What’s Jamie’s best cookbook?

Chuck a heap of coriander, mint and chilli on the adult's serves.

Chuck a heap of coriander, mint and chilli on the adult’s serves.

The inspiration for this recipe is a noodle salad from Jamie Oliver’s ’30 minutes meals’ cookbook. I’ve evolved it quite a bit to suit my family and added a stack of extras (since that’s my thing really, isn’t it). We’ve been eating it every week for most of the summer since it ticks all the dinnertime boxes. It’s easy to make, I can make it ahead and serve it cold. And it’s delicious.

Do you think ’30 minute meals’ is Jamie’s best book? I do. It’s the cookbook of his that I return to often. Heaps of great flavours, all very accessible. Each time I browse through I find something else I want to make. The food is more healthy than his early recipes which featured meat, meat and a bit more meat but not as simplistic as the recipes in ’15 minute meals’, which I didn’t like so much. I can’t quite put my finger on why I don’t cook anything from that book. Am I missing something there? I flip through that repeatedly and don’t bookmark anything. Perhaps point me in the direction of the recipes you like from that one and I promise to give them another look.

Noodle salad

250g dried egg noodles
1 red onion
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp grapeseed oil

1 carrot, peeled, grated
1/2 red capsicum, finely diced
125g can corn, drained
1/2 cup cashews or peanuts, chopped
1 cucumber, halved, seeds removed, sliced
Mint & coriander to taste (I like heaps, the kids like none).
Lime wedges (optional)

In a mini-food processor, blitz together the onion, lime, sauces, sugar and oil. Set aside.

Cook the noodles according to packet directions. Drain, return to the saucepan and pour over the blitzed sauce while they’re still hot (the onion will cook and mellow a bit). Mix through the carrot, capsicum and corn.

Once the initial heat fades, you can add in the nuts, cucumber and herbs.

Serves warm or cold.

Serves 2 adults and 2 kids.

Your family likes noodles? Try these dishes…
Beef Pho
Chicken & udon soup

31 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Eva said,

    I have both books too and have tweaked every recipe I’ve tried to suit our family!

    I actually prefer the 15 min recipes, most of the chicken recipes are my fave! What about trying the sticky chicken?

    Lovin this blog! I get so much out of it.


  2. 3

    Sarah said,

    I like the ministry of food cookbook. I do have the 30 min meals one but have only tried out a couple of recipes. Will have to try some more out I think, but I’ve found most of them don’t seem really family friendly (I have a 1 and 3 year old and only want to cook one meal a night!) Oh and your recipe looks great! Could you add chicken? my hubby doesn’t do vegetarian at all!

  3. 5

    Bonita said,

    Oh, I am a total jamie-aholic! So many of his books on my cookbook shelf! It took me a while to get into the 30mins vibe, but we now have several faves (the rice on p152 is now called ‘evie’s favourite rice’ in our house!). I also love ‘Jamie at Home’, and ‘Jamie does…’ And your noodle salad looks super yum! Love the blog, keep up the great work.

    • 6

      wendyblume said,

      Thanks Bonita. Yes I love love love the jamie at home one too – I totally fell in love with his garden in the TV show. have tried really unsuccessfully to emulate it at home. but i don’t actually cook much from it. Vegies mostly still too obvious for my kids to really love, although I should revisit it, we’re probably getting closer now.

  4. 7

    ANBANB said,

    I prefer the 15 minute meals – the 30 minute ones are usually more complex than I would prepare on a weeknight. From the 15 minute meals we especially like the chicken fajitas.

  5. 9

    brodie said,

    Try sticky kicking chicken from 15minute book, we love that one

  6. 11

    Mel said,

    I LOVE 15 min meals and make 2 or 3 things out of it every week. I was like you initially, I think the pictures put me off, I don’t really like the way he serves up the food so I just put everything in individual bowls, a more ‘traditional’ serving style I guess. What I like about the recipes is that, yes, they are simple but every single thing I have made has tasted delicious- sometimes surprisingly so! I didn’t think I’d like the kicking chicken noodle salad… who puts watermelon in salad?? but it was delicious! I made the chicken tikka recipe and put it in wraps- it was yummo! And the potato bake that is cooked in 15 mins from the rosemary chicken recipe? GOLD! There are heaps of vegies which is great and not much sugar or fat- a little bit of cream in some recipes but what’s a bit of fat between friends?? So I’ll stop gushing now, but I love Mr Oliver, I have most of his books and this is his best one yet for me! πŸ™‚

    • 12

      wendyblume said,

      Gush away – i love him too. And I love him more as he goes on and gets really family friendly. Interesting comment about the photography. The 15 minutes is all shot overhead, which is tres fashionable at the moment, but I think it often flattens out the food and isn’t as appetising. Looks great for a bit of variety, but they’ve done it all that way, even if the dish suits it or not.

