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Book Review : Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals

 In Reviews


When I was first asked to review Jamie Oliver’s new book by Yuppiechef, I was over the moon. I have always been a Jamie fan, since his days of being the ‘naked chef’. I was only about 14 when The Naked Chef started airing on the Carlton Food Network but I was absolutely enticed. His lisp, his charm and his Essex accent were all enough to make a teenage girl swoon. And I haven’t stopped swooning ever since.

When I received the package I was so excited and I urge all of you to buy something from Yuppiechef JUST to receive one of their packages. Beautifully made up with gorgeous paper and a hand-written note, it just shows you how amazing this company is.

The cover of Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals is inviting and warm. The foreword is encouraging and it convinces you that you can cook like Jamie if you have this book. Just reading it made me want to dive into this book, which is exactly what I did. For 2 whole days I couldn’t be apart from my new “Jamie” and I think my husband got a bit worried when I took “Jamie” to bed one night.

Too busy, too expensive and I don’t know how aren’t valid excuses when you have this book. And these are the excuses that people use when it comes to cooking. Jamie says everyone has time…it takes 30 minutes to get a take-away or watch something on TV, after-all!

And even though some of the recipes include ‘expensive’ ingredients like prawns or salmon, it will still be cheaper to make it yourself than to order/ buy it ready made. Plus, you know what went into it.

Jamie is going to teach you how to cook in a different way. You will only be in the kitchen for 30 minutes, but it will be a busy 30 minutes as all the meals have some multi-tasking involved. While this is boiling, you will be chopping and frying that. You get the idea.

Jamie also encourages you to take a few hours to sort out your kitchen. Ensure you have onlty the necessary and relevant equipment out in the open. None of your mom’s wedding gifts that you use once every 6 months. There is a detailed list in the book for you to check if you have the right stuff and this really does help. As Jamie says, if you don’t have a food processor it will just take you a bit longer to get to the finished product.

And now we get to the recipes. The book is compiled of “meal plans” as such and consists of a main dish, a few sides and sometimes a deliciously easy pud. From the simple Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca and Meatball sandwich to the incredibly Bloody Mary Mussels and the Thai Red Prawn Curry. Sides range from Sweet Carrot Smash, Quick Dauphinoise, Dan Dan Noodles and Jazzed Up Rice.  And the desserts.. Oh Jamie, how did you know the way to my heart is through Silky Chocolate Ganache, Smashed Cherries & Mascarpone and probably the best looking Banoffee Pie I’ve ever seen.

The photographs are beautiful and gives you a sense of what these recipes are all about. Tables full of scrumptious  food, all home-made, enjoyed by families, partners and friends. Looking at the photo’s, it’s hard to believe all of it can be made in 30 minutes.

I’ve always cooked with the principle that I don’t spend more than 30 minutes in the kitchen unless it’s really worth it, but Jamie has inspired me to revise my cooking style and I’m sure I’ll be spending even less time in the kitchen without compromising on the quality/flavour.

I decided to try the Thai Red Prawn Curry recipe, and I can tell you that if you made this for your guests, they will not believe that it took you 15 minutes to make (not including the cooking time for the rice). The flavours of Thailand are always intoxicating but when it takes you 15 minutes (even less actually) to throw together a fabulous meal, it makes it taste even better. (Just remember that Prawns have now reached Orange status on the SASSI list so be cautious when buying them.)

Thai Red Prawn Curry

This book is an absolute delight and a must-have if you have little / no-time to cook at night and you need some inspiration for dinner ideas. Why not treat your family to Chicken Skewers with Peanut sauce or Chicken Pie with Sweet Carrot Smash? I’m sure you will all enjoy that more than the regular Spag Bol or Mac ‘n Cheese.

I have quite a few of Jamie’s books but with this one, Jamie has outdone himself. He makes proper, home-made and wholesome food look as easy to achieve as heating a ready-made meal. I hope that this book will inspire you as much as it has me!

Buy Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals at Yuppiechef

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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 15 comments
  • Colleen

    Very nice! I’m enjoying the book. Totally different to my regular style of cookery book.

    • Ally_R

      Thanx Colleen. I also absolutely adored it. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day. I really really loved every single thing about it!

  • messy_chef

    cant wait till i get his new book and great review. One comment i have though is that dont you find he is very heavy handed with his use of olive oil in his shows and books? still love his food though 🙂

    • Ally_R

      Hi Matt. He is very heavy-handed but that doesn’t bother me. I also get like that at times hehehehe.

  • Jovana

    Ahahh! I hatez you! I keep on getting these Yuppychef ads on FB. And have been eying out Jamie’s new book… >..> As soon as I have some extra dough I’m going to splash on it.

    I have this vision of my new kitchen with a shelf of all of my cooking books.

    • Ally_R

      Jovana : I am a Yuppiechef freak! Just a pity I never have enough $$ to spend there. But one day, when I’m big! 🙂
      I have a few shelves in my kitchen for cookbooks but I am inheriting a old antique wooden cupboard from my dad and I would love to work that into my kitchen one day to store all my cookbooks! 🙂

  • Cornel

    I absolutely love Jamie xoxoxo He is my alltime favorite. You have def made me also want to go out right now and buy the book and start cooking!! Thanks for the great review!

  • Margaux

    This will be on my Christmas wishlist!
    Jamie you legend! Ally one of these days we will be buying your book!
    All the best! *****

    • Ally_R

      Margs : Thanx doll! 🙂

      Cornel: Great! I hope you get it! 🙂

  • Adele

    Ally this will definitely be on my wish list for Christmas. I love Jamie Oliver and this is a good review!! You make me want to cook more….

    • Ally_R

      Thanx Adele. It’s really a GREAT book!

  • Marisa

    Great review – I love anything that Jamie does, so this is definitely going to be added to my wishlist.

    • Ally_R

      Thanx Marisa! I am so lucky that I got this book because it would have DEFINITELY been on my Christmas wishlist!

  • Simone

    Thanks for the review…makes me want to get the book even more!

    PS This may be a dumb question….but what is the SASSI list? I’m assuming either the prawns are becoming scarce or they are dangerous to eat???lol

    • Ally_R

      Thanx Simone! 🙂

      The SASSI list is the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative. Prawns are indeed becoming more scarce. I’ve put a link in post to SASSI’s website.

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