competition – win jamie oliver’s 15 minute meals book [closed]

This competition is now closed. Many thanks for all your entries. So many ideas in there, both inspired and crazy! The winner has been notified by email.

competition win jamie oliver's 15 minute meals cookbook

You can’t move far around this blog without bumping into a Jamie Oliver recipe. It’s fair to say I’m fan, having decked out my kitchen with branded crockery, bakeware, utensils and knives. I even owned a Flavour Shaker.

After the rip-roaring success of Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, we now have Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals. Not content with resting on the success of this book, he took a step back and realised more could be done with a tighter focus on a single, substantial dish. I’ve tried a few of the recipes out already and I’ve been impressed with what you can achieve in a short time so far.

I’ve already blogged a few of these: golden chicken and chilli con carne meatballs.

To celebrate the start of the series on Channel 4 this week, I’ve got a copy of his new book to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, just leave a comment answering the following question:

What’s your best time-saving kitchen tip?

  • Competition closes 8pm 28th October. Comments posted after then won’t be counted.
  • I’ll pick the winners at random using some fancy random number generator.
  • Entrants must be 18 years or older.
  • If the winner hasn’t replied within one week, someone else will get it.
  • Only people from the UK please. Additionally, I’ll only post to a UK address.
  • Any answer along the lines “I get the wife to do it” or “I have the kebab shop on speed-dial” will be tutted and sighed at, and not counted. Get into the spirit of things, people!


  • I weigh out and mix half a dozen lots of flour and sugar for all in one cakes and store them in zip-lock bags ready for very speedy cakes 🙂

  • Bernadette Davies

    Don’t peel butternut squash… takes forever and the skin is tasty and full of nutrition

  • Weigh out portions of pasta using a cup, no waste if you are cooking for a family!

  • Dont let your husband in the kitchen!!! Takes me ages to clean up after mine

  • Ooooo I have quite a few that, when combined, can make meals super speedy! Although we are meat eaters in our household, we use a lot of Quorn products as the mince etc can be cooked from frozen. I also get all of my ingredients out before I start cooking so I have everything to hand. One most people use is boiling the kettle instead of waiting for water to boil on the hob. Use of the food processor for speedy chopping (something I know the man himself is a big fan of!). There are so many tips out there! Fab idea for a competition 🙂

  • I make up more than we need of meals such as chilli con carne and spaghetti bolognase and freeze the extra for a quick meal when I don’t have time to cook from scratch! 🙂

  • Make extra servings of the meals you make and freeze them for an instant meal later on. I find the re-sealable plastic containers that some takeaways use Ideal for this.

  • Empty the dishwasher before you start cooking. That way you can add to it as you go. If you don’t have a dishwasher then fill the sink with warm soapy water and add the dishes as you go. It’s a real time-saver afterwards.

  • Keep your work space clean as your going along, putting dirty pots and pans straight in the sink/dishwasher this will save washing up time after you have eaten.

  • Cook in bulk and freeze the extra saves time, money and food wastage 🙂

  • empty sachets of ground pepper and sea salt into one dispenser.

  • clean up as you go along

  • Use the micro wave as much as possible. Saves cooking time

  • When I am baking, I hang my washed socks on the oven door to dry.

  • Buy a slow cooker, you can put everything in it in the morning and when you get home from work it should be ready to eat

  • Use a saves over-cooking and saves on electricity/gas

  • Blanche your veg and then freeze them! Then you have veg at your fingers tips whenever! Especially potatoes – ready for roasting!!!

  • I hate peeling potatoes, so when I need mash, I bake the unpeeled potatoes in the oven. The potatoes are so soft and fluffy, no mashing effort is required either.

  • Cook in bulk so you have food when you’re in a rush, buy a dishwasher (!), get all your ingredients out before you start, use the kettle to pour boiling water on pasta/potatoes/rice

  • Time saving tip is to share the workload. Me and hubby cook together so we spend time together and get it done faster.

  • Having an allotment means we always have freshly frozen veg in the freezer – saves time by not having to defrost, just cook speedily in microwave / boiling water for a couple of minutes, and saves money as I don’t pay a kings ransom at the supermarket!

  • steam veg in the micro, v quick, prevents a kitchen full of steam!

  • make an extra portion if possible and freezie it, then always got a healthy ready meal in the freezer, ready to cook

  • Always have your freezer full of various frozen veggies!

  • Preparation, preparation, preparation…

  • Clean whilst cooking! It saves so much time cleaning everything afterwards and provides vital space for those who have smaller kitchens (like me)

  • Don’t wash the veg! pukka!

  • When I’m cooking dinner I always have the washing up bowl full of hot water ready to go so I can wash as I go along. It’s amazing how much you can get done while you’re waiting for something to finish cooking – Plus you’ll only have a few dishes to wash when you’ve finished eating

  • I bulk cook lots of meals like lasagne, chilli, curry, rice, soup and freeze in individual portions, so easy when coming home from a long day at work to have a ready made home cooked meal to look forward to.

  • Frozen garlic and ginger cubes from all supermarkets

  • Boil the kettle for pasta and rice as it’s quicker than waiting for a pan to heat up on the hob. Also cook extra portions to stash in the freezer for a speedy future meal. There’s only 2 of us in our house but I regularly cook enough for 4 so there’s always tasty leftovers in the fridge or freezer that only need a few minutes to reheat.

  • Make stew/casserole bags at the weekend by putting all the meat and veg chopped up into the freezer bag. Take it out and straight into the slow cooker in the morning!

  • Wash up as you go along.

  • when i need to boil water for cooking i always boil it in the kettle transfer it to saucepan and then bring it back to the boil



  • Use a pressure cooker, saves on time & money.

  • Use already crushed garlic from a tube or jar to save a lot of time

  • Always use boiled water from the kettle to boil vegetables and remember to fill and set the kettle boiling before you start prepping the veg

  • To save time peeling garlic I crush it using the blade of my knife. The garlic then practically falls out the skin.

  • Make sure you clean things up as you are working in the kitchen, saves the daunting prospect of a pile of washing up at the end of cooking a meal or baking a cake.

  • Have all of your kitchen organised to make getting things speedy

  • cheryl dawn lovell

    Be prepared before cooking anything! ie make sure you have the ingredients and utensils

  • Bulk buy potatoes (much cheaper), make a list of ingredients as you run out and then no panic when you haven’t the ingredients to make something.

  • Clean up as you go along!

  • batch cook curries, chillies and stews on an eat one freeze one basis. saves time and money no more buying ready meals.

  • Use a tin of Oxtail soup as a quick gravy- great for cottage pie or sausages

  • Get your butcher to cut up your meat for you.

  • use as few dishes as possible , less to wash_up …… make speedy biscuits in a hurry use tortilla wraps . just cut out in strips or use a cookie cutter deep fry for a few mins then sprinkle in vanilla sugar

  • I always wash up as i go along. It doesnt seem so daunting afterwards!

  • never make puff pastry youself. Always buy ready made

  • I wash up at night after dinner and leave the plates to dry overnight. In the morning I quickly put them away. ( Less washing of tea towels too!)

  • have a tidy kitchen, that way you can find what you need when you need it , and don’t be afraind to cut corners.

  • If you need boiling water (e.g. for pasta), boil it in the kettle first as it used less energy than boiling in a pan.

  • Karen Shuttleworth

    Never heat water on the hob – boil the kettle. Do as much prep in advance as you can (in my case, while my toddler naps) so the meal prep time is reduced. Eat couscous – really quick to make!!!

  • Georgia McAllister

    Tidy up as you go along.

  • I make a lot of curries that require the addition of garlic and ginger. Instead of spending hours peeling and puréeing, I buy ready crushed frozen garlic and ginger…halves the prep time!

  • For Christmas dinner (or when having a lot of people over for dinner), write down all your timings etc beforehand in a plan so that you don’t miss anything out and everything will be ready right on time!

  • I make more than I need when making spaghetti bolognaise, or chilli, and freeze some – great when you haven’t got time to make a meal – just get one out of the freezer. Bonus

  • Tip for hard-boiling eggs.
    Boil 10 to 15 eggs at a time. While boiling , add food colouring to the water. The shells of the cooked eggs will take on the colour of the dye. You can then look in the fridge and tell which eggs are hard-boiled and which are raw.

