Ever since we started menu planning, Jamie’s 30 minutes meals has been tested and tried almost once a month. Like we said in our last post, Jamie has a way of fast-tracking cooking and preparation times that IF (and that’s a very big IF!) we knew what we were doing, we just might sneak in within the 30 minute timeframe. Having said that, we weren’t too ambitious this time, and our goal was to make a delicious meal for the masses. Masses meaning 5. heh.
So we chose the Tray Baked Chicken and Squashed Potatoes (without the accompanied Creamed Spinach or Strawberry Slushie). Few reasons why we didn’t make the rest of it – we go by the principle of using up what’s in the fridge rather than buying new things, and secondly like what we learn from all cooking shows, we try and use seasonal produce! Strawberries weren’t in season at that time, so we were stuck with…well, no strawberries. It did look really good in the book though!!
If you are familiar with Jamie Oliver’s cooking, he’s often the king of “agar-ration”, by that I mean he’s a huge estimator. He loves using terms like “pinch”, “dollop”, “splash” – totally metric terms obviously! But that’s the whole thing about cooking – which is great! So these ingredients are not from the book but more of by “feel” and “look” – you just have to keep tasting!!
3-4 large potatoes (that are good for baked potatoes)
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
2 bay leaves
6 cloves of garlic
Start with the potatoes (especially when this takes the longest). Put some water in a pot and sprinkle with some salt. Then wash and prep the potatoes thoroughly and cut them in half length ways before placing them into the water. Boil them for about 12-15 minutes or until they are cooked through. When they are cooked, just leave them to dry for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, get a pan ready and coat it with a layer of olive oil. Start by placing the rosemary and bay leaves into the pan, and put the potatoes on top of the herbs (make sure they are flat and not topped on one another), then sprinkle in some salt (always season!!) and crush the cloves of garlic and add them in as well.
Then comes the fun part – with a smaller pan or any flat apparatus really – press it down hard on the potatoes so that they burst and spread out across the pan. If the potatoes are cooked well, this should be done easily enough. Leave them in the pan for 3 minutes then turn over to the other side.
4-5 chicken breasts (skin on or off entirely up to you!)
4 rashers of bacon
Pinch of dried oregano
Couple of tsp of sweet paprika
1 tbsp (roughly) of butter
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
2-3 sprigs of rosemary
With the chicken, the seasoning (dried oregano, salt, pepper and paprika) were added to the chicken along with olive oil. Then, it was basically pan fried and browned.
When the chicken juices start to flow, place them onto a roasting tray with the lemon (quartered) and the cherry tomatoes. Make sure to pour in all the juices into the pan!!
Then, lay out the bacon onto the chicken. Coat the sprigs of rosemary in the juices under heat and then place them in the roasting tray as well.
Put the roasting tray under the grill and cook for about 12-15 minutes.
And then it’s just a matter of putting together a side of vegetables (in our case it was blanched buk choy) to form a perfectly balanced meal! Hmm, not if you don’t count dessert as a balanced diet that is! The chicken was good because it was not too dry and the bacon added a different texture and taste to it. I thought the idea of the squashed potatoes were ingenious although they might have been around for centuries, and I just didn’t know about it!! So all in all, another satisfied meal from Jamie’s book, but still well and above the 30 minute mark. I was telling Sammy that we might have to do these recipes again and again so that we know exactly what are were doing and that would probably shorten our um-ing and ah-ing and referring back to the book. And practice makes perfect…RIGHT??
Until next time…..!