This book presents the acceptable face of fast food. The Quick and Easy series of cookbooks are always good value and Quick and Easy 20-minute Meals is another gem. These books spend more time in the kitchen than they do on your smart bookshelf.
We would all love the luxury of unlimited time to devote to food preparation but that’s not the real world. Your 6 year old needs a quick meal before you take him for after-school Latin, your 9 year old only has an hour at home before he needs to be at ballet class. You want to feed the family good food but fast.
This, dear reader, isn’t rocket science but Catherine Atkinson offers good advice (she does with all her books) to enable you to save time but present delicious and healthy meals. There is information about setting up a storecupboard with the basics, storage and freezing, and planning ahead. A few pages of reading and you’ll be ready to start cooking.
Cutting back on preparation time doesn’t mean cutting down on taste, comfort or quality of meals. There are lovely recipes here that compromise nothing for the sake of speed. You’ll find chapters on snacks and light meals, meats, fish, and vegetarian. Something for everyone.
Fish Fingers and Beans doesn’t sound like it should have a place in a cookbook. Take the time to read the recipe and you’ll find that this is quite a classy meal with cannellini beans, olives, sweet chilli sauce and pitta bread. Spicy Seafood Pasta is a posh alternative to fish fingers, and you’ll be eating in only 15 minutes.
The vegetarian section offers Mixed Vegetable Stir-fry with Teriyaki Tofu. It’s exotic with rich flavours but still only takes 20 minutes to make a meal for four. Staying with the oriental theme, Hoisin Pork Skewers would make a spectacular presentation for either a fast meal or as a starter.
Dessert is often forgotten when you are pressed for time. Fresh fruit or yoghurt always seems such a cheat so how about Hot Chocolate Pots or Pear and Cinnamon Tarts? How impressed will your friends be when you apologise for ONLY preparing Mango and Lime Syllabub!
Quick and Easy 20-minute Meals is a well-written and useful cookbook. The only thing you will dislike is that you will no longer have lack of time as an excuse for not cooking. The guy at the local take-away will think you have moved.
Quick and Easy 20-minute Meals
Author: Catherine Atkinson
Published by: Foulsham
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018