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, July 19, 2011

Moroccan Lamb Chops, Flatbreads, Herby Couscous, Stuffed Peppers, Pomegranate Drink

Moroccan Lamb Chops, Flatbreads, Herby Couscous, Stuffed Peppers, Pomegranate Drink p.266

I made everything for this meal except the Pomegranate Drink. I couldn't buy any pomegranates so I defaulted Jamie's Berry Slushy P. 166 This was quite an exciting meal for presentation and if I had more unique dishes it would have looked stunning.  So many colors and textures deserve the same in serving but alas I must use what I have here on the other side of the world from my serving dishes.

This is the Moroccan style lamb. The flavor was so good my guests were sucking the bones when the meat was all gone.  Yummy!  The rub was made with freshly grated nutmeg, ground cumin, sweet paprika, dried thyme. You score the meat to made sure that when you massage in the rub it gets into the crevices.  Then when the meat is seasoned you add it to a hot pan and brown all sides of it and finish it off in the oven--Superb and you really can't go wrong unless you over cook it.  14 min for blushing to medium and a few minutes more or less for well done or rare. 

This is the houmous and it was really just store bought houmous with some added flavors. I took garlic houmous and drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper and sweet paprika, and a squeeze of lemon.  It was very tasty!

These were the stuffed peppers and they were so easy it was like cheating. He uses peppers that are roasted and jarred already since it is fast.  You take the peppers out of the jar, slip in a few slices of good melting cheese (I used a good Cheddar), and you slip them into a hot pan and cook for 1.5-2 minutes until the cheese is melted. Fast, easy and quite tasty as a side.

This was new for me. I have never used harissa before and I really liked it.  This was also a garnish for the meal. It was made with 250g of yogurt, a heaped teaspoon of harissa, a drizzle of olive oil and a little chopped parsley sprinkled on top.  It was wonderful on the flat bread. It was cool in your mouth because of the yogurt but the harrissa added a bit of heat and spice that was in contrast and it was lovely. For those of you who don't know what Harissa is it is a Tunisian Chili eaten in North Africa. It comes in a jarred paste where I live but is also sold in tins, tubes and other containers according to Wikipedia.  It can also differ in taste depending on what region you buy it in.  If you haven't tried it before I highly recommend it!

Oh Couscous how I love thee-couscous is so versatile. You can make it so many different ways and it's always good. Just like a potato :)  This couscous had finely chopped red chili, parsley, a few lugs of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and the juice of one lemon. Simple and supurb. The grainy texture of the couscous was in nice contrast to the smooth bread and spreads.

This flatbread was a great example of how Jamie takes something so simple and pre-made and turns it into something that tastes spruced up and homemade.  To make these you buy a package of good flatbreads lay them on a board and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with S & P and dried thyme or oregano. scrunch up and wet a large piece of greaseproof paper and flatten out. Wrap up the flatbreads in it and put in the oven on the bottom shelf to warm up on 220'C/425'F/gas 7. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how it takes plain flatbreads up a notch on the food ladder.

Here is the finished product--Fantastic!

For the berry slushy see my post on "Smoky Haddock and Corn Chowder"

This meal was so well received that it will definitely be put on the list of repeats.  I would also like to add the Harissa to some other more simple last minute meal ideas. If you already have a jar of it on hand you can use it as a rub for any meat and it would be wonderful.  I also like the idea of using it with other couscous meals.
I apologize for going in and out of USA and European spellings. It is getting harder and harder for me to keep them straight and since I have readers from both ends I guess it doesn't really matter. It will look wrong to one or the other anyway :)
It took me more than 1/2 an hour as well. I am wondering if I will ever be able to consistently get these meals made in 1/2 and hour or if that will just be unattainable?  Hmmm--on a happier note my knife skills are improving greatly. Not getting too much faster yet but I am consistently being more uniform in my cuts and my spread has improved a little.  Farewell and Goodnight! Happy Cooking to you all-


  1. Thanks.... I've wanted to try this meal ever since it was broadcasted in NZ so today is the day! Your instructions are nice and clear.... I'm gonna buy the 30 minute recipe book if this one is a success.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I would love to know how the recipe works out for you. The book is wonderful. My favorite part is that it is put together in meals so everything goes so well together.

  2. Watched the programme today and needed a reminder on a couple of things, great description, trying it tonight. thanks a lot. Elaine