Greg Barila

Journalist. Editor. Social Media specialist.

When a quick meal isn't so easy

It looks simple enough ... but first of all you have to have the ingredients.
JOURNALISM is booby-trapped with all kinds of occupational hazards and one of the deadliest is definitely nutritional.
Breaking news (usually) always equals bad food choices. (Unless you think a soggy sausage roll at 4pm is the very picture of a balanced diet).
Ok, it’s not just journalism.
We all lead busy lives and sometimes things that should top our priorities list — sleep, a break from our devices, a decent diet — can languish at the bottom.
“Lunch breaks are for sissies”, I wrote wryly on my Facebook page after a long and gruelling day behind the keyboard. Somewhere in the distance a stomach growled.
Don’t get me wrong, I eat hearty home cooked meals most nights in the working week. But some days, when you’re running on empty, the only reasonable course of action is to call in the RAA of evening meals — pizza.
Recently on the way home, in the dim glow of a city bus stop, I decided to eschew the usual fast food option and pointed my smartphone to Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals site instead. Oliver’s “fast food at home” concept is a sound idea.
And the 15 minute meals site is a smorgasbord of proper pukka nosh, from his “Gorgeous” Greek chicken to his “Crackin’” crab briks.
But thumb through the site and two things quickly become clear — every dish looks delicious and almost every recipe calls for at least 18 ingredients I don’t have or have never heard of.
Just add a handful of fenugreek seeds ... a dash of rapeseed oil ... a spoonful of Harissa.
What happened to just bunging the whole bad boy in the old pre-heated Treasure Trove?
As for 15 minutes. Fifteen minute meals my ar ... tisan sourdough. “15 minutes IF you shop for 3 hours beforehand and prep for 2,” Anika tweeted in sympathy.
Fellow tweeter Louise said her daughter and her boyfriend once attempted two out the three courses of one of Jamie’s “30 minute meals”
The verdict? A very nice two-and-a-half hours in the kitchen and decent feed to show for it, thanks for asking.
But I’m not giving up on the 15 minute meal. I know a great one. It’s round, covered in salami and made by someone who’s not me.
That’ll tide me over until Jamie opens his Adelaide restaurant. Then he can do the bloody cooking.
This story was first published in The City magazine and on