“Piri Piri chicken, dressed potatoes, rocket salad, quick Portuguese tarts” from “Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals”

Prep time: 15 minutes.

Time taken: 48 minutes, with help.

Cleaning up time: Can’t face it yet.

Anna: Oh god, this was awful. Awful, awful, awful.  I hate it. Everything about it.

Peter: Does the 30 minutes he allows include building an extension and acquiring a 4th work surface in the kitchen?

Anna: That’s it.  He says get all the ingredients and equipment ready. That takes 5 minutes of reading the damn recipe even to work out what equipment you need. Then you get everything ‘ready’ and there’s no room to cook.

Peter: I can see why he’s done the instructions in chronological order, however trying to remember them while you’re actually cooking is remarkably difficult.

Anna: I just don’t get it. Really, I can work out what order to cook things in myself. This way, because it clearly WASN’T going to take 30 minutes,  I was sure I was burning the chicken while I was faffing around with that extra unwanted course of Portuguese tarts. I kept asking you what the next step was with the chicken and you kept saying that I had to make the tart filling first. Gah!

Peter: If you work out the amount of time the tarts need cooking and the chicken needs cooking after the tarts come out of the oven, it’s over 30 minutes anyway.  If he just said it was an hour it would be ok.

Anna: Honestly, you were reading the recipe out loud to me as I cooked, you were handing me ingredients, keeping an eye on the chicken, moving stuff out of the way…. there’s no way I could have done that one my own without taking my own life in the process.  I hate it!

Peter: But it tasted quite nice. The Piri Piri sauce was nice and pokey. The mash was very colourful with the sweet potatoes and feta and chillis.

Anna: Was it supposed to be a mash though? He called it ‘dressed potatoes’ whatever that means. I made the executive decision to make it into a mash. It felt like there were unecessary steps if you ask me. I agree, the sauce was nice. I’d do the whole lot in the oven with chicken boobs, forget the griddle stage. And the mash was good, I’d probably do it again.  The tarts were a bit of a disaster though.

Peter: They tasted better than they looked.

Anna: The pastry wasn’t cooked properly on the bottom, and the custard curdled when I added the caramel, which wasn’t really a caramel. We just didn’t need them. Honestly, that’s my other issue with this book. The way it’s written makes it cumbersome to take out courses that you might not want on a normal day.  It’s all or nothing.

Peter: You probably didn’t need the stress for this meal, not after flying back from Toronto overnight.  It was a nice meal in itself but the idea of doing it in 30 minutes is a fantasy.

Anna: I need a week off before I can face cooking another of these recipes.

“Piri Piri chicken, dressed potatoes, rocket salad, quick Portuguese tarts” from “Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals”