I love a cookery programme!
So I've been watching the new Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meals on Channel 4 every night at 5.30pm. There's the obligatory book to accompany the series too. Christmas present anyone?
Unlike the traditional "here's one I made earlier" style, the premise is that Jamie cooks the food in real time and you can replicate this at home, making everything he does in just under 30 minutes. Perfect for midweek teas after a long day at work. Pukka as the boy Oliver would say!
So far this week everything has looked delicious so last night I thought I'd give the pasta dish from Fridays show a try.
Now Jamie's menu included frangipane and raspberry jam tarts too but I dispensed with this as Hubby hates almonds.
I'm glad I did!
30 minutes! 30 minutes!!!
You are having a laugh!!!
Granted once I got going with my "30 minute meals head on" as Jamie would say then yes the cooking did only take about 20 or so minutes to do. The problem was finding all the stuff I needed to cut down on the preparation time.
You had to start by chopping very, very finely some spring onion, celery, carrot and chilli in a food processor. I couldn't get spring onions and we don't like celery so I improvised and used a normal white onion and a leek. I thought I'd save time too and whack the garlic in with this lot as I don't have a crusher.
Right start the clock...
"Darling, where's that food processor you bought me for Christmas?"
"What food processor?"
"You know the one you bought me last... no... two Christmas's ago."
Not to worry I'll use the attachment on the little blender I use for the boys puree, that's more to hand. Roughly chopped veg goes into the bowl and I switch it on. About 3 minutes gone at this point.
"It's not chopping it. I think I've got too much in here."
Hubby arrives in the kitchen
"What are you doing?"
"Making that Jamie Oliver pasta thing, I've got to chop all this really finely but it's not working. "
About 10 minutes are now wasted trying to get the chopper attachment to click properly so it will cut effectively. No joy! The various bits of the small chopper are tossed in the washing up bowl for later. We need the big processor.
"I think it's at the back of that cupboard"
"That cupboard" is systematically emptied. Baking tins and jugs and long forgotten bit of plastic that I don't know what they do anymore are dumped onto the kitchen floor.
"Found it! Christ, it's 20 past. X factor starts in 10 minutes!"
I could've chopped all this by hand by now by never mind, I carry on. Big processor found I fit it to the base which also is my food mixer. You have to get the angle just right or the top won't press down properly and you can't switch it on.
Another 6 minutes gone! By this time the water has boiled and re-boiled ready for it's pasta but we are not ready for it!
Yeah! I've switched it on. Veg is being chopped. Although it is sticking to the sides of the bowl and I have to keep stopping and using a spatula to scrape it back to the middle.
X Factor is on sob story singer number 1 now. Thank the lord for Sky +.
Veg now sizzling in a pan with olive oil. Food processor discarded to the washing up bowl. Contents of the cupboard still on the floor. We are getting somewhere.
"Babe, I've got the recipe on the computer screen tell me what do I have to do next?"
"Put the sausages in the food processor and mince them up."
Oh bum! The processor is covered in hot soapy water. I start putting everything back in the cupboard while the veg fries. Putting it back the way in went in is a game worthy of the Krypton Factor!
Hubby calls from the computer:
"Have you put fennel seeds in it? It says to put fennel seeds in it."
With my head in the cupboard:
"No. I don't like aniseed. I've left them out and put thyme in instead."
"You're not making the tarts as well are you?"
"No, You don't like almond. I've enough on my plate with this pasta."
"It says here you're supposed to be able to make this all in 30 minutes!"
I swear to god!!!
I skin the sausages and break them up in the pan. This of course takes longer but so far this 30 minute meal has taken about 40 minutes just to chop an onion so I'm past caring.
"You're supposed to present it on a big platter"
"Where's the one we use at Christmas time for the turkey?"
"In the loft!"
Hubby is by this time so hungry and has waited so long for dinner he's gnawing off his own arm so I take an executive decision and whack it straight into bowls with a flourish of fresh basil and parmesan.
So I have learnt three valuable lessons about me, TV cookery and chefs here.
I'm a luddite. Give me a chopping board and a knife any day of the week.
TV chefs have F off great kitchens with powerful gadgets that work and enough free work surface so that everything is to hand all the time and doesn't languish at the back of cupboards.
They don't keep their serving platters in the loft!
And the result? Well see for yourself.
So after all that it was delicious and one of the tastiest things we've had for a long time.
And how was I after all that stress?
Well, I still want the book for Christmas!