      And talking about watermelon in cooking, have you seen the watermelon rind stirfry that Poh did one time? Always mean to give that one a try too.

  7. 13

    jennifer said,

    looks like I am going to have to get the 15minutes cook book…….will try your noodle salad recipe next week…still have a few left overs to get through this week!!!

  8. 14

    Louise said,

    I have both 15 and 30 min meals and cook more from 15 πŸ™‚ We love the laksa – it covers all the bases in this house – vego for mum, yummy honey and lime chicken that the 18mo and 3yr old love and spicy for dad. It’s not like any laksa i’ve had before, and i’ve tweaked it a bit to suit our tastes, but it is a big hit and we have it regularly. My husband and kids also love the lamb koftas (i do falafels for me)

    • 15

      wendyblume said,

      yep, i’ve know the laksa recipe. Funny, i love both jamie and nigella, but I don’t like their take on SE Asian food very much – they do odd combinations. Think it’s a geography thing. Too far from the source. In the same way that I no doubt mess about with Caribbean food in a way that I shouldn’t. But I promise to re-read it and give it another chance!

  9. 16

    Kate said,

    I adore Jamie’s books, but I probably use Jamie’s Dinners the most. The Spanish roast chicken is divine and I love the “family tree” section where he takes a basic recipe and includes lots of variations to create a range of different meals. I also love the philosophy behind Jamie at Home, even though the gardening tips aren’t all that relevant for Australia – but anything that gets people more interested in where their food comes from gets my vote πŸ™‚

  10. 17

    Jodi said,

    I love both the 15 minute and 30 minute books. Once you get your head around the fact that they take longer to make but are still really quick and easy they are gold. I have probably used the 15 minute book more as there are lots of vegetarian recipes in there (trying to do a couple of vego meals a week). I must confess I have come to Jamie late and don’t have any of his other books. Will maybe get some although I have said that I won’t buy any more cook books, lol!!

    • 18

      wendyblume said,

      yes, LOL! I always say that too, and yet there always seems to be more that I need. What are your favourites?

      • 19

        Jodi said,

        I use Stephanie Alexander’s Cooks Companion and Kitchen Garden book all the time, my AWW books are great as well. And of course for baking/preserving I use the PWMU and CWA ones! Donna Hay and Delicious are good too.

      • 20

        wendyblume said,

        Yes, stephanie is well worn at my place too. Agree on AWW. What’s PWMU? Sounds like I’m needing to get myself a copy of it, whatever it is!

      • 21

        Jodi said,

        Wendy, PWMU is the Presbytarian Women’s Missionary Union. Another old style recipe book. Don’t use it for much for savoury but can’t beat those ladies for baking!

      • 22

        wendyblume said,

        So true, they know their stuff! I love it how differently the recipes are written. They don’t explain stuff, you’re just meant to KNOW.

  11. 23

    Mel said,

    I made this for dinner tonight, and it was great. I added some thinly sliced rare beef and used toasted macadamias instead of cashews or peanuts. Given that the kids weren’t going to be eating it (they’d already eaten) I added a green chilli to the paste. The only fault is that it tasted a bit bitter, due to the rind of the lime. Was I meant to blitz the whole lime, including the rind, or just the flesh? Still damn tasty and I’ll definitely be making it again.
    Thanks Wendy (and of course Jamie!!).

  12. 26

    Suzanne said,

    Hi, I would like to try this recipe but my husband is vegetarian, what could I substitute for the fish sauce?

  13. 28

    katie said,

    a late comment, but i just have to add my 2 cents worth… we are also massive jamie fans, and the pizza base recipe from jamie’s italy is a regular over here – i whizz it up in my kitchenaid in a couple of mins and it is a winner!! i am now going to put 30min meals on my birthday wishlist – i have way too many cookbooks but you have inspired me πŸ™‚

  14. 29

    Kelly said,

    Both his 30 mi and 15 mins meals book are awesome, getting the kids to help, I find they want to try.

  15. 30

    lottemae said,

    I’m really loving his 15 minute book – http://bookgoose.com.au/PriceFind/eat-like-a-dinosaur-paleo-parents/9781936608874/

    Good simple food. That’s what I’ve always loved about Jamie Oliver.

    I remember one of his first books having a veggie burger in chiabatta (sorry for the spelling) with rocket and mustard – it was delicious. Unfortunately I can’t find the recipe any more.

  16. 31

    Rachel said,

    mind, stomach and taste buds blown. thank you!!!!!

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