56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
This is a decent book with a fairly wide variety of recipes. Most recipes have photographs accompanying them, which are of a pretty good standard. The idea as stated on the cover is "really exciting recipes in 20 minutes" which necessarily means that there's nothing too complicated. I think the proportion of fish/seafood dishes is too high and there is not enough originality or recipes a little different that haven't been seen elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, there are some reasonable ideas and the recipes are (from the ones I've tried) possible to prepare in 20 minutes. However the starters and mains are mostly things I've already seen elsewhere in other books or are very simple. However the puddings are varied with some unusual and good ideas which work well. They are certainly the highlight of the book and make it possibly worth buying, depending how much you like puddings of course! Otherwise I wouldn't really be rushing out to buy this book as it's not outstanding.
The contents page looks like this:
Fast starters 10
Fast mains 70
Fast puddings 154
The full list of recipes:
Asparagus with sweet soy & sesame
Green pea & watercress soup
Deep-fried soft-boiled egg with crispy bacon salad
Endive, charred pear, pecorino & walnut salad
Hampshire mozzarella with red cabbage & Parma ham
Baked goat's cheese with red onion jam
Hot-and-sour soup with chilli & shiitake mushrooms
Summer vegetable vodka tempura with aïoli
Smoked salmon mousses with melba toast
Crab & sweetcorn spring rolls with sweet chilli dipping sauce
Coriander crab cakes with chilli jam
Avocado & crab with citrus salad & dill crème fraîche
Crayfish cocktail with spicy mayonnaise
Deep-fried squid with ponzu
Pan-fried scallops with black pudding & ginger apple purée
Scallops with caper berries & sage
Sautéed prawns with stem ginger & soy
Ten-minute fish soup
Baked hens' eggs with smoked salmon & chives
Creamy scrambled eggs with smoked salmon & buttered crumpets
Smoked salmon & crème fraîche tart
Pan-roasted chilli salmon with cucumber ribbons
Sushi salmon with sizzling sesame oil & soy
Steamed salmon dumplings with soy
Pan-roasted potatoes with anchovy & tomato
Crispy bacon & pecan salad with Parmesan crisps
Teriyaki skewers with spring onion
Devilled chicken livers on toast
Tuscan bean stew with basil & pine nuts
Potato rosti with fried egg & crème fraîche
Singapore chilli crab
Linguine with mussels & courgettes
Crab & sweetcorn risotto
Teriyaki squid with beansprout & red onion salad
Pan-fried brill with sauce Albert
Cod with sauce Grenoble
Smoked haddock & herb fish cakes with quick hollandaise
Smoked haddock omelette
Plaice with spiced shrimp butter & lemon flowers
Pan-fried sea bass with white raisins & baby spinach
Sea bass in a paper bag with herbs & lemon
Salmon with sorrel cream sauce
Grilled sardines with bacon & tomato chutney
Smoked eel with clams, new potatoes & butter sauce
Trout with green beans, almonds & brown butter
Deep-fried skate with paprika aïoli
Turbot with charred leeks & red wine vinegar tartare dressing
Tuna Niçoise salad
Seared tuna with coconut chilli chutney & cabbage salad
Blackened tuna with spiced apricot glaze
Ginger & mustard glazed tuna with red cabbage slaw
Blow-torched mackerel with beetroot & blinis
Chicken & prawn Pad Thai
Pan-fried chicken with lemon & fennel salad
Chicken with coriander yoghurt chutney
Chicken with soy & shaved fennel
Chinese lemon chicken
Thai chicken & cashew stir-fry with charred limes
Spicy chicken with orange & green bean salad
Thai green chicken curry
Steak with peppercorn sauce
Steak frites with Béarnaise
Chinese chilli beef
Warm Thai beef salad with chilli, lime & palm sugar
Wet polenta with calves' liver & sage
Pan-fried lamb with chermoula & herb couscous
Grilled lamb chops with ratatouille
Grilled pork chop with apple scrumpy mash & black pudding
Pan-fried chorizo & merguez couscous
BBQ beans with chorizo & wilted spring greens
Pork with Armagnac & prunes
Sesame-roasted duck with pak choi & noodles
Duck with umeboshi & lotus root
Three-star chocolate puddings
Baked chocolate & raspberry mousse
Chocolate mousse with maple syrup & bananas
Baked Alaska with hot chocolate sauce
Ice box cake
Ice cream with whisky toffee sauce & toasted marshmallows
Apple & marzipan tart
Quick sticky toffee puddings
Baked banana & filo parcels with pishachios
Five-minute banoffee cheesecakes
Blueberry, apple & mint crumble with cornflake crumb
Black cherry clafoutis
Instant strawberry ice cream
Cranachan with raspberries & crème de cassis
Strawberries with vodka sabayon
Strawberries, shortbread & cream
Instant passion fruit soufflé
Lemon posset with limoncello
Spiced charred pineapple with ice cream
Warm chocolate & marshmallow cookies
Waffles with bacon & maple syrup
Blackberry & maple syrup pancakes
Passion fruit whoopie cakes
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
James Martin has provided us with another set of useful recipes. We like most of them, some are variations on old favourites we have cooked many times over the years (such as the Pork with Armagnac and Prunes, and also the Sesame Roasted Duck), and others are new to us, especially amongst the seafood and puddings. The best feature is that here they are all presented as "Fast Cooking" - something he suggests can be done in 20 minutes.
