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 :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tomato Soup, Chunky Croutons, Crunchy Veg. and Guacamole, Sticky Prune Sponge Puddings

This is what I started with. Notice the amount of really fresh ingredients. It turned out that this was quite an expensive recipe. It won't be in all parts of the world, but here, on my island, it was quite expensive. There are $15 + of tomatoes, $4 of avocados, $3 of chillies, $3.90 for the Baguette from the local Patisserie, $3 of fresh cilantro and then there is the butter, the olive oil, the Creme fraiche, garlic, ginger... and the list goes on.

Here are the tomatoes roasted and ready for the food processor. Jamie uses a food processor and blender a lot in these recipes to speed things up. He chops, grates, slices, and processes all in the food processor to save time. I am finding that it really works. One of the reasons my recipes aren't going as fast as his is that I am borrowing a food processor right now, and it only has one attachment. It only has the main blade. So I can't grate or slice.

This isn't the best presentation but I didn't feel like dirtying too many dishes. The more beautiful my spread the more clean up at night. So, most of the time I try to make it simple and pretty and not go too far out into large serving dishes-unless of course we have company :)
Here is the guac. It should have been served with chunks of fennel bulb as well but I couldn't get it at my local grocery and didn't have time to go to the larger market where they have it. I also added some garlic and cumin to it since I am somewhat of a guacamole connoisseur and his was just a little plain. (I probably lost a few minutes here on my time)

Here is the finished meal: It put a smile on EVERYONE'S faces. My kids loved it all. Only problem was: there wasn't enough baguette for our liking. Good thing though because it wasn't wholemeal, so it's not exactly healthy. By the time I got to the Patisserie at 1pm they only had
two baguette's left. They sell out of everything by 3pm each day. Jamie made homemade croutons for his soup but since I have been looking for a good excuse to spend money at the Patisserie I went for the bread. I LOVE the sound and smell of good bread and THIS was good bread. The way it crinkles when you break off a piece is so delightful I couldn't help but squeeze it several times before we got home. And since everyone but me was enjoying a dainty delectable from the patisserie already, I snitched a few bites as well. This particular patisserie in town is owned by a French Family with thick accents. And since you know already from the fish market story I have a bit of a problem with accents. You know how your parent always told you you were ruining your ears with all the loud music? Well I found out it is true. Way too many concerts as a teenager has made it difficult for me to hear detail as odd as that might sound. If you have an accent I might have a little (or a lot) of trouble understanding you. If you mumble I will have a bit of trouble understanding you. If you have an accent AND you mumble-I don't have a prayer. Might as well get me an interpreter.

The empty bowls meant...time for desert.

Here is is ladies and gentlemen: Sticky prune sponge pudding. One of the great things about doing this experiment is getting to make things I would normally NEVER make. This is one of them. I never would have thought that it could taste good. I was delightfully surprised by how light and satisfying this desert was. This is how my husband described it: "You know how sometimes you get down from the table and you just aren't quite satisfied. Like you need a little something sweet or just a tiny bit of something? This desert was that something. It was light and not too sweet." The whole meal just works together leaving you completely satisfied and free from snacking the rest of the evening.

This meal took me an hour to make. I still feel positive though about my ability to make a meal in 30 min. I had so many distractions during my cooking that made it impossible to meet the deadline.


  1. I made it two days ago!i loved it!!!

  2. So glad you made it and enjoyed it. Were you able to get it done in 30 min.?
    Thanks for stopping by the blog. I love to hear what others are doing with the book and his recipes.