My pantry

30 Minutes my arse, Jamie Oliver!

July 19, 2013

I love Jamie Oliver. He’s a bit of a dude. He’s the only person in the Universe that can say ‘pukka’ and not sound like a wanker.

He’s done amazing things for food within the UK school system, and indeed made a wonderful empire by cooking simple, wholesome food and being a bit of a boy-next-door, spunk rat at the same time.

I have a small bone to pick with him though.

He tells little white lies.

Alongside many gastronomical adventures, Jamie has a cool series and book called ’30 Minute Meals’. The name is not cryptic, and suggests that in the space of a Seinfeld episode you can have a two or three course meal done and on the table.

I’ve heard so many people saying ’30 Minute Meals’ isn’t true and Jamie pulling our legs. He doesn’t appear to be working at super human speeds in his TV shows, though he does have the beauty of editing to help cut out the bits where he’s flapping around, burning something, dropping something, forgetting something or tripping over one of his 4 lovely, jubbly children.

Which I’m certain he does.

I’m kitchen savvy. I’m fast and can multi-task. I’ve got this, I thought. I’ll show those nay sayers that my Jamie is not full of it. I thought I’d do a little experiment. Can you guess what it is?

Drum roll, please……. dancing bears, dancing bears, and…….

The 30 Minute Meal Experiment.

This post is not about gorgeous food imagery. I did not have time to take lots of shots on different angles with perfect light. This was about speed cooking. Like speed dating but with a happier ending.

I was going to bust out Jamie Oliver’s Peri Peri Chicken with Dressed Potatoes and Rocket Salad followed by easy Portuguese Tarts.

If you’re bored read some of the comments on this link. Apparently, many Portuguese take their tarts and bird very seriously and don’t take kindly to adaption. I have a message for them –

Lighten up, chumps. It’s only dinner.

I’m not really much of a recipe book girl. I have a few great ones, but I tend to look to them for inspiration, rather than actual recipes. I simply don’t think to look at them most of the time, but this experiment made me realise that Jamie has some great time saving techniques that would work in any busy household.

For instance, he nuked his dressed potatoes. I would never normally do that, but for the sake of this experiment I followed to the letter. Not a simple task for a renegade kitchen cowboy.

In reality, where people lose time is reading the recipe and not being properly prepped. He clearly states to have everything at hand, on the counter and ready.

Exhibit A)

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

I did not have utensils out, but they’re all reachable.

Another place people lose time is reading the recipe. It slows you down. When you don’t need to refer to anything you can be way more ‘wham, bam, pass the Piri Piri chicken’, so I familiarised myself with it enough that I would need to refer only quickly. Something Masterchef ALWAYS suggests you do. It was Poh’s undoing in the end.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

Ready. Set. GO!!!

He reckons you can have your chicken cooking and get the next two steps done before you turn your bird, but… I turned my bird in between as I was starting to smell a touch of the burn factor. Didn’t effect things much, I was still going strong.

I couldn’t find creme fraiche in my suburban supermarket, so I took full-fat Greek yoghurt and laid it on a clean Chux wipe over a colander. This drains any excess water and leaves you with an extra thick yoghurt. You should do this overnight, but I only had about 5 hours.

My tarts were tarting, my chicken was spitting, my spuds were nuking…… I was looking good.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

They’re in there, trust me……

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

potatoes getting radiation therapy

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

my only griddle pan was a tad small, but I was sucking it up

Time check?

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

Sweet as….

I still needed to make the Piri Piri sauce and finish the bird off in the oven, fill my tarts and cook, make my orange caramelised orange topping for tarts and finish spuds.

Piece of cake…..

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

tart filling… not officially custard, but bloody yummy. Totes going to adapt this one for my own purposes.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

beginnings of Per Peri…. whizz, my pretty, whizz like the wind

I did love the way my Jamie does his herb chopping on the board, with the fetta, then chuck on the potatoes and just smash them together. Simple, fast and rustic.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

makes messy sexy

Or it should have been, my stinkin’ potatoes needed a precious extra 5 minutes in the microwave as they weren’t cooked after the prescribed 15 minutes of nuking. Jamie practically stole 5 minutes from my time, so next time I see the Jamie Oliver brand of silicone oven mitts I’ll stick them down my pants and leave the shop as pay back.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

highway robbery, Jamie!!!

I smashed my seasoned tatties together, wait for my tart topping to be ready and smother the orange caramel onto their pretty heads. Plate it all up and run like Forrest to get it all on the table……..

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

A large blob fell on the floor and I promptly stood on it, squishing it to smithereens….. but I couldn’t falter. I was so close.

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

without caramel….

Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

Looks as good as the book, if I do say so myself.


Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal experiment

It’s official, Jamie Oliver’s pants are on fire. Or I need a good editor.