Quite a few of the recipes can be done this quickly, but several I have looked at will be closer to double that target when the preparation time is also counted in, and even that assumes you are well practised at that particular set of techniques. But this is reasonable, and all the new recipes we have tried over the last week did work as hoped.
His expectations of what should be in our stock cupboards might take some getting used to, and it will be necessary to plan ahead for many of the recipes to make certain of having all the ingredients to hand. Also, a lot of the recipes are based on hot-pan-roasting or frying; fortunately, our main non-stick lidded frying-pan has a removable handle so also allowing for cooking under the grill or in the oven.
A minor criticism I have is that he is often profligate with pans and dishes; for example the Ten Minute Fish Soup uses two large pots, a large frying pan and a liquidiser, as well as the four serving bowls. Think of the time also required for washing up, which here would be a significant part of the meal experience and one I would prefer to minimise by using the least amount of hardware possible while cooking. In his excellent introduction he even admits to his team getting fed up with all the washing. I don't have the luxury of a team to do it for me; I cook, I wash up.
BUT the real annoyance, and one that made me reluctantly dock the book a star, is because the publishers have not done us any favours by the presentation. They have followed the idiotic gee-whizz fashion of making it look pretty without thought for the poor people who might want to actually use the book to cook from. Too much of the text is small, white and on pale coloured pages. I could understand them employing a small font if there was a lot crammed in to a page, but no, the text usually only occupies about a third of the otherwise unused page area and the font could easily be much bigger and more readable. And there is just no excuse for the poor contrast between white text and pale background fighting the legibility. I cite Delia's early Complete Cookery Course books as models of readability and utility; they score 100% for presentation, and I rate this one at only about 25%.
On balance, despite the criminal lack of legibility, this is an excellent book with numerous interesting short-cuts to producing a quick meal, usually aimed to serve four. There is a preponderance of fish, poultry, egg and seasonable vegetable dishes, mainly because they are quick to cook, but this is not a bad thing when meat is becoming so expensive.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This is a book which is really limited in its remit. After all there is a limit to what you can accomplish in twenty minutes. However, given that restriction this is not a bad effort. It is nicely presented and adopts the format of the recipe on one page and a picture of the final dish on the facing page. This is a good quality print job and it feels like a quality book.
As to the recipes themselves there is quite a reasonable selection. There are a lot of fish recipes which pleased me although there are is a selection of courses and the book is divided into Fast Starters, Fast Mains and Fast Puddings. The list of ingredients for each recipe is clearly stated and generally is quite easily sourced - there would be nothing more frustrating than quick recipes that took hours to source the ingredients. The methodology is clearly stated and not too difficult for most dishes as one might expect for fast recipes.
There was certainly enough here that I would feel inclined to confidently have a go at and some of the recipes were quite appealing such as the Chicken and Prawn Pad Thai and the Sesame Roasted Duck, but generally the emphasis here is on practical rather than inspirational cookery. Not a bad book to have in your collection, but probably not one where you are going to source that special meal when you need it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Receiving this book gave me a happy and rewarding surprise. I wasn't anticipating too much of it, I suppose; so when I got going reading it through, I felt unexpectedly inspired, brightened and re- energised, all as to the daily `turning out' of meals.
Three Cheers for James Martin from the fishing industry too. He may be a farmer's son but he takes enormous trouble to introduce every possible commercial fish to the plate, emphasising of course, that fish is the ultimate fast food. In fact he cooks some mackerel for a mere minute and a half with a (kitchen) blowtorch!
Frequent use of the deep fat fryer is made, and ours went the way of the recycling years ago for fear of fires, grease and obesity so I would have to check out the modern versions to make many of the `quickly put together' recipes he has come up with. He even deep fries eggs, which look a lot prettier than they sound.
Richly retro recipes from the 70's make a comeback; Beef Stroganoff, Baked Alaska. Cheffy tips educate, the bright pics give you the finished meal to aspire to. Some of the pages are without photos, I am not quite sure why, maybe the dishes are so easy you wouldn't need an illustration but I missed them.
