Tag Archives: quick dinners

Jamie’s 30 minute meals: Challenge Accepted!

Wow, that was some hiatus!! We’ve had a lovely 5 day long weekend which was a good break for us from work, but I think we busied ourselves even more with housechores, many baking adventures and er…for me, it was catching up on Amazing Race! (I finished Season 17 and have caught up with Season 18!…Gosh, I’m such a sucker for Reality TV shows!)

So anyway, we have decided to plonk back on the blogging world after a break 😀 my good intentions of blogging the last weekend went out the window obviously! But now, I am truly back into this and we have so many adventures to blog about!

Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meals Book Depository UK

We’ll start with Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals – we bought this book quite awhile ago, before the TV series went on air because we generally liked Jamie’s meals. He knows how to put delicious meals together simply and very quickly – great for full time workers like us! Hence the tagline “A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast”. And I can attest that it’s true! We’ve tried about 2-3 recipes from the book and we are amazed by all the “shortcuts” he takes, and how we can produce 2-3 course meals in about (well it’s not 30), but about an hour – which is quite a feat for us! 😀

If you haven’t seen the book before, it’s not categorized like other cookbooks – but in its own individual 3-4 course meals. It generally has a starter/entree/sides, main meal and a dessert. The steps are meant to be followed to the tee so that while you are cooking, you are multitasking and knowing what step comes next, and in doing that, you are meant to be more efficient in the kitchen.

But to be honest, it’s really difficult to follow every step and every ingredient to the tee – firstly, because we can’t find everything here in Australia – not if we head to specialty shops, ie: some of the salad greens (chicory, watercress) have to be substituted to what we can find here. And also, unless you have a thriving herb garden (which we don’t – sniff! – we have black, as opposed to green fingers), buying the amount of herbs that Jamie needs in his recipe can get quite expensive – but with a little bit of tweaking, and using local produce, it tastes great all the same. We just had to make adjustments and be a little more flexible then the book intended; and we started to see how valuable his little tips are.

So…30 minutes eh? I was intrigued when I looked through the cookbook – how can anyone do this in 30 minutes? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Recipe: Pregnant Jool’s Pasta and Salad

Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta complete

Yes, I know that the recipe is different from the book – but I didn’t have watercress, nor did I have time to make a dessert; so I skipped that part and just made the pasta, sauce and salad. It was actually quite easy and quick to make.

Ingredients for Pasta

4 spring onions
2 carrots
1-2 fresh red chillies
6 good quality sausages
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
500g dried pasta (any kind) – we used spirals for this
4 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tin chopped tomatoes
basil leaves


5.10pm – I started preparing by getting all my ingredients out of the fridge and different parts of the kitchen all together on the counter so I had things within reach and didn’t have to go searching for it

5.20pm – (yea, took me 10 mins! I need to work a bit faster I think!) I started to boil the water in the kettle for the pasta and got my pot and strainer out. Then, I started prepping the vegetables – washing and roughly chopping the carrots and spring onions

 Carrots Spring Onion Food Processor Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta

5.25pm – I took out my handy food processor (Jamie calls it a food liquidizer – I had to google it!). If you don’t have one of these, go get one! They are inexpensive and versatile, and makes your life in the kitchen less stressful, especially when you’re busy. Anyway, I put the spring onions, carrots and chillies in the food processor and blitzed it for awhile. Then, I added in the sausages and blitzed some more until it was well combined; then I added in the fennel seed and oregano.

Food Processor Sausage Spring Onion Carrot mixture Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta

5.35pm – I boiled more water for the pasta (left the first kettle of water in the pot, and put it under low heat) and added salt in the water. Then I put the pan on the stove to heat up, placed about a tablespoon of olive oil and then poured the blitzed mixture into the pan, agitating them with a spatula and frying until it separates – much like corned beef.

Sausage mixture in the pan, Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta

Then, add in the 4 garlic cloves, crushed, along with the tin tomato and balsamic vinegar.

Jamie 30 minute meals Pregnant Jools Pasta sauce

5.45pm – The meat was still simmering and didn’t look quite cooked, so I left it on and started on the salad. By this time, Sammy came home, so I had an extra pair of hands! So she continued on with the salad while I checked on the pasta. (Also did some washing up so my hubby doesn’t have to deal with it!)

6.00pm – Pasta sauce was done and Sammy finished the salad – and the meal was done!

It obviously took us longer than 30 minutes, but I was amazed by how you can make the sauce from scratch without using the bottled ones. I probably did more things in between (when I should be making the dessert), like putting things back into its original place and some washing up etc so if I hadn’t done that, I probably would have come up with another course.

I’m always amazed by the new things I learn when I cook from this book, and how I can be more efficient in the kitchen, and in doing that I save time and will have more time in the day to do other things 🙂 So if you’re thinking of buying this book, I think it’s a good buy if you’re willing to learn from his techniques and a be a bit creative in terms of the ingredients but still sticking to the overall timing of the book. It’s on offer now, in Big W! Funny, I just saw it on the catalogue for $29.93! Or you can get it from Book Depository.

We cooked another dish from this book…so stay tuned….!!


Posted by on April 28, 2011 in Cookbooks, Fast Foodies


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Fast Foodie Series: IKEA Meatballs

This is part of what we call the “Fast Foodie” series where we use what we have in our fridge and in our pantry and try and whip up a meal. It’s usually done at the end of a working day, when we’re both tired and the last thing on our mind is what do we cook for dinner (I know, I know, we need a better plan, but this seems to work for us now, even though at times we don’t eat until about 8pm)! Eeks..

So tonight, we scoured our freezer and dug out half a bag of IKEA Meatballs…SCORE!


Then we threw in a few things together to form this – our creation of IKEA Meatballs, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and Sammy’s swedish meatball sauce.

There’s no real recipe to this, it’s a lot of tasting and adding in things until you get the right – and Sammy got the sauce right alright! It was so close to the IKEA version…

Our meal took about 30-40 minutes to prepare and cook, but we didn’t have enough for lunch unfortunately, so this was just for the 3 of us.

We boiled and peeled the potatoes and made them into mash (with butter and milk)…

Side Dish

then we chucked the meatballs into the oven for about 15 mins. Then Sammy started on the sauce…

IKEA Meatball Sauce wannabe – First, she chops some red onions and pops them into the pan to be caramelized…

Then she puts in beef stock (diluted with some water), when it’s thickened a little, she puts in the cream (you can use fresh cream, but because we didn’t have any, we had to use long life cream instead). Then, just a little of corn flour to thicken it a little and salt and pepper to taste. It tasted great!

While that was happening, boil the vegetables (or microwave them if you prefer) and tadah! You have a balanced meal for 3, all under 40 minutes. These are the times when we are thankful for modern inventions 😛

Side Dishes

There is just so much you can do with meatballs (doesn’t have to be IKEA ones, it can be pre-made ones), but having them handy in the freezer for times like this always saves some brain juice thinking of what to eat! In the past, we’ve also made them into spaghetti and meatballs and I know friends who adds them with their mee goreng or instant noodles – or you can top them onto a pizza base for just something a little different. The options are endless!

How do you eat your meatballs?

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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Fast Foodies


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