Jamie spills beans on dream dinner

21:24, Dec 11 2012
Jamie Oliver
STAY CLEAR: Jamie Oliver's recipes aren't all that.

We ask super chef Jamie Oliver about his dream dinner party, pantry essentials and how to cook a meal in 15 minutes.

15 minutes is not very long to prepare a meal! Can you tell me the three key things that you need to have a hope of preparing a delicious meal in this amount of time?  

It's actually pretty easy so long as you do what the book says and have all your kit ready.  We've had kids doing the meals in 15 minutes, grandparents doing them in 15 minutes - there's a 9 year old on You Tube doing the burgers in 15 minutes - so you really need the kit and the ingredients ready and just follow the instructions to the letter.  I'm not trying to be your friend with this book.  If you're going to wander away from the recipe and do your own thing, then it won't work in the time.

You write that this book was particularly hard work. What were some of the book's biggest challenges?  It's the first time I've had a nutritionist on my shoulder every step of the way because I really wanted people to be able to dip into the book any day of the week and not have to worry about calories so pretty much every meal comes in around 500-600 calories per serving. The timing was also difficult because we test every recipe at least three times, usually more like five times, and we send them out to home cooks to test.  Some of the recipes came back and people couldn't do them in less than 25 minutes and so they didn't end up in the book.

What are you most proud of about this book? 

I really wanted it to be something which people could pick up on a weekday and be able to get something delicious on the table really quickly and that's what it is.  I'm very much led by the public and after 30 minute meals, I got a lot of feedback from people saying they loved it but they tended to use it at weekends because they had more time.  Everyone's time is being squeezed more and more and so 15 minute meals came out of that.

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Who would you have at your dream dinner party? 

Elvis, Paul Smith, my lovely wife, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, my mate Andy, Jamie Cullum and Sophie Dahl.  And Gennaro Contaldo.

What would your last meal be? 

Mum's roast chicken with all the trimmings.

Who is your favourite person that you have cooked for (excluding family!) 

It's tough to choose because there have been many over the years.  Michelle Obama was lovely.

What is the one food that you would never get sick of eating? 

Chillies. I'm a chilli freak so i could eat them every day.

Staple ingredients that you can't do without (and neither should anybody else)? 

Chillies, garlic, lemon, pasta, fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar.  I could go on ...

Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals, RRP $65, is published by Penguin.

- Daily Life