I seem to have got stuck with my cook book reviews and my undoing was taking a year to review Tom Kitchin’s From Nature To Plate. I though that once I had finished that book I would be able to tackle my ever growing pile and get a review done once a month. But that has not happened and the reason it takes me so long is that I find so many recipes I want to make before I even start thinking of writing a review. This happened to me with the Ultimate Cookery Course, and not only did I find so many recipes to test, I also made one recipe 3 times. If you read my post for the lemongrass custard pots you will see that I have now decided to approach the way I review a recipe book from a different perspective. So, without further ado, let me share with you some thoughts on Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course.
I watched the related program on television and Gordon says “100 recipes to stake your life on” all the time. I would take that with a pinch of salt for most recipe books, but for this one it rings true for each and every recipe I have tried. The book starts with classics with a twist and I am going to be brave and try making beef wellingtons (page 36) when next I find some fillets at a decent price. From this section I made a baked cheesecake (page 47) and when I poured the mixture into the cake tin it was so thin I did not think it would work, but it did! I will make this again and next time I will use a better quality cream cheese as I think that will make the world of difference.
This section is followed by one on fish and here you will find tips on how to buy and cook fish. I am definitely going to try his recipe for roasted mackerel with garlic and paprika (page 65/66) as I love mackerel. I made the mussels with celery and chilli (page 77) for dinner guests and everyone who tried them thought they were really good!
Next he moves on to meat and shares with his readers how to joint and debone a chicken. I would try making the easy bollito misto (page 101) as I love Italian sausages, but as I don’t like lentils I am giving this one a miss. The next chapter is on spices and I love that all the spices Gordon considers to be basic are in my drawer at home. There is a recipe for roasted squash houmous (page 121) that is on my list as well as jerk chicken (page 128) as I have seen this being cooked so often on cookery shows. The section on good food for less is fantastic when coming from a chef who does not have to worry about money! He includes recipes for spicy black beans with feta and avocado (page 145) and North African eggs (page 146) which happens to be one of my favourite breakfast meals.
As someone who loves to entertain, recipes dedicated to cooking in advance are perfect for me. I am totally in sync with Gordons when he says “an organized cook is a relaxed cook”. From this section I have made the slow roasted pork belly with fennel (page 189) twice as per the recipe book, and once using Asian flavours instead. Each time the skin has crisped up and even though this photograph is not the best, I have to share with you how awesome this dish is, straight out of the oven.
The next time we entertain I will make the slow cooked beef with orange gremolata (page 193) as I am sure by now my guests are getting a bit tired of eating pork belly 😉 Gordon then moves on to cooking for one or two which of course is ideal for Dave and I. When I have a gap in my schedule I am going to treat Dave and I to Sunday breakfast of blueberry and ricotta pancakes with yoghurt and honey (page 224). This chapter is followed by cooking for crowds and here I have found a recipe for fresh prawn rolls (page 239) which I will adapt when cray fishing season starts again.
I find myself drooling over the baking section which starts with bread recipes and ends with malt chocolate doughnuts (page 282/283). I have recently found some malted barley syrup which I am going to try and use with this recipe, and test Alex’s air fryer at the same time.
Not only are the recipes fantastic, but Gordon includes tips on what to buy to kit out your kitchen. The only thing on Gordon’s list that I do not have is a decent probe thermometer. That is going onto my wish list. Each section includes basic techniques and the book ends with basic skills including how to poach an egg and make a roux. It is from this section that I made the lemongrass custard cups (page 309) which were delicious to say the least.
Gordons emphasizes the need for cooks to taste their food, something I think is so important. Not every recipe has a photograph, and with this book I really don’t mind as you can tell by the recipes that they work. I would recommend that you get yourself a copy of this book if you are new to cooking or if you want to add to your collection of good recipe books!
First published in Great Britain by Hodder & Stoughton in 2012
ISBN number 978-1-444-75669-2
Hardcover – 320 pages
What I blogged:
- two years ago – Secret Santa