PS The kitchen looked like a fucking bomb went off and my Ugg boot treaded sweet potato from one end of the kitchen to the other. It looked like Mister H had been cooking.

Do you find recipes take longer than promised?

Does yours look like the picture?

If you liked this post like my Facebook page right now, or subscribe via email and be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.






Hooking this experiment up as part of Our Growing Edge July edition.

Head on over to the ever gorgeous Veggie Mama blog to see who else is pushing their edge this month.


Hooking up with the FYBF gang at With Some Grace. Any bloggers keen to come along for the next DP Bloggers Drinks on the 27th July at the Argyle in the Rocks, be sure to RSVP here.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Cooker and a Looker July 19, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Looks just as good as the book Mrs H. Bearhands has been at me to try some of the meals we see Jamie whipping up on TV. Suspect I’d best start with a dirty floor and sweep afterwards!
    PS. Now I want tarts for breakfast dag nammit!

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      I love dag nammit, you goof!! Easy stuff, Good Lookin’, you’d be all over it. Just new flavours and ideas I’ve not thought of. I reckon ol’ Jamie is a bit of a champion. Fo’ shizz.

  • Reply Psych Babbler July 19, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Oh wow…that looks so delicious!!! I’m drooling and it’s only 8 a.m.! I have found some good quick recipe books that in fact stick to the time. But my outcomes never ever ever look like the pictures. They generally taste good though. I still can’t get over how amazing yours looks!!! 😀

  • Reply tric July 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

    I laughed out loud when I read your title. My friend bought this book for her husband. I rang her shortly after and she said “oh X is making Jamies 30 min dinner. It’s only taken 2 hrs so far!”.

    • Reply Jeff Steller July 19, 2013 at 9:17 am

      Jamie gave us a great cooking series, wonderful cookbooks and some great ideas for new dishes (and lots of discussions with our family & friends about what we’ve cooked from his book).
      I think you just have to give the “30 Minute” tag a wide birth. Why bother giving yourself a heart attack with the stop watch. We’re not kitchen maestros and don’t have the benefit of video editing…. so ditch the clock and enjoy his yummy, never fail recipes. I’ve certainly had a few crackers and generally mix menus from different pages (which takes even longer to extract the recipes from his “threaded” recipe format). All good though, lovely meals.
      Pity he didn’t call it Jamie’s 60 Minute Meals……

      So suck it up Mrs H and reach for Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, pour a glass of wine and marvel at how simple these recipes are and how could I be so stupid to not think of these time saving tips. 🙂

      • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm

        I love him….. and I forgot to say that chicken was delis! I threw in some extra legs after and we all ate it two days in a row.

        Tarts didn’t make it to the second day though xxx

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      I’ve heard the same. I’ve also decontsructed the menus and made only one bit before… this was a true challenge! I needed a wine to relax afterwards!

  • Reply Lynda @ all about mama July 19, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Loved this post…the title grabbed my attention as only a few weeks ago I borrowed his DVD series, ’15 minute meals’ from the library and when I was watching them and every 5 minutes I was yelling out to my husband, ‘come check this out, he seriously thinks you can cook this in 15 minutes…get real Jamie Oliver!!! Not going to happen in 15 minutes for me Jamie Oliver, no way! Anyway, still love him 🙂

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 19, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Yeah, it doesn’t take away from the fact that his flavours are banging, his ideas are simple yet clever, and he’s someone you’d love to share a pint with!

  • Reply [email protected] (@Sp3llB1nd3r) July 19, 2013 at 9:20 am

    So glad I use times on recipes as a guide…
    Put oil in pan, add diced onion and garlic, race out to the lounge to referee the boys…find solution, head back for step two… *sigh*
    I’ve yet to ever see a recipe written like that. 😉 x

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      So true!! I did see one once of a woman making cheese, and she wrote it just like that. Her milk boiled over and her cheese was ugly, ugly cheese!!

  • Reply Bunny Eats Design July 19, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Your food looks wonderful. When I take photos, I take a gazillion photos. I couldn’t do it in an hour.

    I love Jamie too but what’s pukka? All I can think of is PUC and for Pants Up Crack.

    I just have this image of you with Jaimie’s mitts down the front of your pants…oh that didn’t sound right…

    I never really look at the time unless we have an appointment to keep. In that case I usually race through the kitchen and we’re out the door in plenty of time.

    I like the sound of quick meals but in reality it doesn’t always happen. Lucky I set myself with sweet tunes and zone out. I don’t mind spending an hour cooking if I’m having a good time.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      I’ve not heard PUC!!! It’s a word south London people use for cool. Fuckin’ pukka, means awesome.

      It was a bit of a race, G. I needed a wine afterwards 😉

  • Reply Kelly M Hibbert July 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

    My kitchen looks like that every night my husband cooks. I wonder what Jamie’s kitchen really looks like when he’s off camera.