    After washing your baking trays, put them back in the oven while its still warm to dry rather than drying yourself.

  • I wash up as I go, that way I save time by not standing around waiting for things to cook.

  • I prepare all ingredients before i start to cook

  • Use ready prepared/chopped veg (like onions) which have been frozen and that you can buy from your supermarket. You just take out what you need, no waste.

  • Prepare everthing first and wash up as you go along.

  • Carolynn Greenhalgh

    Coat your measuring cup or spoon with a quick spritz of cooking spray before measuring sticky things like honey and molasses, and they’ll slide right out with nothing to waste.

  • Follow your favourite slow cooker recipe and triple the amount. but instead of putting everything in the slow cooker – put all the ingredients into to 3 freezer bags and chuck in the freezer, several recipes can be done like this over the weekend or when you have spare time, Even non slow cooker recipes can be done like this, such as chilli, bolognase, curries etc. Then on a morning, pop the contents of the bag into the slow cooker on low, go off to work or enjoy your day, with tea already sorted – no more stress and delious home cooked food every night!

  • When heating baked beans on the hob, add a small knob of butter and this will stop them sticking to the bottom of the pan – makes washing up afterwards much easier.

  • Cook rice in the microwave – so quck and easy and gives perfect results every time!

  • Get your 4yr old Grandson to act as your sous chef
    He cracks the eggs whilst you prepare the omelette filling, saves some time !
    Messy but great fun

  • i do a lot of one pot meals such as stews and casseroles, which save aon the washing up and if you double the quantity you have a spare meal to freeze

  • Freeze any left over wine (this doesn’t happen often!) in ice cube trays then you always have some for risottos or sauces! 🙂

  • use boiling water to par boil veg instead of waiting for the water to heat up in the pan.

  • My best tip is cook ahead, freeze meals or leftovers to be used when you don’t have time to cook. Takes the stress out of a busy day.

  • Fill your kettle with just the amount you need – and from the hot tap – it’ll boil much quicker and you won’t waste electricity.

  • I freeze portions of homemade marinade and spice mixes to save time making my favourite recipes

  • Buy frozen diced vegetables

  • susannah southurst

    when peeling butternut squash , put in microwave to soften skin , easier to peel

  • Tidyup as you go

  • Frozen ready chopped chilli, garlic and ginger – best supermarket idea for ages! The basis of so many dishes and having it already prepared saves so much time in the kitchen

  • Brigitte Leprince

    When chopping veg take board to saucepan and once again with debri take board to bin! My partner makes a mess everywhere which takes time to clear up. I tend to peel all my veg over newspaper and roll it up like fish n chips which saves on legs! This also stops your bin from smelling so much too!

  • Get someone else to do the cooking 🙂

  • Using a kettle to heat water will take far less time than waiting for it to boil on the stove. Next time you’re boiling pasta, rice or vegetables, flick the kettle on and you’ll have boiling water in around one to two minutes. Boil it from cold, on the hob, and expect to wait eight to nine minutes before you can tip in your pasta.

  • Write a lot of lists

  • Making Egg mayonnaise ? Throw the boiled eggs in a bowl and use a potato masher. Very quick and easy!

  • I always cook enough vegetables to last for 2 meals, then the next night, its just a case of adding the meat. time save and less washing up too

  • Make sure your knife is sharp, cutting things with a dull knife takes twice as long and your more likely to injure yourself!

  • Use garlic oil

  • Clean as you go – it saves effort, energy and leaves plenty of time for more cooking!

  • My tip is for pasta – you can put it into the pan of cold water ahead of time and when you need to cook it, it doesn’t take so long.

  • boiled potatoes, do a batch of them, keep them in the fridge – can do a million things (tattie salad, tortillas, fried tatties for brekkie amazing food)

  • Use a pressure cooker for quickness and conserve fuel & the vitamins too

  • Wash/Rinse as you go, it takes a quarter of the time to clean than if you leave everything to the end to go dry and hard

  • Crush garlic in its skin in a garlic press – less mess to clean up!

