10 Minutes To Table: Real food in 10 minutes – no cheating by Xanthe Clay

10_Minutes_to_TableLike many of you, I am often tired when I get home from work or arrive home late and just want something simple and quick for dinner. In order to help me out, Mark purchased a copy of ‘10 Minutes To Table: Real food in 10 minutes – no cheating’. No more excuses for me then!

Now, when I want a fast meal, I tend to go to my comfort zone and make something in my repertoire: steak/pork chop/lamb chop/fish/chicken breast and salad or steamed veg, omelette, pasta with pesto. I was intrigued by this book for 2 reasons:

  1. Will it give me new ideas?
  2. Can I really cook the recipes in 10 minutes?

In the introduction the author does state that as she has had practice it only takes her 10 minutes or less to prepare the recipes and that it may take us 20 minutes until we get the hang of each recipe.

There are some basic tips given for making a quick meal which includes multi-tasking. If you don’t like to, or can’t multi task when you cook then it’s going to be hard to make some of these dishes in 10 minutes. And let me say right now that none of the tasks include doing a Keith Floyd. There is simply no time to open a bottle of your favourite tipple to have a wee sip. You also need to be organised and get all of your ingredients out and vegetables washed and ready for use.

The book is divided into the following chapters: Meat, Birds, Fish, Veg, Fast ingredients, and Basic rules for fast food. In the ‘fast ingredient’ section, you will not find cheats such as tinned soup. Some fast ingredients Ms Clay suggests are tinned beans, couscous, and quick cook polenta. You will get tips such as slicing a chicken breast horizontally so it will cook faster or slicing potatoes and other root vegetables before boiling so that they will cook in time.

So what are some of the quick recipes you will find in this book? In the meat section you will find ‘pork with apple, Calvados sauce and watercress crushed potatoes’, ‘devilled kidneys on toast’, and ‘chipolatas with red onion gravy, polenta, and wilted spinach’. And here I must say that when I do an onion gravy I slow cook my onions for over 10 minutes.

In the Birds chapter you will find ‘salad of rotisserie chicken’, ‘noodles with teriyaki sauce’ and ‘smoked duck’, (no fear, you are buying smoked duck not smoking a duck breast in 10 minutes) and ‘Mustard, honey and thyme spatchcocked quail with rosemary potatoes’. You will find recipes such as ‘Vermicelli with clams’ and ‘fillet of place with beurre noisette and capers’ in the Fish chapter. Finally in Veg, you will find fast dishes such as ‘Tomato, soft cheese and sesame tart’ and ‘pea and herb frittata with goats cheese and tomato salad’.

Spring lamb with braised little gems, peas and broad beans and Jersey Royals

Spring lamb with braised little gems, peas and broad beans and Jersey Royals

I tried the ‘Spring lamb with braised little gems, peas and broad beans and Jersey Royals’. The vegetables are braised and crème fraiche and tarragon are added a few minutes before the end of the cooking time to give a creamy sauce.

The recipe calls for neck of lamb so I bought a lovely piece from Penrhiw Farm who sell their beautiful produce at Usk farmers market. I also used veg from the community allotment and as they did not have peas, I substituted green beans.

Let me say right now that it took me 30 minutes to cook this dish. I simply couldn’t turn the meat every 2 minutes and wash potatoes and salad, slice green onions and potatoes, pod and peal the broad beans and more. I took a bit more time to cut out down the multi-tasking, make a lovely mustard jus for the lamb and to sip a nice cup of tea. Flavour wise, I really enjoyed the dish. The braised vegetables with crème fraiche and tarragon were a tasty accompaniment to the lamb.

I have to say I was really sceptical when I first picked up this book. I did think it would be impossible to make the meals in 10 minutes and would call for the use of a lot of ready-made ingredients. In the end I must say that it does give me some new ideas for fast meals using real food. Instead of going insane trying to uber multi task, I will be happy to relax a bit and get a meal on the table in 30 minutes or less.

You can find this book at good local book stores and on Amazon by clicking the image,

*If you want to know more about Carol’s adventure with food or even join her on one then check out Food Adventure Ltd.