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Jamie's 30-Minute Meals: Book review

Reviewed by's Steph Zajkowski

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Does Jamie Oliver ever sleep/rest/take a holiday?

This was the burning question as I perused the pages of his latest cookbook, Jamie's 30-Minute Meals

It's his latest in a long line of 'essential cooking bibles', designed for busy cooks, from competent to beginner.

The man's brain must be constantly whirring with new ways to invent the (foodie) wheel.

If he's not saving the world and its kids one school dinner at a time ( be sure to check out his latest series on TV ONE ), he's travelling the globe, writing about it, making TV programmes, popping out cookbooks left, right and centre and running his international restaurant chain.

It must be an exhausting life.

So, hats off to Jamie's 30-Minute Meals: The next must-have kitchen cookbook, it promises 'a revolutionary approach to cooking good food fast.'

Inside, Jamie brings you 50 complete meals that you can cook in the time it might normally take one.

The secret lies in being well-organised, working fast, using shortcuts and sneaky tricks to put food on the table in no time.

"You'll be amazed by what you're able to achieve," trumpets the publicity. Sounds too good to be true? 

Well, in some respects it is, because all the recipes rely on a goodly amount of pre-planning (i.e. shopping), ready-made sauces (including a few I don't think are available here), plus not all meal items actually involve cooking anything (e.g peaches 'n' custard (pg.240) involves buying some custard from the supermarket and opening a can of peaches to go with it. I didn't need Jamie's book to help me achieve that culinary gem.)

However, that's a small quibble - as, once again, Oliver has packed a cookbook full of achievable, delicious meals that your family and friends WILL want to eat.

The recipes run the full gamut from pasta to seafood, from beef to chicken etc. and many are vegetarian.

The lactose intolerant among you might want to shy away from Oliver's desserts, many of which are very dairy heavy. 

Are they achievable within 30 minutes though? I think with a little practice and fine-tuning, most are.

And you can skip a few steps if you don't always fancy the three courses most recipes cater for.

The book itself is classic Jamie Oliver - the photography is beautifully simple and you can almost smell the food wafting off the page.

There's not as much chat from Jamie as in his previous books but plenty of easy-to-read information makes the recipes simple to follow. 
For this busy cook, it's the thinking about and planning of the weekly meals which takes the most time.

Flip this cookbook open on the weekend and plan 4-5 healthy dinners for your coming week.

With 50 to choose from you can pick and choose according to taste and budget. Each complete meal comes with a shopping list, making it so simple.

Rating: 9/10

Title: Jamie's 30-Minute Meals
Publisher:  Penguin NZ
RRP: $65.00
Available: NOW!