Jamie's 30 minute madness

Watching Jamie repeats and not for the first time making up a new title; Jamies 30 Minute Meals….and 30 minutes washing up ? ….and 30 megawatts of electricity ? …and 30 assistants to deep clean the kitchen ?

I love J.O. books, I have 10 on my shelf and ate them for 7 or 8 years. What I loved the most was his one pot/tray/pan wondery, gems such as this wonderful tray baked cod with runner beans. I made this so often it became, as Americans say, my go-to-dish; Cod’n’beans.  I varied the ingredients, primarily the fish using any firm white; haddock, whiting, especially hake but also trout, and in season sea trout is particularly delicious. The beans were rotated; runner, French, broad, even various white (but only with the addition of Sicilian cherry tomatoes otherwise we are straying towards “cucina bianco”, the weird Italian “white cooking”); cannellini, butter, borlotti, flageolet (ok the last 2 aren’t white although flageolet are immature haricot)

Other J.O. classics abound;

Pancetta free are the lamb shanks, lovely wifes mother is enamoured and has has laminated copies of this recipe to for reference.

The recipe would benefit from a few slices of pancetta, (a pattern is developing) and I always use sliced pancetta instead of diced as it tends to be higher quality; longer cure, longer drying, often ready to eat and thinly sliced to melt in your mouth or into dishes more than the cubetti which can be like bacon flavoured chewing gum.

definitely pancetta free is the magnificent sirloin steak the best thing I’d ever eaten, more than once. In fact I’m going to make it this weekend as the market is on and the steak lady is in town.

J.O’s relaxed style was an absolute antidote to structure and formality which was prevalent at the time, I’m not criticising Delia but why doesn’t she ever taste anything she cooks, that’s just weird. 

The early recipes were foolproof, easy, one pan flavour packed tour-de-forces and I suppose the risk was that J.O. would become take 4 ingredients . Next came J.O. the Crusader; the peoples person, with foundations and lobbying and all manner of great deeds so easily forgotten by the fickle public in favour of chips through the school fence.

Recently it was J.O. the multi-tasker and 30 minute meals is a laugh; I made the Indian steaks et al in 25 but it was rather madcap, Benny Hill and not relaxing.  I think I will stick with 5 things in a pot/pan/dish; 4 ingredients and the ubiquitous sliced pancetta. I’ve noticed that most of my favourite Jamie Oliver recipes are loaded with pancetta, maybe that’s the ‘secret’ (but is it his or mine ??)