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4.4 out of 5 stars1,535
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 2010
When I first opened this book my heart sank. Where were the chapters? Starters, Pasta, Meat, etc etc. It seemed chaotic, and I didn't really expect much of it. Next day we had a power cut and ironicaly because I couldn't use my cooker, and had no meal to prepare. I sat down and really studied the book. By jove I got it! What Jamie has done is broken each full meal with all components into tasks and there lies the genius of it.

I have followed two full meals now, the Thai red curry and the meatball sandwich and I am flushed with sucess. They were very well received by the family I am delighted because they are very healthy but still super tasty and satisfying. Follow the instructions and Jamie will have you cooking like a chef in your own kitchen. Service!
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I don't think I would have bought this book if I hadn't seen the programmes. The book's layout has a one page photo of the finished meal, one of the work in progress and then, on one rather crowded page, the ingredients and the method - and because it's for the whole meal the method skips back and forth between dishes, so it all looks very busy. However, I watched the show and was inspired by Jamie - as others have said, 30 minutes might not be doable for those of us not quite so speedy but it's definitely doable in 45 to 50 minutes. So, under an hour and delicious...and no, that doesn't include the washing up (nor the full meal always) but I haven't suffered the wrecked kitchen effect as luckily I have a dishwasher.

Enthused by the gorgeous food and the simplicity of his serving style I've cooked the vegetarian rogan josh, the thai prawn curry with jasmine rice, the piri piri chicken and the jools pasta to date....Yes, it's no coincidence these were some of the first screened - they looked so good I was craving them. I can confirm that they are all delicious, although I haven't attempted all the sides or puddings.....I will have to buy a better food proceesor I think and a better chef's knife..oh and some more wooden boards!

Highly recommended

EDIT - an update to say that I'm still really enjoying the dishes in this book and loving the salads. As other reviewers have said you can get closer to the 30 minutes once you know a recipe. Love it.
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on 14 October 2010
There are no real chapters, the book is not a conventional cook book in that sense. This is what makes it so refreshing and useful. The recipe ideas are fantastic and the sort of recipes that you want to cook. I cannot wait to work my way through all of the chicken dishes. There are some great ideas in here, and the images are helpful and help to make the book more interesting.

I doubt I will be putting together full meals as I prefer not to eat desert after every meal but this is not a problem as the recipes are headed and clearly show where to look for each part of the meal.
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on 2 October 2010
Jamie Oliver should be stuck all over with praise stickers for his achievements in the advancement of the average British cook's repertoire. I am a Home Economist in my 50's, in my twenties I nearly wept with frustration when trying to teach at a large comprehensive school & instil good cooking & eating habits in future generations, an uphill struggle as witnessed by Jamie's programmes of the same. This book is easily an inspiring & different approach to cooking for anyone from teens to OAP's, it would be super to use when teaching cookery in a school. Beautifully photographed & laid out with step by step pictures, but importantly a recipe book which will be used. It is inspiring & makes you want to get into the kitchen & throw a delicious meal for family or friends together, as there are so many tempting recipes to choose from, there is something for everyone, it really is packed with ideas & menus. Even an old hand like me has been ooh-ing & aah-ing & drooling over the recipes.

Jamie, you deserve a medal for all that you have done for food & cooking in the UK & beyond. Well done, this is a marvellous book. It is an entirely new type of format & approach for a recipe book, it makes such sense to approach cooking a meal from this angle. Every menu has the method for cooking each of the courses intertwined, so you prep a part of one dish move on to another course then back again, in the end the whole meal is cooked & ready on time. This skill of timing & planning to have a meal ready is lacking from many people's cooking abilities, this book will therefore be such a help to very many aspiring cooks or even people returning home from work tired yet wanting to eat well.

Edited on 12/10/10 to add: having now viewed the first 2 programmes in Jamie's series which complement the book, I strongly feel this is ground breaking stuff. How Jamie comes up with so many refreshing new ideas, I do not know. His programmes are inspiring & just what the nation needs to get on with cooking great food which tastes fab, is good for you & gets the family back sharing their days chat over & super meal. This is a young man with a real talent.

Katy Thompson - Home Economist & Aga Cookery Demonstrator
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on 7 October 2010
Jamie's Ministry of Food totally revolutionised the way I cook. Simple meals, simple ingredients, great taste! 30MM however is a lot more confusing. We tried cooking a starter from one meal and a main from another. Trying to follow the broken up steps from each didn't make it easy although, as expected they tasted great!

The theory is great, but relies on you cooking the entire meal that's suggested. For those who will do this, it'll be great but I'd much prefer the dishes one at a time and work the timings out for myself.
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on 2 October 2010
Jamie's new book has 50 meals that can be cooked in 30 minutes - as the title suggests!
Main meals include pasta, risotto, chicken, curries, fish, steaks, pork, lamb. Each main meal includes a salad and vegetable dish and also a pudding and sometimes drinks as well.

