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, October 16, 2011

Sea Bass & Crispy Pancetta, Sweet Potato Mash, Asian Greens, 1-Minute Berry Ice Cream and Sprarkling Lemon Ginger Drink

Sea Bass & Crispy Pancetta, Sweet Potato Mash, Asian Greens, 1-Minute Berry Ice Cream and Sparkling Lemon Ginger Drink p. 182 
This meal is probably my favorite meal so far out of the JO 30 Min. Meals Cookbook. If not my favorite then in my top 3 for sure.  It was amazing.  We had a small cooking competition at our church recently and I made this for it. It won first place for best tasting. It really is GOOD!!  I am big into textures in food and this one has so many textures and flavors too that complement each other. It is a symphony in your mouth for sure. 
These are the Asian greens. Asparagus is out of season here so we went with broccoli alone. You can tell in the picture that they are overcooked as well. Once you loose the bright green color of your veggies you know it is too late-they're over cooked.  I am learning more though about resting your meat after it is cooked though and I can't see why this wouldn't work for veggies. A famous chef here in New Zealand said something in a class I took from him that made me think a lot about the way we do dinner at my house.  He said that home chef's always think they need to serve food piping hot, but really it is good for your meat to rest and better that your food is served less hot than overcooked!!  Good point don't you think? Next time we are waiting dinner on dad we will take the food out early and let it rest rather than trying to keep it hot and letting it overcook.

Crispy pancetta-this is 8 slices of pancetta that goes on top of the fish. it's cooked in a drizzle of olive oil until crispy. When crisp you remove it from the pan and leave the fat in the pan to cook the fish in.  Put the fish in the pan skin side down and press it down onto the pan with a spatula(the recipe calls for 4X 150g fillets of sea bass).  Next pound up 1 tsp of fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar and scatter them over the fish with a pinch of salt and pepper. Then finely grate over the zest of 1 lemon. Cut the lemon into quarters and save for serving.
Sweet Potato Mash- take 700g of sweet potatoes and wash, trim and stab with a knife. Put in a large microwave safe bowl. Halve a lime and add it to the bowl cover with cling wrap and microwave on full power for 12 minutes  or until cooked through.  While that is cooking, finely chop the coriander on a large wooden board and set aside a few leaves for the garnish. Add the mango chutney, a good splash of soy sauce, a drizzle of olive oil, the juice of 1/2 a lime and 1/2 a chopped red chili.
Take the sweet potatoes out of the microwave when cooked through, then use tongs to squeeze over the juice from the hot lime halves and discard them.  carefully tip the sweet potatoes on top of the mango chutney mixture and use a knife or masher to chop and mash everything together, including the skins. Season to taste, adding more fresh lime juice if needed.
I added just a tablespoon or two more of the mango chutney to it because it tasted so good.
Here it is with the sea bass and pancetta on top, lemons on the side, and a little coriander (cilantro) to garnish. Magnificent food!  Can't wait to try it again.
Here is a picture of the second batch of broccoli I cooked up and didn't over cook. It is bright green and not dark at all. It tasted SO much better.
And if you just couldn't tell--here it is with the flash on :) I should add that I didn't make the berry ice cream for desert but will try to go back and try it another time and put up a post later.
This meal got a 10 from everyone in the family as well as wining the cooking competition at church. I had so many people come up to me afterwards and ask me about the meal. The purpose of the competition was to let people try different recipes that were healthy and under a certain price per/serve as they would say in New Zealand and this was one of Jamie's less expensive meals and one of my favorites so I chose this one. It was fantastic.
I highly recommend that you try this meal, so to get you started I found this link:

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