy. At least, that’s how I felt after nearly one and a half years of pasta and risotto. So when I got Jamie’s Thirty Minute Meals for Christmas, I didn’t immediately dismiss it.
Although daunted at first by the seemingly complex instructions for each recipe, I tried my first one a couple of weeks ago, and it was a revelation. I didn’t expect it to only take thirty minutes to make a whole meal, including side and dessert, but when you focus, you find that everything is ready to eat and on the table within half an hour. The fantastic array of recipes means there’s something for everyone, including vegetarians, and the possibilities of mixing and matching different meals with sides and desserts means you could eat something different every night for the rest of this year.
The main drawback I found at first was that the amount of ingredients listed for each recipe does increase the price of the weekly food shop, however if you plan the recipes ahead, so you make things with similar ingredients, and cut out some of the really fancy stuff like balsamic vinegar, the prices aren’t too horrific.
Jamie’s instructions carefully guide you through every step of the process, and are very easy to follow, making sure you’re not left pondering over exactly what you’re meant to do, but are actually cooking and experimenting the whole time. In fact, I’ve found that through using his recipes, my own cooking has improved massively. When I make something else, I find myself adding a sprinkling of rosemary, or a drizzle of honey to enhance the flavour. I certainly don’t have the qualities of a sous-chef, but I finally enjoy cooking, and don’t dread having to leave the warmth of my room and shovel some plain pasta into a saucepan, whilst wondering how I can possibly create an edible meal out of pasta, broccoli and Nutella anymore.