Thursday, 24 October 2013

Jamie Oliver 20 minute meals app review and his recipe for chilli corn chowder

I love Jamie Oliver! Like seriously. I think he's one of those chefs who you develop a liking towards right from the start- so down to earth and simply a sweetheart. I used to watch his 30 minute meals on telly and have even given some of the recipes a shot (obviously I take more than 30 minutes). They are absolutely easy to follow and his photographs (courtesy David Loftus) are to die for. I love how he presents his final dishes on his shows, and the props he uses, sigh!

I was asked to review an app on the Google Nexus 7 tablet available at Argos here- a gadget we have both been religiously using for all our browsing and other nonsensical stuff like watch videos, chat, etc etc. I still am not too sure why people need tablets at all, because it really cant do anything your smart phone cant (techies and gadget freaks, kindly excuse). Of course size matters but I think I would have survived without one. However, now that we have it in our life, its being put to regular use. I even carry it around to our Bloggers Buzz meetings looking all important, and it does make life a wee bit more easier. If you do want to pick up a tablet (among other cool things) then Argos is the place to go to.

Coming to the app. I did break my head about which app to pick up and after some research I decided to go with good ol Jamie (first name basis and all after 2 paragraphs). The tablet is a good thing to have on your kitchen counter but what kept bugging me was the fact that I had to keep switching it on each time the screen turned off when not in use (I don't even know if that's the right term to use, but you get the point right?). My tablet doesn't have a stand, so I had to keep cleaning my hands properly to pick it up and do the same. These may be irrelevant to most of you, but to me it kind of makes a difference and is a bit of a hindrance. I am trying to use the tablet more for my recipes while cooking instead of dragging my ginormous laptop on to a small kitchen counter, so ask me about it a few months from now and maybe I would have a different opinion.

  • The step by step pictures are fabulous, not to mention beautiful photography. It guides you through the entire cooking process.
  • There are basic videos of Jamie showing is how to chop an onion, basic knife care, cooking the perfect steak and so on..something we all may know, but its kind of informative.
  • The shopping list is pretty cool, in fact its my favourite feature. You can send it directly from the app to your email, making life a whole lot easier. Yes, I just had to send it to Ro.
  • Navigating through the app is easy. Nothing techy about it.
  • GBP 4.99 for an app is pretty steep. You do get 60 recipes for it, but still I find it a little on the expensive side. 
  • It keeps crashing!!! Apparently that's been an issue with the app for a while. This definitely needs to be fixed as it gets annoying after a while.
The app is a good one, but not a great one. I mean it wont be something id miss if it was taken off and I think id find most of his recipes in his book or show. But if you are a big Jamie fan and need to hear his voice once in a while, then just buy the app..really, his videos and the way he cooks is just pure entertainment :) 

That said, his chilli corn chowder from the app was excellent. It was my first time with corn chowder (soup to be precise) and was completely surprised at how nice it tasted. Of course i couldn't complete it in 20 minutes (what with me checking fb and whatsapp and a million other 'apps' in between) but it was a winner. Ro gets to taste it today and he can give his verdict. Serve it with some garlic bread and its perfect for an autumn night in,

Chilli corn chowder (Adapted from Jamie's 20 minute meals Android app. Serves 2)
Vegetable stock- 700ml
Onion- 1 small, roughly chopped
Celery- 1 stick, diced
Chilli- 2, slit (de-seed if you cant handle the heat)
Butter- 1 tbsp
Olive oil- a dash
Thyme- 1 small stalk
Potato- 1 small
Frozen sweetcorn- 200 gms (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
Double cream- 2 tbsp (optional)
Spring onions- 2 small, finely chopped
Cheddar cheese- 25 gms, grated
Sour cream- 75ml
Salt and pepper-  to taste
Fill a saucepan with the vegetable stock and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat.
While that's simmering away, slice the onion, celery and chilli.
Heat a large deep pan on medium heat and melt the butter along with a generous dash of olive oil.
Add to it the chopped vegetables with a splash of water, stir well and cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften.
Pick the thyme leaves and add to the pot of simmering stock. Let it continue to simmer for a few more minutes.
Peel and roughly grate the potato and add to the vegetable stock.
By now the vegetables would have wilted enough. Open the lid and throw in the sweetcorn. Stir it in and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Carefully pour in the vegetable stock along with potato and bring everything to a boil.
Reduce heat, pour in the double cream and let it simmer for about 5 minutes after which you can take the pan off heat.
In the meat time, slice the spring onions and grate the cheddar.
Once the chowder has cooled down a bit, pulse with an immersion blender, but still retaining the texture. Don't make it too smooth.
Taste and season with enough salt and pepper and cover the pot with a lid and keep aside.
When ready to serve, spoon ladles full of the chowder into slightly warmed bowls, top with a spoon on sour cream, sprinkle over the cheddar followed by a generous sprinkling of spring onions.
(Add some chopped chillies if you are brave)
Notes: The original recipe called for just one chilli, half of which needed to be added with the vegetables and half used as garnish. Adamant that it wouldn't be spicy, I added two whole chillies to the chowder and skipped the garnish. It was SPICY and apparently, one chilli would have been enough. 
The cream is completely optional, but i had some left over cream that desperately needed to be used and so chucked it in. Worked for me.

The post is in conjunction with Argos


Veena Theagarajan said...

yummy and creamy looking soup.

Shibi Thomas said...

I liked the styling Nisha! Corn chowders are very comforting during these cold weather.

divya said...

wow .. look gorgeous and super tempting....awesome clicks!!

Priya Suresh said...

Here also we have this app with famous French chefs, but 4.99£ sounds cheap when compared to here.

Chilli corn chowder looks very comforting,would love to have a sip.

Sowmya Dinavahi said...

I love ur styling nisha thomas.. love this soup.. looks very comforting..