Jamie's 15-Minute Meals - TV review

What can you do in fifteen minutes? You could run a couple of miles (if you're quick), take up your individual amount of fame or, if Jamie is to be believed, rustle up a meal for four.

Jamie's 15-Minute Meals - TV review

After showing the nation how to cook a three-course meal in just half an hour, Essex's most famous foodie has decided to go faster still in his pursuit of the ultimate fast food.

There's no excuse for laziness now, it seems. All you need to feed your family in just a quarter of an hour is a kitchen stocked with more gadgets than a Comet sale, the ability to multi-task and a pair of running shoes to pace between the pans.

Also preferable would be an extra hand, eyes in the back of your head and a fully-stocked fridge.

Oh and, preferably, somebody else to do the washing-up afterwards.

I actually had a go at some of Jamie's 30-minute meals – they took me at least twice as long, I had to substitute half of the ingredients as I couldn't find them in our cupboards and my kitchen looked as though a sauce-filled bomb had gone off.

In fact, my efforts were so hopeless that I wondered how anybody but Jamie could manage it.

These latest recipes, with just one course instead of three and using pre-cooked ingredients to save time, do seem more achievable. And more realistic for a Thursday night after work.

That's not to say that there wouldn't be noodles stuck to the walls, lemon juice all over the floor and every utensil with a new home in the sink.

And, with only half the allotted time, I'd still be chopping the veg long after the clock had run down (either that or searching for the food processor).

So this series might be one for Mrs N to tackle.

She uses fewer pots and pans, knows her way around the kitchen and, crucially, knows how to multi-task.

She might even be able to do it in, I don't know, 25 minutes. Maybe even 20.

She'd have the kettle boiled, the frying pan hot and all the vegetables washed and ready to slice – everything Jamie says that you should have done in advance

Jamie's 15 minute meals are about getting everything ready beforehand and using as many cheats (read gadgets and pre-cooked ingredients) to get ahead as possible.

And he manages to rustle up two tasty sounding dishes in the time it would take me to work out how the hand-blender pieces fit together.

Once I'd wiped the dust off, of course.

Jamie's Italian influences shone through in his first recipe, a fettuccine with smoked trout and vegetables, while the second was more of a fusion where East meets Essex with black bean burgers and Asian noodles.

Both looked delicious and almost too easy – in fact he flew through both with such speed that I was surprised he didn't rustle up a poached egg on toast during the ad break.

Can it really be that easy? Realistically, I imagine it would take an everyday cook around twice as long (at least the first time round) – but even that would be pretty impressive by my reckoning.

And it's certainly healthier than a takeaway. . .

So, with the book set to be another best-seller this Christmas, it looks like it'll once again be time to cook against the clock.

Although it might not happen quite so smoothly as that in our house. . .

Todd Nash

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