I was half way through the starters, mains before I came across the meats; it was all veg, eggs and fish. Glorious presentations of Tuscan bean stew, smoked haddock and herb fish cakes (with bought mash), grilled pork chop with apple scrumpy mash, Tuna Nicoise salad, mmmm... And the puddings, well they are all heavenly and so, so simple. Melting Chocolate puds, Instant Strawberry ice cream, Lemon Posset with Limincello, Banoffee Sundae. James Martin sticks to his remit - 20 mins from start to spoon.
Many families are of the `if it's' leaning - `If It's In the Kitchen It's on The Table' so some more forward planning will pay off. Just sitting down for a while and planning the week's menus could truly work. In the fridge you will probably need ready made puff pastry, buttermilk, cream, crème fraiche to get you going together with jars/tins dulce de leche, soy sauce, sweet chilli dipping sauce, all the interesting condiments that bring these dishes to life.
I am absolutely delighted to now have this to hand. It deserves its place on the already crowded kitchen bookshelf, and definitely on the `Home Economics' syllabus. It comes with a bookmark postcard, but one is not enough, there are at least twenty slips of paper now proudly sticking out of my copy!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I have been a fan of Jamie's 15-Minute Meals and Jamie's 30-Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast because I would much rather cook meals with fresh ingredients than use ready meals or take aways and we all know how ravenous we can be when we get in late from work. So, it was the Fast Cooking title that first attracted me to this book, as well as liking James Martin's James Martin - Desserts which is very well explained.
I find this book a bit of a mix - it covers fast starters, mains and desserts and some of the food is dinner party level whilst some is clearly for mid week suppers. I had no problem with a number of the ingredients since I cook often and have an array of herbs and spices -however I don't have a deep flyer or a blow torch so that's a few recipes I can't tackle.
I like fish, but the book is heavily skewed towards fish and seafood, so be aware of that if you are not as keen as me. Examples of quick fish suppers without going to the chip shop are:
Smoked Haddock & herb fishcakes with a quick hollandaise
Coriander Crab cakes
Trout with green beans
all delicious and all of which I've tried except for the mackerel, but if a blow torch shows up I'll be trying that too.
I cook Thai chicken stir frys frequently, but picked up some tips here such as charring limes on a griddle for some flavour. I also liked the hot noodle soup with chilli and mushrooms and roast duck with cumin-spiced lentils.
Puddings are a strength here as well, but so far I have only tried the strawberries with vodka sabayon.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
"FAST COOKING" is a new title by James Martin the popular chef and presenter of Saturday Kitchen and follows his previous edition "Slow Cooking". It is designed to bring exiting recipes to the home kitchen that take no longer than 20 minutes. The book is a quality product with three sections ...Fast Starters (with 31 items), Fast Mains (with 47 items) and Fast Puddings (with 28 items) and an index at the end. note - I found the book a little frustrating to use as there is no main index at the front for each section.
For each item there is the usual list of ingredients, simple 1 2 3 instructions to follow, some general tips about preparation, origin and some useful short cuts and a full page photograph to show what it is to look like.
James Martin makes the point that the items are designed around readily available ingredients that can be bought in your local supermarket. This is basically correct however using these recipes needs forward planning as they are unlikely to be in your cupboard (not all of them). So it might be quick and simple to follow but not one to dip into at random. Many people will plan their meals ahead especially if entertaining so this would not be a problem but clearly the implication is to be able to prepare something quick and easy without an extensive shopping trip.
The author freely admits that this is the type of cooking he utilizes himself rather than the fancier restaurant meals we see on TV and that each item was cooked at his home on basic equipment and photographed there. This accounts for the pictures looking more like your own results than being carefully presented prior to the picture being taken. I do not find fault with this although it is unusual.
Being fast cooking limits many items to products that indeed cook quickly so there are quite a few fish based items however these are varied and look quite exciting. The recipes are sourced from many of his trips abroad especially the US and Singapore plus home based presentations and some from visiting chefs on Saturday Kitchen.
The book is well written and presented with a basic simple style that comes from experience and knowing how to make things easy to follow and adaptable.
I like James Martin,his style and his sense of humour. Saturday Kitchen is one of the best cooking programmes on TV. Each week he produces amazing food but this book falls a little short of the implied brief - unless you add in the shopping time of which there is no mention - and then it's not so quick. On the plus side I am sure you will enjoy any of the recipes contained and as they are quick to prepare, the host/hostess will have a little more time with their guests.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I didn't really want to own this book for the recipes as such, instead wanting to see and try the promised shortcuts that James Martin promises in the blurb for his 20 minute recipes collection.
