Friday, November 16, 2012

Healthy cooking made easy

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I love variety in my meals. I understand how some folks think it's too hard to whip up gourmet treats every night and so just end up rotating the same few meals week in, week out instead. But seriously...urgh! Nothing tips me off the healthy eating wagon faster than boredom. ANOTHER plate of grilled chicken and salad? Kill me now...

So allow me to introduce you to my hero:

I've had a soft spot for Jamie Oliver since he first bounced onto my TV screen back in 1997 with The Naked Chef. He wasn't just entertaining (and a bit cute), his food was REAL and unpretentious, not to mention delicious. He made cooking seem fun and easy - which it is.

So when I spotted Jamie's 15 Minute Meals in the shops a few weeks ago, I grabbed it as a birthday gift for Bike Boy. Smart thinking, no? We've only just begun to work through the recipes, but the ones we've tried have been FAB. 

The premise of the book is that healthy, fresh, delicious food shouldn't take forever to prepare. 

I. Freaking. LOVE. That.

Does the book live up to its promise? Absolutely. With a small proviso: You do need to be a fairly well-organised cook. If you watch the TV show, you'll see that Jamie generally has ingredients at hand and ready to go. A man after my own heart - I can't stand disorganised cooking! If you're not naturally an organised person, you're probably looking at more like 30 minutes, but that's still a quick meal in my book.

The time saving lies mostly in using a bit of technology - a blender and food processor are essential, or you'll be chopping and pureeing for hours. Like this Jerk Pork that we had for dinner last night (I was too hungry to pause for photos, sorry):

The sauce ingredients just get chucked in a blender and the salad is a tear-and-throw-in-a-bowl job - Apart from the corn on the cob, but he even makes that easy, just grill and use a sharp knife to slice the kernels off.

We found a pork fillet in the freezer and decided to make this at the last minute, but we didn't actually have all the ingredients. It doesn't matter. The beauty of this type of cooking is that you can substitute and improvise. These aren't temperamental recipes that require precise amounts of the exact ingredients.

We had the sad remains of a bunch of coriander - more would have been good, but we made do. We had no corn cobs, but in the back of the pantry I found a small can of corn kernels. Close enough. No cherry tomatoes, so a bit of chopping was required with a full-sized tomato. No cress...meh, leave it out. I added cucumber, which wasn't in the recipe, to beef up the salad ingredients. Luckily we had lettuce and a ripe avocado in the fridge or the salad would have been nothing like the recipe. The sauce asked for red wine vinegar - we used balsamic. Spring onions? Oops, out of those; a little red onion did the job. And corn tortillas were nowhere to be found, but we did have some soft wholemeal flour tortillas. I didn't bother trying to make those into a crisp salad basket, just warmed them up and chucked them on our plates.

The end result was superb. We've also made the spicy cajun chicken with smashed sweet potato & fresh corn salsa and the British burgers and both were sensational. Every recipe uses fresh ingredients, includes a large amount of veggies and is pretty nutritionally balanced. I'm having no trouble at all fitting these into my 40/40/20 (ish) meal plan.

If you're stuck in a food rut and desperately in need of help, but don't have heaps of time to play domestic goddess in the kitchen, grab yourself a copy. Add a food processor and blender if you don't already have one and you're all set.

The companion Jamie's 30 Minute Meals is equally as good. Maybe ask Santa for a package deal for Christmas... :o)

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my copy of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals out of my own pocket. I am however, an Amazon affiliate and may receive commission on items purchased via links on this page. Opinions expressed in this post are my own.



Magda said...

I'm one of those people who rotates the same weekday meals week in, week out (hangs head in shame). Yep inspiration is totally lacking until the weekend comes around.


Kek said...

There's nothing wrong with that, Magda - a lot of people are happy doing exactly that. I'm just not one of them. ;)

But if you're looking for some meals to make your taste buds sing (and impress the hell out of any guests), Jamie won't let you down.

Joy said...

Terrific review!

Do you know about Weekend Cooking? It's a weekly event at Beth Fish Reads. Here's last week's:

I hope you'll link this post up tomorrow because we love posts like this!

Joy's Book Blog

Kek said...

Thanks Joy - I'll try to remember to do that! I might discover a whole lot of new foodie blogs. :)

Anonymous said...

I am EXTREMELY attracted to Jamie Oliver. That is all. :)

Kek said...

What woman can resist a cute bloke who can cook up a storm? :p

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