  • Fill the pan with boiled water from the kettle – less time to wait for it to come back to the boil

  • Follow Jamie’s recipe books! You’re guaranteed to speed up your cooking!

  • Empty sink and put plastic bag in it, when cooking i get everything out that i need and prepare all ingredients at once. any rubbish goes straight in sink!

  • clean as you go – its much quicker than cleaning up afterwards!!!

  • Don’t use gadgets that take ages too clean afterwards

  • I plan my meals for the week so I know as soon as I get home what I’m cooking and can make sure I’ve got all the stuff I need in before I start cooking. I am also I big fan of cooking extra and freezing it it save time in the future

  • Invest in a good food processor

  • Clean as you go!

  • I use quite a lot of garlic in pretty much every meal I make which I used to spend ages chopping, I now just grate them on my micropane grater which takes seconds and doesn’t take ages to clean. It also works for ginger

  • I always try to make a few things at once – soup, a cake and a casserole for example. It takes the same time to keep an eye on three things as one (and I wash up as I go!).

  • follow american recipes using cups – much quicker than gettingt the scales out

  • Preparation is the key! I try to read over a recipe to familarise myself with it first, making sure there are no surprises. Also, believe it or not, keeping the kitchen clean as I go also helps a lot as I can find things easier and makes the whole experience more enjoyable 🙂

  • Make more than one thing at a time when cooking, for example if making something in the oven, use the heat to bake a cake etc and then freeze, saves times and energy!

  • Use food processor to chop up the onions/garlic/veg. Saves me plenty of time doing the prep.

  • Bulk cook and freeze!

  • I always have a plastic bowl next to me for popping peelings, wrappings etc when I’m cooking and then I dispose of the lot at the end so I never have to go back and forth to the bin while I’m cooking but still keep a tidy worktop.

  • Plan your weekly meals! It saves time and money when you know what the menu is for the rest of the wekk

  • Wash up as you go along

  • Planning! make sure you prepare lists for shopping that way you will only have what you need

  • Do the washing up before you start eating

  • Always make enough to freeze an extra portion or have enough left over for lunch the next day.

  • Pre-heat your pans and oven before you start, saves lots of time waiting for everything to start cooking!

  • 1 cup of rice two cups of water 25 minutes in a microwave. leave for 2 minutes done Boiled rice

  • Always fill up the washing up bowl before you start cooking and wash up as you go. Saves alot of time and means you only have a couple of things to wash up at end.

  • Cook more than you need and freeze it for another day when time is short.

  • buy organic – then you dont have to peel vegetables.

  • Have a nice cold beer by your side for those moments when the kitchen heat becomes too much! ;o)

  • You don’t always have to cook everything from scratch everynight, some nights I cheat and use frozen mash, spruced up with a dash of cream and some black pepper it tastes fab

  • When cooking xmas dinner – prepare your veg and potatoes for roasting the day before.
    On a day to day basis, have a clean working space – kick the dog out, the kids and the husband you save a lot of time when your not stepping round and over things!


  • Concentrate

  • Dont let my partner do the cooking as the place looks like a bomb site after

  • Always prep as much as you can in advance!

  • Prep your meal the nighyt before and leave in the fridge – next day all you have to do is pop in the oven

  • keep the kids out of the kitchen!

  • always make more than one meal’s worth so that you can freeze meals for next time.

  • I make up and freeze big tubs of soup for quick and easy winter warming meals, saves money and time 🙂

    • When I buy fresh vegetables , and herbs I always chop it all and freeze what I don’t need.Then I have plenty of veg chopped and ready to go in the freezer when I need it.

  • Cook extra rice and freeze great for quick meal when you have leftover take away curry or saves money and effort if you just buy ready meal curry (with no rice)

  • Regularly clear out your store cupboard, it should contain food and not be a museum, much easier to find things when all is neat and tidy

  • Preheat!

