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Ramsay brings it home
6:00am Saturday 5th October 2013 in Lifestyle
After the success of his Ultimate Cookery Course, Gordon Ramsay has followed up with a new guide to home cooking. He tells Andy Welch about the pitfalls to avoid and offers a few recipes to try for yourself.
Whether you struggle to make toast or boast impressive kitchen skills, we could all learn a thing or two from Gordon Ramsay.
The fiery TV star might be more famous nowadays for swearing at clueless restaurateurs and hotel owners, but don't forget he's also one of the best chefs this country's ever produced, with 14 Michelin stars currently awarded to his restaurant empire.
As he pointed out in his recent Channel 4 series Ultimate Cookery Course, he's been a chef for more than 25 years, has worked for the best cooks in the world and, in turn, has taught some of the finest too.
His new book and upcoming TV series, Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Home Cooking, which is due to air later this year, follows on from where the Ultimate Cookery Course left off, aiming to strip away any complexities about making amazing food in limited time.
"I want to show that cooking can be fun and exciting," says the 46-year-old father-of-four. "It's all about encouraging people to take a fresh look at familiar ingredients, and throw in some new ones to create a delicious meal. I want people to have confidence in the kitchen."
He maintains that amateurs overcomplicating things is the biggest problem he sees in home kitchens, a place where simplicity and ease should be the main goals. He thinks people pile pressure on themselves too.
"When you cook in a professional kitchen you must keep to a standard and ensure every element of the dish is perfect," he says. "When you cook at home, you're cooking for the people you love, family and friends.
"Home cooking should be fun and if you make a mistake or something's not perfect, it's OK, you can keep practising.
"Home cooks have become more savvy and adventurous with their ingredients and methods in the past 10 to 15 years," he adds. "With the rise of farmers' markets, artisan bakers and local butchers, there are a lot of different and interesting foods readily available. You've just got to learn to cook them properly."
Of course, he recommends all of the recipes in his new book, but if pushed to pick out a few favourite dishes he's particularly excited by the sausage and caramelised red onion hotpot and the home-made fish fingers, which give what can often be thought of as children's food a grown-up, herby twist.
Among other standout recipes are the beef stew with mustard suet dumplings - something every cook should have in their repertoire. Making home-made baked beans might seem like a faff, when the tinned varieties we're used to are so good, but Ramsay's version, served with crispy potato cakes, is definitely one to try, while the chocolate pistachio semifreddo's easy to make but looks and tastes like something you might find in a quality bistro.
The pear and crunchy granola muffins, meanwhile, could grace the finest packed lunch or take a quick tea break to whole new levels.
After the stress of filming Kitchen Nightmares and Hotel Hell, Ramsay says the relative calmness of making his next series has been a welcome change - and it sees him return to his roots, showing people how to cook good grub!
"It's about showing that anyone can create mouth-watering meals," he says. "I really enjoyed spending time with my family in the kitchen and getting everyone involved. My youngest, Tilly, gives me a good run for my money, she loves cooking."
Here are three of Ramsay's new recipes for you to try.
Carrot, cumin and orange salad
5 carrots, peeled and grated
Zest and juice of one orange
75g pumpkin seeds
50g sunflower seeds
1½tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1tbsp Dijon mustard
1tbsp runny honey
1tbsp white wine vinegar
3-4tbsp olive oil
2tbsp torn coriander leaves
2tbsp torn mint leaves
Mix the carrots in a bowl with the orange zest and juice, the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan until golden. Allow to cool, then grind in a pestle and mortar with a little salt, then stir into the carrot mixture.
Combine the mustard, honey, vinegar and olive oil in a bowl. Add the mint and coriander leaves, then taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Pour over the salad and toss well. This can be eaten straight away, or will keep for up to two days in the fridge.
Home-made fish fingers
500g white fish fillet, skinned (pollock is perfect)
4 sprigs of dill, leaves only
100g panko breadcrumbs
4tbsp plain flour
2 free-range eggs, beaten
Sunflower oil, for frying
Knob of butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Slice the fish into chunky fish finger shapes, down the fillet, rather than across it. Sprinkle lightly with salt, then cover and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up.
Finely chop the dill and mix with the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Put the flour into another shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. Put the beaten eggs into a third bowl.
Using kitchen paper, rub any excess salt off the fish. Dust the fish pieces in flour and shake off any excess, then dip in the egg, making sure all the sides are coated. Allow any excess to drip off, then cover in the dill breadcrumbs. Roll the fish between your hands before cooking. This will get rid of any hard edges that might otherwise burn in the pan
Place a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat and add enough sunflower oil to lightly coat the bottom. When hot, shallow-fry the fish fingers on either side for three minutes. Add the butter towards the end of the cooking time to help the fish fingers crisp up and turn a deep golden colour.
Drain on kitchen paper if necessary and season with a pinch of sea salt before serving.
Baked spicy Mexican eggs
Olive oil, for frying and greasing
1 red onion, peeled and diced
1 wide green chilli, sliced (such as jalapeno, or ordinary green chilli if unavailable)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1tsp cumin seeds
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
4-6 corn tortillas, halved
6 free-range eggs
50g Cheddar cheese, finely grated
2 pinches of chilli flakes, or to taste
Small handful of coriander, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4, and heat the grill as well if you have an oven grill function.
Place a frying pan over a medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. Add the onion, chilli and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper and saute until tender and dark golden, about six minutes. Add the cumin and cook until aromatic. Stir in the tomatoes and gently simmer for five minutes. Add the beans, heat through for two minutes, then set aside.
Grease a baking dish with a little oil and sprinkle some seasoning in the bottom of it. Line the dish with the tortillas, overlapping them and raising them slightly above the edge of the dish. Pour in the tomato mixture, then make six little wells in it.
Break an egg into a cup, then pour it into a well so that the yolk sits neatly in the middle. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Sprinkle over the cheese and chilli flakes and season with salt and pepper.
Place the dish on a shelf two-thirds of the way up the oven so that the grill (if on) can colour the cheese. Bake for eight to 10 minutes, or until the egg whites are cooked through, the yolks runny and the cheese melted and golden. If you don't have an oven grill, bake for a further three to four minutes.
Scatter with the coriander before serving.
Three of the best
:: Geeta's Premium Mango Chutney, £2.09 for 320g, Ocado
Thick, sticky and not just great with curries as tradition dictates, but excellent with hams and cheeses too. And, if you feel inclined, spread on doorstep toast instead of marmalade, or use as a dip for crisps or tortillas.
:: Maille Pepper Sauce With A Touch Of Armagnac And Espelette Pepper, £1.49 for 200g, Tesco
Mustard and sausages are a perfect match but with Bonfire Night approaching, try this instead. It's smooth and creamy yet packs the necessary kick.
:: Tiptree Organic Onion Relish, £1.69, available online or from various delis and wholefood stores
Sweet, but not overly so, there is no finer accompaniment for a lip-smacking mature cheddar sandwich.
:: Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Home Cooking is published by Hodder & Stoughton, £25
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