I love this quote from Jamie Oliver’s introduction video on “Meals in Minutes.” He tells the viewer, just do as you’re told and you will have a brilliant dinner on the table in no time. His instructions have you jumping around the kitchen so that your timing is perfect and everything is beautifully plated and on the table making you feel like quite the proud peacock. It does keep you on your toes though and I know I need more practice at this way of cooking and being able to juggle several things at once. To help this cooking project I have just purchased Season 1 of his show, 30 Minute Meals. This first one I watch is on tap for tonight’s dinner….
Piri Piri Chicken
Quick Portuguese Tarts
I had watched the video on the plane on the way back from my glorious girl weekend in sunny Florida and I had the family watch the video again just as I was about to make dinner. The kid got very excited and decided she was going to help me and I was giddy. What’s great about having a nine year old help you cook with this “This is not a democracy” way of cooking is that is kind of how they think anyway. She read and reread parts of the recipe and was quite insistent about not letting me go off course.
The Chicken…. Oh! Amazing! First of all, how impressed will your friends be when you tell them that you are making exotic Piri Piri Chicken? This couldn’t be simpler. After adding the ingredients for the sauce (red onion, garlic, peppers, paprika, lemons, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and basil) into a food processor and giving it a quick spin, you pop it in the oven with chicken thighs and red peppers that you’ve just browned in a grill pan on top of the stove. So easy, delicious and like I said, totally impressive. I will be making this again and again. (To tone down the heat, substitute one or more mini red bell peppers.)
Dressed Potatoes… What sold me on doing this particular menu next were the amazing potatoes. I LOVE sweet potatoes, they are my favorite food and this recipe is amazing. Even though I am the only one in the house that usually eats sweet potatoes, everyone ate them in this dish and liked them so much I’ve already remade this recipe. And I got my sister to try it too! So, give it a go… Put two sweet potatoes and one regular white potato, cut lengthwise in a microwavable bowl, cut ends up. Cut a lemon in half and put it in the middle of the potatoes. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the microwave (yes, the microwave!) for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, take a baking stone or cutting board and chop up some cilantro and feta cheese in the middle. When the potatoes are done make sure they are cooked through, squeeze the hot lemon over top of them (use tongs so you don’t get burnt) and add them to the cilantro mixture on the chopping board. Mash and chop until you have a beautiful dish. Season to taste (because of the feta you won’t need a lot of salt) and take it to the table. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE THIS!! So, go on, buy some potatoes and give it a try.
Salad… Even Jamie buys bags of salads on busy nights! In the video he actually just opens the bag, drizzles in some olive oil, salt, pepper and juice from 1/2 a lemon and gives it a shake. Kid loved helping with this part and I was shocked that I had never thought of this before.
Tarts… Okay, I’m not going to kid myself. The technique for making these is really what got my darling daughter into the kitchen. She didn’t necessarily want to spend time with me, she wanted to help make these tarts! For this one, I was really glad that I had watched the TV episode. When you get to the caramel part of the recipe, Jamie warns, be sure to be extra careful and make sure kids are not around. But the part before the caramel is great for kids. Using store bought puff pastry, trim to an 8 inch square. Sprinkle over some cinnamon and (here comes the fun part), roll it into a jelly roll shape then cut it into 6 rounds. Put these into 6 cups of a muffin pan and using your thumbs squish it down and around to mold it into little cups. Cool, huh? While it is cooking in the oven, mix up the filling (heavy cream, vanilla extract, sugar, egg, a little orange zest). When the tart shells come out after about 8 minutes, take them out, spoon in the mixture and pop them back in while you make your caramel topping. These tasted yummy. My caramel topping didn’t turn out great, I think I put in too much fresh orange juice but I really want to try these again. It was so nice to have a little treat after dinner and the kid was super proud of her creations. She was an excellent helper and I think I’ve convinced her to help me again in the future.
For the full menu recipe, check out this link on the UK’s Daily Mail website…. (Note: rocket=arugula)
And if you want the full experience, check out the episode on iTunes
Epilogue: You may be wondering what happens after all of the menu items are made. With smoke coming out of my ears from concentrating so hard, as I carry platters to the table, I turn around to see that it looks like a tazmanian devil has just invaded my kitchen. Staring at the mess that awaits him, my dear, sweet dishwasher looks completely defeated. I think he is wondering if his wife is losing her mind. I think I better work on cleaning up as I go along.
Meals cooked: 2
Meals left: 48
Weeks left: 50