  • wash up as you go along,

  • I love using my slow cooker, pop all the ingredients in in the morning then when everyone gets in from work/school the meal is ready which saves time in the afternoon and means we get to spend that time doing family things instead of one of us stuck in the kitchen cooking. I also freeze what ever is left in the pot in individual containers so that we always have supply of healthy home cooked ready-meals x

  • all hands on deck! get the children to do jobs like peeling the veg while you do the more complicated things

  • Mine is what I’m currently doing lmao
    Use a kettle to boil the water 🙂

  • When cooking prepare extra for freezing for a speedy meal when you are short of time

  • I have a weekly menu planner on the fridge, first one in starts dinner plus I do my Supermarket shop from my plan.

  • Get someone else to do the cooking for you….that way you have all the time in the world! 🙂

  • Get everything out ready before you start cooking

  • alison culverhouse

    When I have plenty of time I peel several cloves of garlic at once, separate them and them and put them in a container in the freezer. When I need a garlic clove, I take one of the freezer and they thaw in seconds. Really quick and easy

  • only fill the kettle up with the amount of water you need to boil

  • Heather Jenkinson

    What I find is a great time-saver is to partially cook baking spuds in the microwave for about 10 mins, then finish them off in the oven. They taste just as fab, and take half the time.

  • Wash up whilst you have your bits cooking, it saves doing it afterwoods

  • My slow cooker is the best time saving device I’ve EVER used! It was given to mum and dad as a wedding present 30 years ago (next year) and has just two buttons, “high” and “low”. I use it constantly for my family of 6 and considering I just ‘chop and chuck’ the end result is always a delicious soup, casserole, spaghetti bolognese, coq au vin……….

  • As I live on my own, I will make extra portions and then freeze them> I take them out the night before to defrost slowly and then only have to re-heat

  • chuck it all in the slow cooker before haring off to work. come home to lovely aroma, and dinner ready

  • I use a kettle. I know it sounds simple but not often used in the US so was a huge time-saver for me after moving here.

  • cook your baked beans in the microwave, pre grate your cheese and place into ziplock bags and use quorn mince as cooking time is super speedy!

  • If you’re a pudding fan, when you make a crumble topping, make up a huge batch. Pop the unused mix into bags and freeze. Next time you want a crumble use it straight from the freezer. You can also do this with a rubbed in mix for shortcrust pastry. Make it up straight from frozen and there’s no need to chill the pastry! It looks a bit grainy when you roll it but, somehow, it sorts itself out as it bakes. 🙂

  • If you need boiling water for pasta or veg do it in the kettle. Quicker and energy-saving 🙂

  • Have all the ingredients to hand before you start and wash up as you go along.

  • freeze pre-chopped fresh herbs in ice cubes in an ice cube tray ready to add to soups and stews. No need to defrost them first, just pop in as needed

  • Put a piece of baking paper over the zester, it leaves all the zest on the paper and not stuck in the zester!

  • My biggest time saver was putting together a meal planner. I used to spend ages looking in the fridge/freezer/cupboards and deciding what to make but with a toddler and baby demanding attention I needed to speed up. Now I get know exactly what I’m going to make, know I have everything I need and can do any marinades etc the night before.

  • plan weekly even a monthly menu, it saves loads of money and time and then a batch cook at the weekend then freeze. If all else fails, go to mums lol


    Chop up lemon slices and freeze them. Not on.y does this save time when serving drinks but it also saves money!

  • I buy ready made things like garlic paste for when I haven’t much time.

  • Use the food processor attachment to slice veg!

  • Use the microwave as much as possible

  • Keep your kitchen clean and organized at all times.

  • I make big batches of sauce with passata, onions, celery, carrots etc which I freeze & they can then be used to quickly make bolognaise sauce, chilli, casseroles etc.

  • When you have time at the weekend, chop a bunch of peppers, onions and other veg and store them in containers in the fridge so during the week when you are cooking a meal after work you can just throw them in the pan/wok/oven and save yourself some time!

  • double up recipes and freeze one half. Makes life so much easier

  • have worchester sauce in your cupboard u can put in anything

  • instead of peeling the skin of the garlic put it in a pot with a lid and shake it! the skin will come of so easy and quick

  • Don’t wash up, let the hubby do it after 😉

  • i like to take a little time to chop up veg so that when it comes to making dinner its all ready to cook

  • Make sure you have all your ingrediants before starting the receipe

  • Have the sink full of hot soapy water to wash dishes as you go along