Daily Life


Time is on his side

Jamie Oliver took 15 minutes out of his day to answer 15 questions from Karen Hardy - in that time he could have cooked a Gorgeous greek chicken, herby vegetable couscous and tzatziki. Go!

1. What's the theory behind the new book - in four words? Super-fast food 4 busy people. Four words and a number.

2. Why the focus on nutrition? The focus is really on speed but I've also nutritionally balanced everything because I want people to be able to cook from it every day without having to worry about over indulging. I've worked really hard with my nutritionist so that there's an amazing balance of nutrients in all the dishes, without having to compromise on flavour.

3. Why the focus on speed? Because people are busy these days and are getting busier. There's been a lot of love for 30-minute meals, but quite a few people were saying they tended to use it at the weekend when they had a bit more time. So I wanted to write super-quick recipes that are perfect for a weekday when you get in from work and you need something tasty and nutritious, but also really fast.

4. Have we forgotten that cooking can be a leisurely pursuit? I think we have a bit, but this book isn't trying to replace slow-cooking. I love slow-cooking when I've got a lazy Sunday. This book is really to give people a good option when, as I say, there's not a lot of spare time.

5. Name three essential items in your kitchen kit? Speed peeler. Good set of knives. Food processor.

6. Name three things you've bought which have been a waste of space? I don't tend to buy things like that.


7. Should we all champion the idea of the shared platter? Absolutely - there's definitely a place for the shared platter - it's a really communal way to eat and everyone ends up digging in and chatting.

8. Is that how your family eats? Quite often, yes. Especially at weekends.

9. What's the go-to core ingredient for quick meals? For me, chillies because I love them and they really liven up a dish, but I've also been using a lot of quick-cook rice and noodles in these meals and they're really good.

10. Was making the accompanying television series fun? It was hard work. We shot four shows in a day. But yes, it was fun - you get a buzz from working hard on something you enjoy.

11. What are the favourite foods of your children? They pretty much like everything, but homemade pizza is always a big hit.

12. There's been a little flak about whether the 15 minutes is achievable. I can understand it if people are expecting to do the meals in 15 minutes the first time around, but each time you make one, and really get into the 15-minute-meal mindset, you'll get much quicker. We've tested the recipes on home cooks, we've even had some kids do them in 15 minutes, so my advice is not to race, but to make sure you follow the instructions and have all your kit and ingredients ready, then you'll do fine.

13. Favourite meal from the book? It changes all the time, but the sticky kicking chicken with watermelon radish salad and crunchy noodles is always high on the list.

14. Why a breakfast chapter? Because it's the most important meal of the day.

15. When's the last time someone cooked for you? Lunchtime today - we had some warm salads from Fifteen restaurant.

Jamie's 15-Minute Meals, by Jamie Oliver (Michael Joseph. Penguin. $49.99.)

Jamie's 15-Minute Meals is screening on Southern Cross Ten on Thursdays at 7.30pm.