For people who care about their food

10 Minutes to Table by Xanthe Clay

Real Food in 10 Minutes – No Cheating

This sounded good to me so I bought the book. I’m a big fan of Ainsley Harriott’s Gourmet Express, after all, and ideas for good food in ten minutes naturally appealed to me.

Xanthe is very much in favour of good home cooking and makes a big thing about not cheating:

I’ve also avoided ‘cheats’, the kind that involve whipping up a clever casserole with a tin of mushroom soup. There are three main reasons for this. I don’t want to send you schlepping round shops for a particular brand which is the only one that will work; they often contain doubtful ingredients; and on top of that they can give homemade food a shop-bought taste – and what’s the point of that?

The contents section of the book includes:


  • Introduction
  • Meat
  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Veg
  • Fast ingredients
  • Basic rules for fast food
  • Index

Thai green curry is one of my favourites, so I thought I’d look at Xanthe’s version.

Green Chicken Curry

This is a nod to a Thai curry, although aficionados will notice that it’s not authentic – no shrimp paste, no holy basil, no lots of things. Never mind – it hits the right buttons when you want a whiff of south-east Asia, on a tight budget and without a cupboard full of esoteric ingredients. Oh yes, and in 10 minutes. Boiled rice is the thing to eat with this, but it’s impossible to cook rice from scratch in less than 12 minutes, so use a cooked pouch of rice for the microwave.

Eh? For the sake of an extra two minutes you’d buy ready cooked rice? Also I thought I read in the introduction, “I don’t use a microwaves [sic] either…”

This is starting to remind me of Delia Smith saying one thing and doing another, such as when she announced that ready meals were sad.

I’ll concede that the above is some kind of green curry but to suggest it’s anything like a Thai curry is just ludicrous. It’s no more Thai than a Cornish pasty. How I wish that people would stop calling things Thai just because they have a Thai ingredient in them. BBC Good Food is the worst culprit for doing that.

Anyway, here’s my version of Thai green curry, which admittedly takes a lot more than 10 minutes to make.

Despite getting off to a bad start with this book, I shall probably return to it later but I’ve written enough for one day. The book certainly has some rave reviews on Amazon so it can’t be all bad.

10 Minutes to Table by Xanthe Clay

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

Hardback, 176 pages
2009, Mitchell Beazley
ISBN 978 1 84533 4956
RRP: £14.99

2 Responses to “10 Minutes to Table by Xanthe Clay”

  1. Mr Not Delia

    I was curious to see exactly what was in the recipe, so I dug the book back out of ND’s bookcase. Here it is:

    • 2 chicken thighs
    • (Fair enough so far. But then…)

    • 3 courgettes or other veg
    • (Uh-oh. Are these supposed to be substitutes for golf ball aubergines? And supposing you don’t have courgettes but you happen to have, say, a couple of parsnips? Are they OK?)

    • bunch of spring onions
    • 1 green chilli or a splash of chilli sauce
    • (Sorry, but chilli sauce just doesn’t cut it.)

    • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled
    • (Galangal’s ideal, but not always easy to come by. So ginger’s an acceptable substitute.)

    • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
    • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • (Turmeric? Where the hell did that bright idea come from? It’s meant to be a Thai curry, isn’t it?)

    • 50g (1¼ fl oz) coconut cream
    • bunch of coriander, stems only (save the leaves for another dish)
    • (Hmm… by all means use the stems – and definitely the roots – but I wouldn’t save the leaves for something else. Just use the whole thing.)

    • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)

    So no, not very Thai at all, really. On the other hand, it still beats the BBC Good Food recipe, which included just four ingredients besides the chicken – and one of those was broccoli, for goodness’ sake.

  2. Not Delia

    Thanks, Mr ND. Good to see you’re so well trained. 😉

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