Feeding the family continues to trouble me. The same old meals churned out week after week boring not only me to shop for and cook but the poor family to eat.
So imagine my delight when I stumbled across a new programme with chirpy Jamie Oliver taking me through menus in real time. I like Jamie Oliver. Yes, he did get a little bit over exposed in the early days but what he was doing was new and exciting and everyone wanted a piece of him. Having been brought up with the precision of Delia, Jamie, with his slugs here and his handfuls there, was like a breath of fresh air. I never really bought into his whole lifestyle thing. I live in Ilkley. We don't even have a decent deli let alone fresh food markets but simple food made with quality ingredients made sense to me.
Since then I have watched Jamie's career with interest. I admire his passion. He never seems to relax and opt for the easy path through life. He believes in real food strongly and he is prepared to put his head above the parapet and try to make a difference to the nation's eating habits even though there is nothing really in it for him personally.
So back to Thirty Minute Meals. I watched with interest as I cooked whatever mundane meal I had planned for that night. Jamie buzzed around his kitchen creating two or three dishes that all looked delicious. I can do that - I thought. So I hotfooted it to Smith's and bought a copy of the book ( at knock down pre Christmas price ) and spent a happy evening flicking through and choosing menus that I fancied and that there was an outside chance of the children eating.
Then I had a brain wave. Instead of spending all Sunday afternoon slaving over roast meat and all the trimmings, I could do a Thirty Minute Meal instead. Genius.
I went to the shops to buy the ingredients. Phew. All those herbs don't come cheap. Then I set to. The book gives the recipes in the order that you should cook them in order to create the meal in the time scale. The planner in me insists that I cook like that anyway but it was refreshing to have the thinking done for me. I followed the plan. The meal took me a little over thirty minutes but I felt obliged to substitute his pudding for something containing apples as we have them in abundance.
The results were delicious. The only problem was that I had forgotten that one child was eating out and two were rehearsing until after I had gone out to sing so we didn't get to eat it together. I haven't looked in the bin to see how much of my meal ended up there but I was happy.
So well done Jamie. You have managed to get me to try something new because you made it look achievable without too much effort on my part. May your ideas and enthusiasm continue to infect me for years to come.