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5 Ingredients 10 Minutes by Jules Clancy

Let me begin by saying that every kitchen needs this cookbook. A bold statement, I know. The thing is, I am easily seduced by the promise of a “meal in minutes” and “only (fill in the appropriate number) ingredients.” Often, however, the result is a collection of recipes that a) lack flair and creativity, or b) require me to possess Olympic-level multi-tasking and time-management abilities, neither of which suits my cooking style. 5 Ingredients 10 Minutes, by Jules Clancy, is true to its promise, and then adds a few dashes of a bit of something special.

As its title reads, 5 Ingredients 10 Minutes is a collection of recipes that contain no more than five ingredients, all of which are easy to obtain, and themselves don’t require much more than a preparatory chop (this book is from the “why soak beans when a tin will do?” school of thought). But, while limited in number and already sitting in most pantries, the ingredients are still interesting, with exciting and enticing flavour combinations. The instructions are straightforward, with no superfluous “waffle” to distract from the steps you need to follow, and the execution really is as quick as 10 minutes – without having to work up a sweat.

Now, as a vegetarian, I was thrilled to discover pages brimming with mostly vegetarian meals, and those that are meat and poultry based, are easily altered. 5 Ingredients 10 Minutes places a strong emphasis on vegetables, salads, grains, and pulses, and all of the recipes are of a light, healthy, and virtuous nature. And my personal pièce de resistance: each recipe comes with an offering of variations from the main recipe, including options for replacement ingredients, dairy/nut/gluten/soy-free, vegan, budget, and those for when you’re short on time. For those of you who are confident to “play” in the kitchen, these are also ideal base recipes to “spice up” with a dash of this, a pinch of that, and a squeeze of something else, should the inspiration take you.

5 Ingredients 10 Minutes is beautifully and elegantly, yet simply presented, and the food photography is exquisite. Since I received my copy in the post (thank you Penguin!) I have had it out at least once a week, and I keep diving back in to try new recipes, although I do have a few household regulars that I can’t resist making over and over (I especially recommend the Broccoli and Green Curry Soup, and the Pea and Lentil Salad). My advice: go and buy this book! You won’t be disappointed.


5 Ingredients 10 Minutes, by Jules Clancy, is published by Penguin. RRP is $37.00.