When it rains it pours- that’s how work’s been like since last week; assignments are piling up even as we speak. Given the busy days, the blog’s schedule went awry and will continue to be a bit erratic over the next few days. However, I will be posting two meals per week, though not as evenly spaced. Please to be bearing with me!
Before I launch in to the analysis of Jamies’s 30-minute meal #4, I would like to share my thoughts on the exercise in general.
1) These meals (the ones I have tried) ARE quick to make (even if I have not been able execute a meal it in 30 minutes, yet)
2) They score fairly high on taste
3) They involve a lot of fun experimentation (at least for a cooking novice like me) and have led me to prepare dishes that I never thought I would, definitely not in the then foreseeable future.
4) And a very important factor has been the cost. A meal for four costs approximately £10. Considering what it would cost eating the same stuff at a London eatery, this feat is not short of brilliant as far as I am concerned.
What is not working for me is the pressure of cooking everything within 30 minutes. The next week onward, I plan to ease this self-imposition and just enjoy the experience of cooking (at a more relaxed pace)!
Now on to the fourth meal I prepared.
Menu: Cheat’s pizza, three delish salads and vanilla cream with squashed cherries.
Salad#1: Even I, who is not a big fan of tomatoes, would be making this again! The tomatoes I used here were salad, plum and cherry tomatoes. The balsamic vinegar, garlic and basil dressing takes away the peculiar tomato taste that I totally dislike. I would give it a score of 3.75/5.
Salad #2&3: Rocket salad and mozzarella salad. I mixed two up to make one, since I couldn’t lay my hands on mozzarella balls and had to settle for the shredded variety.
Dessert: The dessert this time was so-so. I did enjoy the fresh cherries though.
Pizza: I never thought I would be baking one of these in my kitchen- and not even on a pre-cooked/baked pizza base! Yes, yes, I know it is not the authentic Italian recipe being a Cheat’s pizza and all that. But even then, this preparation is ANY DAY better than the ones you’d order from well-known pizza chains. If you don’t believe me, try making one yourself. Recipe link follows at the end of the post.
I must add that though I am singing paeans to this Italian import (even if it is not the real deal), the effort did almost go up in smoke, quite literally. Instead of sticking to Jamie’s recommendation of using chopped tomatoes from the can, I whizzed fresh ones along with some water. Only the “some” water become a tad too much. As a result the tomato sauce was runny and watery. To make matters worse I plonked half of it on to the pizza base. Understandably it took longer to cook and well, got burnt at the edges. Fortunately for me, the lack of the right sized cooking contraption* meant I had to divide the dough into two halves. The second time on, I drained the tomato sauce/paste of the excess water before spreading it onto the base.
Both versions were fine; but the second one was definitely better than the first one. Because of this near fiasco, the meal went on to take almost an hour to prepare.
And finally, here is the link to all the recipes!
Cost of a meal for 4: £10.90
Time taken: 60 minutes
* The recipe asks for an ovenproof pan. I didn’t have any, so I transferred the heated semi-done base from the normal pan on to a baking tray.