Jamie’s 30 Minute Meal – Puttanesca alla Ellie


Today I decided to try a Jamie Oliver 30 minute meal. I’ve read all the furore about it taking a couple of hours and was intrigued. When I planned the week’s meals I decided to try out a 30 minute meal.

I was majorly limited by hubby’s aversion to cheese and my aversion to ‘gross’ food like squid (childish I know, and I know that I would probably like it if I could get over the ick factor).

I picked a nice meal of spaghetti puttanesca with salad and garlic bread. It should have been followed by a chocolate ganache but I decided that I would skip the pudding, this is probably what led to me being able to cook the meal in just over 30 minutes. This was very good going as I have no knife skills (for instance I refuse to cut butternut squash after accidentally shoving a knife into my forearm a couple of years ago!) so if I can manage like that anyone can.

My only other tweak was that I didn’t use the food processor to grate radish and fennel, instead I grabbed a bag of leaves and used my hand whizzer to finely chop radish. I had some reservations about the recipe – there was LOT of oil being used but I gamely went ahead and did it the Jamie way – my liberal splashing of olive oil is probably less than his but I tried to get in the spirit!

When I served my colourful salad, brilliantly red and spicy spaghetti puttanesca and home-made garlic bread I was pleased with myself – it had been a fairly manic experience but quite good fun. My kitchen was covered in garlic skins and saucepans but I happily forgot that and dished up.

I then tasted it. Garlic bread was fairly tasteless as I had used 3 cloves of garlic (he said 3-4 so I erred on the side of caution) and the sauce overpowered it completely. The sauce was surprisingly nice – yes it was a bit fishier then a Lloyd Grossman sterile puttanesca but it had the tang and heat it needed and a lovely salty fish base like it should have. The salad was the perfect foil to this – it was light and refreshing to balance out the starchy mild garlic bread and intense sauce.

Hubby on the other hand.. well. He has come a long way since we started dating 11 years ago. Back then he wouldn’t touch naan bread, olives, cheese, fish, prawns, wine, real ale, anything spicy or that he hadn’t tried and loved before – getting him to agree to try a Nando’s took years of gentle persuasion. He now eats some fish, olives, keema naan bread, loves prawns, is a real ale affectionado and enjoys mild cheese when melted over something (like loaded potato skins). However his first mouthful was met with

“Urgh it’s fishy”
“Yes – it has anchovies in it.”
“I hate anchovies”
“You can’t taste them – anyway you love them in a Lloyd Grossman puttanesca or Worcestershire sauce – maybe it’s the tuna you’re tasting?”

Anyway – the end result was that he couldn’t eat it and was so mentally scarred by my callous use of tuna and anchovy in what he thought should be a tomato, olive and chilli sauce that he couldn’t even try the bread or salad and had to make toasted sandwiches for himself!

He will have his turn later this weekend or next week when he chooses a Jamie meal – I have a feeling that he’ll be going for extremely spicy food to push my boundaries a little!

Photo credits: Djayo ; Vanepan

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Filed under Daddy, Family, Mummy, Review

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