Here's a few examples:
Trapani style rigatoni, griddled chicory salad, rocket and Parmesan salad, limoncello kinda trifle.
Tray baked chicken, squashed potatoes, creamed spinach, strawberry slushie
Tasty crusted cod, my mashy peas, tartare sauce, warm garden salad
pork chops and crispy crackling, crushed potatoes, minty cabbage, peaches and custard.

Some of the recipes seem quite expensive, although at the beginning to the book it states that they have been costed against the equivalent ready-meals or take-aways or eating out, although personally I think some of the recipes are a lot of food for a mid-week meal. However as ideas for feeding larger groups of people (some recipes are for 6 people) it has lots of good ideas and guides you through step by step to bring the whole thing together.

Another good point about the recipes is the inclusion of a salad and/or vegetables make them balanced and healthier, something a lot of celebrity chef books don't seem to include.

This book is very attractively set out, lots of step by step pictures and you can access further help from the jamie oliver website. You could use it to just cook individual recipes if you didn't want to follow the principle behind it.
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on 3 October 2010
I have nearly all of Jamie's book,some I like more than others. This one however is a real keeper. The book is set out in double page spreads. Each set of recipes has the menu and a colour photo showing how the *feast* should look when finished, followed by another double page spread one with the ingredients for each of the dishes followed by the method and order for creating the dishes and the other page with photos to help with techniques or to illustrate how it should look at different stages. The menus are very well balanced, plenty of meat loads of vegetables and bread plus many menus include a dessert, mainly with a helping of fruit too. I have looked through the menus, and really believe that they are great for families ( and couples) who want to eat well but also healthily, though you may have some scaling down to do with some recipes, or just invite your friends/ family around and make it an occasion, they'll love you for it.

Like another reviewer, at first sight I thought that the layout of the method to be complicated, however when reading the recipes, you can if you so wished just cook one of the dishes, skipping straight to the appropriate section for the dish you are creating as each section is not numbered but is titled by dish in red. I think I actually prefer this to many other books.Yet again the photography is beautiful, and there is less chat throughout the book, but a nice introduction at the front designed to help you cook quicker and get organised. Can I cook them in 30 mins, well I will be having a good try, but I'm notorious for serving my meals late so I doubt it. I will be reclaiming my dining table, and serving our meals in the suggested manner, and inviting my family round to help eat it. ps I couldnt wait for amazon and bought it in Sainsburys with my shopping for £8.99. will be reordering Jamie's Ministry of Food as it has been requisitioned by my son for uni. (that's another one I recommend)
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on 9 December 2010
I have tried a couple of the recipes which turned out very well but the format of the book is not as simple as it could be.

The book is set out so that it will show you how to create a starter, main and dessert all in 30 minutes but unlike other books where it will explain all the steps for the starter then the main for example this book jumps between them all so will tell you to fry the chicken then it will jump to preparing the sides and then to the dessert then back to the chicken.

This works very well if you making all the items but if you just want the starter or the dessert you will find yourself having to work out the various timings or what steps you have do to. I would have preferred to have all the steps for each course.
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This a splendid book with its concept of Cooking As Engineering; instead of the usual messing around the book cracks on with its cooking paying particular attention to timing and to advance planning. Like most cooking by men it uses more pans than the same meal cooked by a woman and you need to get the sequencing right. I must have cooked a dozen plus different meals from the book, all have been good, most have been memorable.

However, I can see from where some of my less starry-reviewing colleagues are coming. Firstly, the book's text is inexact in timings and you will need to use your instincts; watching the TV series was a massive help. Secondly, although I can cook some of these in 30 minutes this is certainly not a relaxed process and those who, after work, want to just cook rather than engage in full-contact cheffing are going to be exhausted. Get your Thirty Minute Head on, or drop and give me twenty. Thirdly, it is a book for those who adapt rather than follow. I would long ago have gone to the All Father if I ate that much chilli.

So I heartily recommend the book, but do take warning. And don't forget to whack the kettle on.
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on 17 November 2010
I have cooked several recipes from this book so far and they are good, but even as a reasonably competent cook (I've only been cooking and interested in food for about 35 years!) I found the timings were way out. One recipe took an hour and a quarter and another took an hour and a half. Part of the problem is the muddled layout. It is necessary to keep reading through the text to find out the next stage and unraveling pudding instructions from main course ones. If you are not cooking the puddings, the timings for the main course are not clear. I have made a couple of the dessert recipes and they were less than inspiring and very expensive. Do people really make puddings every day? I don't know anyone who does. Rogan Josh curry with lemon pickle and carrot salad was very good and fed four adults for two days with plenty to spare. Beware huge portions and lots of leftovers ... maybe that's where the 30 minutes comes in: reheating the next day!
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