Allison’s 27 Minute and 11 Second Meal

I enjoy a good challenge.  But a four course meal in 30 minutes?  Come on.  Whose brilliant idea was that?

Well Jamie’s.  And a brilliant idea it was indeed, because we all went out in droves and bought the book.  Shortly after its release in 2010, Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals was named the fastest-selling nonfiction book of all time.

But the book wasn’t without its fair share of critics, including many naysayers who felt the recipes couldn’t possibly be made in only 30 minutes.  Well in the words of Barney Stinson challenge accepted!

It took me awhile to decide which 30 minute meal to try.  The only trouble I have with this book is that you have to make the entire meal as Jamie has written it, because all the methodology is written in time sequence for the meal, not for each recipe separately.  So if you like the pasta dish and the dessert from one meal, but want to make the salad from another meal, it’ll get a bit difficult flipping pages back and forth during the cooking process.  And all that dillydallying TAKES TIME FOLKS!  When you’re making a 30 minute meal, you have no time to waste.

I finally settled on the steak sarnie (that’s a sandwich to us non cheeky-chappies) served with crispy new potatoes, cheesy mushrooms and a beetroot and feta salad.  I got my gear out, preheated the oven, dug out the food processor and away I went.  Pleasingly, I cooked all four dishes in 27 minutes and 11 seconds, and even managed to wash a couple of dishes during the process.  A delicious triumph!

Hope you have the same speedy and tasty experience as we did when we made this, and  hope you’ve enjoyed my week with Mr. Oliver!

Steak Sarnie, Crispy New Potatoes, Cheesy Mushrooms, Beetroot Salad

Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals (2010)


Serves 4

Steak Sarnie

  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 ciabatta loaf
  • A small handful of jarred peppers
  • A couple of sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Horseradish sauce, to serve
  • A large handful of prewashed rocket, to serve


  • 4 large flat Portobello mushrooms (approx 250g/ 9oz in total)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ fresh red chilli
  • 2 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ lemon
  • 70g (2½oz) mature Cheddar cheese


  • 500g (1lb 2oz) baby new potatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • ½ lemon


  • Olive oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper

Beetroot Salad

  • 1 x 250g pack of cooked vac-packed beetroots
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • ½ lemon
  • A bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 50g feta cheese
To start: Get all your ingredients and equipment ready. Put a griddle pan on a medium heat and a large frying pan on a high heat. Turn the grill to full whack. Fill and boil the kettle. Put the coarse grater attachment into the food processor.
Potatoes: Cut any large new potatoes in half, then add all of them to the large empty frying pan with a good pinch of salt. Quickly squash 6 unpeeled cloves of garlic with the heel of your hand, then add to the frying pan. Pour in enough boiling water to cover, then cook for 12 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
Mushrooms: Lay the mushrooms, stalk side up, on a chopping board. Trim the stalks and place the mushrooms stalk side up in a small earthenware dish that they fit into fairly snugly.
Crush ½ an unpeeled clove of garlic over each mushroom. Finely chop ½ a red chilli and a couple of parsley sprigs, and divide between the mushrooms. Grate over the zest of ½ a lemon, drizzle well with olive oil and season. Cut the Cheddar into four chunks and pop one on each mushroom.
Beetroot Salad: Grate the beetroot in the food processor. Remove the bowl from the processor, take out the grater attachment and pour in a couple of lugs of balsamic vinegar and a few lugs of extra virgin olive oil.
Squeeze in the juice of ½ a lemon. Finely chop a bunch of parsley and add most of it. Stir to dress, then tip into a nice serving bowl. Scatter over the rest of the parsley. Crumble over the feta. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and take to the table.
Mushrooms: Grill on the top shelf for 9 to 10 minutes, or until golden.
Steak Sarnie: Put the steaks on a board. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, pick and scatter over the thyme leaves, and drizzle with olive oil. Rub the flavours into the meat, then flip over and repeat on the other side.
Pound the steaks once or twice with your fists to flatten them a little, then put them into the screaming-hot griddle pan to cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side for medium rare, or longer if you prefer. This depends on the thickness of your steaks, of course, so use your instincts and cook them to your liking. Wash your hands.
Potatoes: Check they are cooked through, and drain in a colander. Return the pan to a high heat, add a good lug of olive oil and tip the potatoes and garlic back in. Use a potato masher to lightly burst the skins open (don’t mash them though).
Add a few sprigs of rosemary and a pinch of salt. Toss every couple of minutes until golden and crisp.
Steak Sarnie: Put the ciabatta loaf into the bottom of the oven. Finely chop the peppers on a large clean board. Move the steaks to the board and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
Finely chop a few parsley leaves, mixing them in with the peppers and all the steak juices. Scrape the pepper mix to one side of the board. Slice up the steaks at an angle.
Mushrooms: Remove the mushrooms from the oven and turn the grill off. Take the mushrooms straight to the table.
Steak Sarnie: Get the ciabatta out of the oven and slice it open. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Spread over the horseradish, then arrange the rocket leaves on one half. Lay the steak slices on top.
Mix and scrape the peppers and juices from the board and scatter over the meat, then fold together and take to the table.
Potatoes: Tip the potatoes on to a serving platter, and put ½ a lemon on the side for squeezing over. Take to the table.

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