There are plenty of tips and ideas to be gleaned from this book. Some of the stuff is hardly pantry staple ingredients, but the vast majority of the recipes are quick and simple as promised. There is definitely a trend towards fish and Asian cookery in many of the chapters, as well as plenty of excellent illustrations to guide the reader. Some of them are definitely worth a bash as they take basic foodstuffs and quickly turn them into something that looks the part as well as being tasty. James Martin is all about simple, bright flavours here.
The vast majority are also going to take the advertised 20 minutes or less, unlike some of the dishes on a certain television offering promising 30 minute elaborate meals. I'm not a lover of fish so much of this book isn't applicable to me but the emphasis on shortcuts I do like, as I'm not one for fussy food. As fellow chef Marco Pierre White frequently says, it's all about good quality ingredients prepared expertly and letting your produce do the talking. By reducing many of the elements of a meal to simple and quick steps James focuses on the core ingredients on the plate and that's what I wanted to read about. No fussy molecular gastronomy, just cook it quickly and expertly and with minimum fuss. Worth having on your bookshelf.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
James Martin is a chef whom I have often seen on TV and of whom I have often, but not always, thought that I might like to prepare certain of his recipes. Unfortunately recipes given on TV are not always complete or fully detailed and, unless also provided on-line somewhere which few ever are, you have no chance to obtain those details. Some of those same recipes or similar are provided here.
There are some that I know I will never prepare or eat due to specific aversions or intolerances, there are also some that I had long wanted to prepare. Now I can.
Within is a mix of starters, main courses and desserts - just the three main sections - with a common feature that they can all be prepared in around 20 minutes. With such fast preparation and cooking, this should be a boon for the otherwise busy person who is unwilling to spend hours preparing a single dish. With about 100 recipes on its pages, not an excessive number likely to confuse, all of which are well illustrated there should be sufficient for most. None appear to be beyond the scope of a moderately experienced cook and no especially exotic ingredients are included or specialist equipment required.
An excellent addition to the kitchen library and not just one for James Martin's many fans.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This cookbook is okay, but I wasn't overly impressed by it. There was nothing that made me think, "that sounds amazing, must make it today!" - it reminded me of the kind of dishes I might make when needing to use up bits and pieces in my fridge (I know this contradicts other reviewers who've said the ingredients are not cupboard staples, and while I agree they aren't staples, neither are they wildly exotic. For the most part. Who would want a cookbook filled with cupboard staples anyway?)
Two mildly annoying things:
- occasionally he is very specific about an ingredient requirement, and doesn't explain why. For example, in one recipe he refers to a specific kind of mozzarella that is only sold by one UK farm. He tells you you can order this stuff online, but doesn't explain why you'd want to use this in preference to a high quality mozzarella from the supermarket (and, since the farm is local to him in the UK, how have people around the world been surviving without this particular mozzarella for millennia?)
- I'm not convinced by his timings. He'll say to "soft boil" an egg for 5 1/2 minutes - but if I boil an egg for 5 1/2 minutes, it will be hard-cooked, not soft. Does he live on a mountain? Does he take them straight from the coldest compartment in the fridge? If so, he should explain that - otherwise I don't know how he manages to get a runny yolk after 5 1/2 minutes of boiling. Similarly he refers to 'searing' meat for a few minutes on each side. That sounds more like cooking than "searing". I wonder how hot his pan gets, and if it's significantly less hot than mine?
Overall, would not recommend unless you are a particular fan of this chef.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I like James Martin's cook books, & love Saturday Kitchen. I have several of his books & looked forward to getting this. I am not disappointed. It contains over 100 recipes, not ALL 'really exciting' as it states on the cover, but more than enough that are exciting enough to make this an excellent book. It has three sections: Fast Starters, Fast Mains & Fast Puddings. I first cooked his BBQ Beans with Chorizo & Wilted Spring Greens. I happened to have all the ingredients needed, so away I went. I cooked the potatoes from scratch however, so it did take longer than twenty minutes....just! The end result was quite delicious, & it is a dish I will definitely prepare again. The Ginger & Mustard Glazed Tuna with Red Cabbage Slaw was equally satisfying, & I now make the slaw regularly to accompany many other dishes. Having found a pack of ten sardines for £2.50 in my local supermarket, I just had to purchase it to be able to cook the Grilled Sardines with Bacon & Tomato Chutney. Another success. There are a number of fish recipes that suits me well as I really enjoy preparing & eating fish, but there is a wide range of recipes including curries & salads, soups & pancakes. There are beautiful photographs to show many of the finished dishes, & all recipes are clearly laid out & simple to follow. This book will join the chosen few that line the windowsill in my kitchen: those that are used on a regular basis. This book will be perfect when I have little time to enjoy the whole process of cooking due to work commitments. A lovely book.