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 :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Lamb, Vegetable Platter, Mint Sauce, Chianti Gravy, Chocolate Fondue

Spring Lamb, Vegetable Platter, Mint Sauce, Chianti Gravy, Chocolate Fondue p.268

I wish that the pictures of this meal could do it justice. It was BY FAR the most beautiful and impressive of all the meals I have made from the "Jame's 30 Minute Meals" cookbook. It was definitely fine dining. There were so many complementary flavors in this meal that really you should have had bread to sop up the leftover sauces. It was an incredible amount of flavor that was almost shocking when you ate it. As impressive as it was to look at it was even more so when you took a bite.

I have strong feelings against eating lamb, but I have to admit it has been so long since I ingested the information I was so opposed to that I can't remember why. So I relented and bought the lamb and cooked it. It wasn't the lamb though that was so amazing. It was the tomatoes and sauce that it was cooked in. It was the mint sauce and the Chianti gravy.

The vegetables were supposed to be different but we couldn't get the ones he called for so we got as close as we could. But really it didn't matter. The spices and the sauces were to powerful to leave any vegetable wanting.
For my vegetarian friends I would say you could use the mint sauce and the herbs and sauce the meat was cooked in, but the gravy just couldn't be the same without the smoked bacon.

The mint sauce was very simple only 3 ingredients really: fresh mint, red wine vinegar and golden caster sugar. Then you use salt and pepper to taste and add two tablespoons of cooking water from your cooking vegetables. Amazing flavor for a sauce so small. It was great on the vegetables or the meat.

The gravy was smoked bacon, rosemary, flour, and 1/2 a glass of red wine which I substituted water from the vegetables for since I don't drink wine and so didn't have any. You can't get cooking wine here either. There is no need since drinking here is what they do. Alcohol is a VERY BIG problem here, but that is a discussion for another day. Alcohol takes up such a large amount of the supermarkets that you would think it was it's own food group.

the lamb was seared with a little salt and pepper on it in olive oil. Then you put it in a baking dish with a dressing you make in your pestle and mortar. It is fresh rosemary, garlic, Dijon mustard, and white wine vinegar. You cook the lamb with the cherry tomatoes and this dressing poured on top. It was amazing.

Here is the desert. We have mango, blueberries, pineapple, and what my kids call apple pears. Their real name escapes me at the moment. They are the shape of an apple and hard like an apple but they taste like a pear and have a crispness and water factor that reminds you of a waterchesnut. They are very good. So we had this fruit with the chocolate fondue with the emphasis for us on FRUIT and not chocolate. You don't need much chocolate to make it taste fantastic anyway. Especially since all these fruits are great by themselves anyway.

This meal took me about 45 min but I think it would be faster for me next time now that I know what I am doing. The lamb was a first for me since I have never made it before. Also I still don't have a pestle and mortar so I had do be inventive and put more work into the sauce.
Garrett gave this meal a perfect 10 ladies and gentleman. That is a first for him. I also gave it a 10 and that might be a first for me too. The kids have been generous with there 10's but they also gave it a 10. They said their only complaint was that there wasn't enough lamb. it only made 8 small pieces since I couldn't find the neck that he used in addition to the rack of lamb.
I meant to make it to the butcher but it just didn't happen. I am grossed out a little by the butcher so I send Garrett and he wasn't available to go and I was too busy anyway :)


  1. well, that poor little lamb that . . . um. I would REALLy love to try those vegetables.

  2. Wow! What a beautiful meal !  When are you coming home to cook those veggies and make fruits like those ?  Funny you should post this today ----I just read all the meat requirements and prohibitions in Leviticus this morning! HeeHee!,!

  3. Haha, Amber you make me laugh! Ashley, Dad looked at all the food and goes "well, Camilla, looks like you finally have some competition."lol I was like, this has been going on for years Your food all looks amazing!!! I cant wait for spring break, I would love to try cooking some of it!

  4. That is so funny Helen,
    You know the funny thing is dad has never really eaten my food. He has never come to stay with me. The one time he came to CA we ate out while we were on the go. And when I come there we always eat quick stuff mom has done before hand. Next time I come I will make a point of cooking for him :)