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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 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 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 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 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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on 9 November 2010
Having watched the show Jamie's 30-Minute Meals, I decided to buy the book, rather than relying on Channel 4 to post the recipes on their site. I'm so glad I did - this book has made my life so much easier! I love cooking and don't mind spending hours in the kitchen, but after working all day, sometimes I want a great meal, made from scratch, but without the effort. Other people complain that it doesn't take 30 minutes, with which I agree. However, Jamie is a chef and can chop an onion in half the time I can, so I don't expect it to take me the same amount of time it takes him. Realistically, it's 45 minutes, but can be less if you have made the recipe before and know what you're doing.
The way the book is laid out can be both an advantage and disadvantage - it goes through the steps to make everything in the meal in order, but it hasn't been too much of an issue for me. It can also be confusing making a recipe without having seen it on the show, and it will take more than 30 minutes to make. It is nice to know that I can pick a meal out of this book, and it will be on the table within 40 minutes to an hour.
The chicken pie recipe was fantastic and is by far the best chicken pie I've had (and I'm not really a chicken pie fan). There are also great side dishes that make fantastic lunches (like the noodle dish in the chicken satay meal) that I make by themselves. The recipes make a LOT of food, and I find if I halve the recipe I still have too much for just two people. My husband likes everything I make, but I can tell he's been especially excited about dinner since I began cooking from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals.
I highly recommend this book!
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on 3 October 2010
I absolutely love this book and I think, if you know anyone who is not a confident cook, this should be the first cookbook you buy them. I'll be getting it for my mother-in-law for Christmas.

It's very unthreatening, easy and gives people with limited confidence the tools to make any of the meals in the book. I think this book will be a classic.

It's also great for confident cooks like me. I love all the sides and salads and will definitely be mixing and matching the recipes. I have 100s of cookbooks with meat and fish recipes, but I always struggle for interesting side dishes and this book is packed full of them.

I bought this and Nigella's Kitchen on the same day. I have read this one over and over again but have hardly picked up Nigella's book, it was, dare I say it, a bit uninspiring.
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on 3 November 2010
I have noticed a number of reviews for this book slating this recipe book for the layout of the recipes. I do not understand why it is called common sense when it is so uncommon. Yes, this is not a traditional layout of a recipe book and yes, he doesn't give some quantities and cooking times, BUT that's the POINT! Jamie wants you to cook; he wants you to make it your own. He wants you cooking, not just blindly follow a recipe. I cannot believe how lazy we have become. If everything isn't easy and instant we whinge and complain. Make it your own. This is your meal not Jamie's. This is a recipe book, not the word of law. You can change ingredients/dishes/puddings and it isn't rocket science to extract a recipe from another meal. Write it down on a separate piece of paper and fit it in where you can. If it takes you longer than 30 minutes, so what? You'll soon learn the recipe and next time it will take 30 minutes or less. All takes is a little patience, forward reading and organisation. If you get your kit out and ready and have your ingredients to hand there is not reason why you can't have a lovely home cooked meal in 30-45min. This is the time it takes to wait for a pizza to be delivered and 5 times less time than we spend watching TV in one day!!

Preaching over, I can review this book proper. I have to admit I, like everyone, was a huge Jamie fan in his naked chef days. I felt he had lost momentum and have not really bought any of his cookbooks for 5 years or so. It was his TV show which inspired me to buy this book. The recipes were simple, tasty and easy. The recipes mainly rely on the quality ingredients rather than any fancy cooking technique. It is all about multi-tasking and enjoying yourself. I have made more dishes from this recipe book than any other I own (I own over 150!). There are 4 things I especially like about this book. The first is the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in every meal plan. Nutritionally, the meals are excellent. The second is the number of vegetarian meals. I'm a confirmed carnivore, but I'm trying to eat less meat so having a good veggie repertoire is always appreciated. Thirdly, I like the fact the Jamie is very seasonal in the meals. You won't see him put a bramley apple dessert with an asparagus dish. Finally, he uses a lot of the same ingredients in the recipes which means that half used ingredients can go into another meal another night with some careful planning, so no waste! I found that the recipes are very forgiving; if I ran out of onions, I used spring onions instead and it didn't matter and nothing was wasted.

What don't I like about this book? The amount of washing up! Not a complaint really, as this is what cooking is all about. If you have a dishwasher, you're laughing. Be prepared to use a lot of garlic, chilli and vanilla paste! Yes, some of the ingredients are expensive, but there is no reason you can't substitute. Will it be the same? No, of course not. But the point is nowadays there are products for every budget.

If you want a recipe book that is exact in quantities and cooking time that you can follow blindly, this book is not for you. If you are happy cooking from scratch, with just a little guidance and are happy doing a little planning and multi-tasking, this book is for you.
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