Celebrity chef cookbooks

Time Out reviews the best celebrity recipe books to give you culinary inspiration

Jamie's 15 Minute Meals

Jamie Oliver, Penguin Michael Joseph, £26

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In 2010 I fell into the trap of every reviewer assessing Jamie’s ‘30 Minute Meals’: I fixated on trying to create the dishes in the claimed time-frame. This follow-up book suffers from the same false advertising: 15 minutes is, frankly, impossible. Even with unusual ingredients bought, everything prepared, within hand’s reach (and don’t even think of lifting a finger to clean up as you go), my ‘black bean beef burgers, noodles and pickle salad’ took me 28 minutes to make. And getting everything mise en place took another half an hour.

But once you stop watching the clock –allow yourself an extra 45 minutes, and don’t get flustered – you can enjoy yourself instead.

The ‘30 Minute’ book went on to become my most-used cookbook of the year, because the recipes are so inspiring – every dish feeds your imagination, as well as your loved ones. Thrilling flavours, time-cutting techniques and luscious photography are all part of the package in both books. I love the use of unusual ingredient combinations and prolific use of herbs, less keen on his obsession with the food processor, but the resulting dishes are undeniably impressive.

‘15 Minute Meals’ covers 100+ dishes such as ‘Keralan veggie curry’, ‘Cajun steak, smoky black beans, collard greens’ or even ‘Seared Asian tuna, coconut rice and jiggy jiggy greens’ (oo-err, missus). But even when you do fancy a quickie, it’s often better to take your time and do it right.

Guy Dimond, Time Out London Issue 2199: October 9 - 15 2012

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