  • Reply [email protected] of Toast July 19, 2013 at 11:47 am

    The food looked great! I have similar issues with Curtis Stone and his $10 dinners – I have yet been able to do one of those without it costing more than ten bucks, I have come to the conclusion that these celeb chefs are full of shit!

  • Reply Roar Sweetly July 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    LOL love this post! I have his 15 minute meals cook book and I have issues with the way it’s worded…in paragraph format rather than dot-points. Makes it so hard to read and hence longer to cook.

  • Reply Julie @ Off to the Park July 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I was LMFAO reading this post! I love Jamie, I haven’t bought his 30 or 15 min meal books but do love watching his shows and thinking “Awww that looks good!”, then can’t be bothered cooking it! One day I want to try his Banoffee pie, mmm..

    Popping by via FYBF linky 🙂

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Jamie is the bomb. He’s cool, he’s fun to watch and he has great ideas…..and that Banoffee looks bangin’!!

  • Reply maxabella July 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I was just thinking this last night whilst chopping and chopping vegetables for a veggie soup. I thought, “man, if I could chop like Jamie Oliver this would be done in minutes”… and suddenly I was onto him. It should be “30 minute meals if you can kitchen-prep like a professional chef”. x

    • Reply maxabella July 19, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      PS – Looks even better than the book if you ask me!!

  • Reply Author Bek Mugridge (@bekmugridge) July 19, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    This is one of the best blogs I have read in ages!
    Gee I laughed and I enjoyed reading it very much, your end result is absolutely gorgeous too btw!! I’m sure Jamie would love it too! XX

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      au contraire, Jamie did not love it….

      I posted it on his Facebook page and he removed it…. or his peeps did.

      I thought he may get a giggle.


  • Reply [email protected] July 19, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I expect one of these step-by-step-with-photos recipes weekly now, Mrs. H, yours definitely looks like the real deal! And yes, I think Jamie is a bit of a firey pants 🙂

  • Reply Toni @ Finding Myself Young July 19, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Your food looks amazing! I love watching his 30 minute meals on tv, but it does seem it doesn’t include most of the prep time. He seems to have a lot of things pre cut or done beforehand. I note the oven is always pre-heated, kettle boiled and pans hot which all takes time in the real world.

  • Reply Robomumrobomum July 19, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Love! This post had me from its title. Myth busted!

  • Reply blowingoffsteamandmore July 20, 2013 at 3:30 am

    I totally agree that these things can only be done in 30 minutes if you are a professional chef! Rachael Ray has everything chopped, washed, prepped in the fridge. I need to hire little gnomes to do all of my prep work during the afternoon while I play with the kids. Wait.. actually I want the gnomes to play with the kids while I stare at the computer, then we can just order food.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys July 20, 2013 at 7:12 am

      House gnomes. You’re onto something!!

      Sent from my iPhone

      On 20/07/2013, at 3:30 AM, Keeping Up With The Holsbys

  • Reply Starting Over July 20, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Reblogged this on Starting over as Ms and commented:
    I though you might enjoy this for little chuckle. It was posted on a blog called ‘Keeping Up With the Holsbys’.


  • Reply stephanie jefferson (@stephsjoy) July 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    30minutes or not it looks like you whipped up an awesome meal. Jamie’s key advantage aside form being a professional chef – is that he knows the recipe whilst , we mere mortals have to reread the recipe multiple times to get it cooked.

  • Reply Julie July 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Justin tried the 15min meal option. Now he is a messy cook at the best of times. Took him about 30mins to cook….. then me two and half hours to clean up and put away….

  • Reply mummyflyingsolo July 20, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    That was brilliant! So we should all buy the 15min meal books and plan to do those in half an hour then? 😉

  • Reply Claireyhewitt July 21, 2013 at 10:34 am

    If I can get any meal on the table in one hour I am impressed. Recipe books just don’t allow the time for me to actually find the ingredients in my pantry, fridge, realise I don’t have them, whip to the shop on the corner, get started, assist a child, take a phone call etc!

  • Reply NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad) July 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I love Jamie Oliver methods, and how he helped the English become more healthier but to be honest I haven’t even been game enough to try any of his recipes….so you did really well. The meal looks delicious, even if the kitchen was like a battle zone – in our house if a person cooks then someone else has to clean 🙂

  • Reply Have a laugh on me July 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Maybe he’s on go go juice or something! He does talk very fast – and I LOVE his vocab. What a legend you are for trying this 🙂

  • Reply Some epic fails and Pea and Ham Soup | Keeping Up With The Holsbys December 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    […] the Jamie Oliver 30 Minute Meal experiment? The food was delicious but holy shimoly the kitchen looked like a bomb hit […]

  • Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: