In our home we love the Food Network. We put it on in the background when we get home, and usually have a watch whilst cooking dinner.
We have our firm favourites - Jamie Oliver and Ina Garten - and we have our little jokes about their cooking styles and techniques - Ina uses an insane amount of butter and dill in almost all her recipes, not necessarily a bad thing, and Jamie throws food around all over the place from a great height, and is like an excitable puppy about food; though it is quite fun to watch and quite infectious!
The thing we like about Jamie Oliver is his love for easy to make, quick food for the whole family. Currently we're a little addicted to Jamie's 15 minute meals. I mean a meal for four in 15 minutes! Unbelievable right?!?
Well a week or so ago we decided to put him to the test - ok Dann di, I'm no chef, but I did take the photos!
We both loved the idea of Jamie's 15 minute Chilli Con Carne Meatballs so thought we'd try it.
Now - before I go through the recipe and how it went, there is a little disclaimer. Jamie doesn't count prep into the 15 minutes - i.e. boiling kettles, getting all the equipment and ingredients out... so have everything you're going to need, out and ready, before you start the timer. We timed that as taking about five minute to get all the surfaces ready and all the ingredients on chopping boards etc.
Right, on to the recipe.
I've linked the one we used but will also put it here so you have fast reference - unfortunately Jamie doesn't have the recipe on his website. We did coucous instead of rice. Just put it in a bowl with two mugs of boiling water and the other ingredients. Cover with a tea towel and let it work its magic.
For the couscous:
1 mug couscous
1 pinch of cinnamon
For the meatballs:
400g beef mince
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 small jar peppers
4 spring onions
Bunch of coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
700g passata (we used Spanish Chicken sauce instead)
1 tin kidney beans
1 pinch cumin seeds (we used Cumin powder instead)
So how did it go? Well it was a little stressful for Dann as it is a quick dish to make, and as we were timing it as a test the pressure was on. But he did amazingly well.
One thing to keep in mind, when you pre-heat the pan ready for the sauce, use a deep pan. We used a shallow cast iron one which really keeps it's heat - but also turned the sauce into a hot, bubbling mess! It tasted great - don't worry - but our kitchen was very quickly covered in bright orange splashes! So we switched pans to slow the cooking just a tiny bit and save some of the mess!
Time: 25 minutes
Ok so Dann couldn't do it in the 15 minutes that Jamie can. Possible that the pan swap added a few precious minutes! Perhaps smaller meatballs would have meant they cooked a little faster so saving some time. But overall we are still pretty impressed with that cooking time. All in 30 minutes. And the food?!?!
Well it was lush. It had just the right amount of heat and spice, and was different enough from a traditional chilli con carne that you don't feel cheated. And the couscous - well that was beautiful. We both were a little nervous on how it would turn out, but it cooked perfectly in the water and tasted fab with the sauce.
Would we cook it again?
Hell yes. In fact we are considering doing it for when we have guests next as it was so good!
Would we cook another Jamie's 15 minute meal?
Oh yes. We are definitely going to try some more of his meals, and see how well they stand up to the real life test!
Have you tried a Jamie's 15 minute meal? Let me know in the comments below!