The Mockney Prat is at it again, this time with
the 30 minute suppers that will change your life, as it says on the front cover of my Sunday supplements this morning. Really, Jamie? These had better be some damn impressive suppers, then.
Alas, tis not to be.
GOT TIME TO HEAT A READY MEAL? THEN YOU'VE GOT TIME TO MAKE IT FROM SCRATCH, bellows Jamie inside the magazine (in all caps, no less). The level of reality disconnect here is infuriating. The total cooking time has no bearing whatsoever on the preparation time or on what I choose to do with my evening.
When I get home from work, tired, and stick a Tesco™
Finest® Chicken & Pasta Bake in the oven, I do not then stay in the kitchen and watch it slowly go brown for the next thirty minutes. I retire to my room and get on with my life for the time it takes to watch a single episode of classic Doctor Who. When that's finished, I go back into the kitchen and the food is done.
The fact that a ready meal takes thirty minutes to cook doesn't mean that I could have spent that thirty minutes shucking mussels or knocking up a rhubarb millefeuille. The point of a ready meal is that it's ready-made.
This kind of sensationalist press bullshit is incredibly frustrating, because there's a genuinely valid point to be made: that proper cooking doesn't have to be arduous or time-consuming, although it can be if you like. Jamie's attempts to express this concept boil down to repeated hysterical outbursts that, if you've ever removed all packaging including film lid, you must be working-class, and probably fat.
Fuck you right in the nose, Jamie, with my extensive collection of factory-second Sabatiers. There is a way to make good food while maintaining a busy lifestyle, and there's a way to explain this without having to be a cock.
The following is an example.
I infused rosé wine with rosemary and bay leaves as the basis for the sauce. Held it at 55° or so while I got on with making the pastry, chopping the carrots, and defrosting the mince. Browned the mince with an oxo cube, scooped the bay leaves and most of the rosemary out of the wine, and tipped it in.
The making of pie is a delicate matter. It isn't just one of your holiday games. First you have to brown the meat, because Maillard reactions are awesome. Then you stew everything together in some sauce so that the vegetables are edible (i.e. mushy and beef-flavoured). This is another one of those times when you can leave it in a pot on a low heat and go and watch Doctor Who. If Bonnie Langford has a speech that lasts for more than fifteen seconds or so, you might want to slip back through to the kitchen and give the pot a quick stir. Then you put the results into a pie crust and bake it so that it turns into pie. More Doctor Who. You can quite easily have got through a serial while still doing the cooking if you're so inclined.
(Readers may choose to substitute beef and carrots for some other ingredients of their choice. This is fine. They may even want to substitute Doctor Who for some other program to suit their preferences, but I can't help you there.)
Pre-baking the pastry case is for housewives. I've never seen the point.
Since history began, man has asked the eternal question: what the best pie? Tonight, we answer that question. It's this one.
The important issue here is that I did all of that once and then I had an entire pie. I made a batch of potatoes and microwaved some peas (~1min.) to go with it, and it lasted for four meals and two snacks. Real homecooked food that not even Jamie could complain about: the difference being that, for the next week, when I got in from work I had a meal ready. You might even call it a
And reheating everything in the microwave takes three and a half minutes on medium. I'd like to see Jamie suggest a quick
oozy mushroom risotto that he can slap together in that long.