How This Started and My Hope For This Experiment

My Husband and I are both big fans of Jamie Oliver. For Christmas I bought him Jamie's cookbook "Jamie's 30 Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast". As I read the preface of his cookbook I was inspired by his ideas. He felt that he was spending too much time cooking during the busy week and doing too much clean up. So he decided that for the week night meals there needed to be something quick and still healthy and yummy. He and his team did a lot of work and made the "30 Minute Meals". He has explicit directions for step by step getting the meal done in 30 min. He tells you what to do first, second, and third so that you have all dishes going at the same time, instead of making it dish by dish. Since we aren't doing once a month cooking right now I was captured by this idea and dying to start trying. I have been spending way too much time in the kitchen during the week and can't wait to be able to prepare good meals fast. My husband was all for it since he loves to eat great food and has a very particular palette. He will be making some of the meals on weekends when he isn't working because, this is after all, his cookbook :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cheats Pizza, 3 Delish Salads, Kiwi and Vanilla Mascarpone Cream

What's on the menu today? Well it is Cheats Pizza, 3 Delish salads, Squashed cherries (or other seasonal fruit) & vanilla mascarpone cream. P. 58

The cheats pizza is delish. We loved it! It was amazingly fast to make and tasted so good that we made it two days in a row. Well One reason we made it two days in a row was because when I was taking pictures of it the first time there was no SD card in the camera. But we were all craving it again the second day anyway, so we were glad for the excuse to make it again.

We didn't have the ingredients to make all 3 salads again so here is a picture of the one we did make again. It was light and delightful. Looks a little plain to your eyes but with the red chili and balsamic vinegar you can't really see here, it was a huge hit. Perfect summer salad.

Here is the finished Pizza. The crust was made in the food processor in less than 2 min. It wasn't even measured really. One mugs worth of self-raising flour, 1/2 a mug of tepid water, a lug of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. You just mix it in the food processor and then dump it on your floured surface and pat it out. Stick it in the frying pan and it ends up so spongy and crisp. It was almost addicting.
oh and since the fresh mozzarella wasn't at the grocery I was at I just went with what they had-the bagged stuff. It was still quite lovely.

The first day I made it I just made the one pizza for the 5 of us and it was plenty. The second day without the other 2 salads and the desert we made two pizzas to fill all 5 of us up. If you are feeding more than 4 people you will need more pizzas but since they were so fast I knocked both of them out in a very short while.

One of our most favorite things about this pizza was the sauce. It was so easy and seemingly plain but the splash of red-wine vinegar added a lot. And the fennel seeds on top of the pizza were also quite lovely. That was the first time I have added fennel seed to the toppings of a pizza; and even though I didn't grind mine like he did in the pestle and mortar it was fantastic.

Here is the desert. Since cherries here are 13-19$ a Kg we decided to go with Kiwis instead. They were gorgeous. The vanilla mascarpone cream was wonderful but since I couldn't find the right kind of biscuits and there is a recipe coming up with these sponge fingers we had those. I didn't really care for them though.

The biscuits he used looked much much better.
The orange zest really added a lot to the desert as well.

OK, now down to brass tacks-Loved the meal. I gave the meal a 10 and so did my kids. The Man around the house gave it an 8.5. He said the pizza was a 10 but he wasn't as wild about the salads as the rest of us. Oh and he didn't care for the sponge fingers in the desert either. I finally achieved making a meal in 30 min. It was so fast to make that I had no trouble getting them all done in the time allotted. Hurray for me! I definitely feel like celebrating :)


  1. Can I ask you how you cooked the pizza? How long? Did you have to use a lid for the pan? You know... the details. Or are you a purist and I have to go take the book out of the library to learn how to do it?

  2. The book wouldn't actually help you there. He doesn't tell you any details about how to cook it. I just cooked it until the bottom was almost golden brown and the top almost cooked through but still a little doughy, and then I added the toppings. Then when the bottom was ready I put it under the broiler to cook the top. You just pop the whole frying pan under the broiler. I wasn't sure if this particular pan was oven safe so I put it in and left the oven door ajar so the pan handle could hang out. lol That sounds funny-letting the panhandle hang out :)They usually do! Oh and no lid for the pan was necessary.