Wednesday 2 December 2009

Gordon Ramsay's World Kitchen

Gordon Ramsay may have an amazing thirteen Michelin stars, but in this book he shows that he can still lower himself to the realms of the humble home cook and give us some exotic but surprisingly easy-to-make recipes. Gordon says that he's chosen a selection of his favourite dishes from ten very different cuisines : "Each chapter features dishes from a different country that we love to eat and would love to learn more about. Gordon delves into Middle Eastern, Thai, American, Chinese, Indian, Spanish, French, Italian, Greek and even our own British cooking". Alongside the recipes, there is also information on certain exotic ingredients and some instructions on cooking techniques that look more complicated than they really are when you know how. Shaping ravioli, for example, is fascinatingly simple once it's been demystified. Each newly-learnt technique is then used in a recipe on the next page to check you were paying attention !

The blurb on the book states : "No matter what you are in the mood for, you'll find something tasty in Gordon Ramsay's World Kitchen". You'll find several of the great classic exotic dishes that have been adopted by the British masses, so the next time you fancy an Indian or Chinese takeaway, you could try reaching for the recipe book instead of the phone and making one yourself. As Gordon says, "As our palates adapt and evolve, so too should our cooking repertoire". This book will give you some very traditional well-known dishes, like moussaka or chicken Madras, but also some surprisingly different ones, like chilled almond and garlic soup with grapes. I'd never have dreamed of putting those ingredients together in a million years !

The book starts with a chapter on French cooking, something I know a fair bit about as I am married to a Frenchman and living in France. The recipes are very authentic, typical and traditional but have been kept simple, using a surprisingly small number of complicated ingredients and relying mainly on basic store-cupboard ingredients, which was a pleasant surprise for a recipe book coming from a top chef ! Another recipe that leapt out at me was pan-fried watermelon with yoghurt and caramelised walnuts - something amazingly simple but you needed to have the idea in the first place !

What I really liked about this book was the strong presence from Gordon himself. It was great to read the little personal anecdotes and see the numerous photos of Gordon out of his chef's whites and into a Tshirt in (we could imagine) his own home kitchen. It's as if Gordon lays down the gauntlet and sets you a personal challenge when he says : "I hope that they (the recipes) will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new every week".

Gordon does give us an insight into strange exotic fayre but he prefers to keep things simple and give us recipes that we can really use - for example, he mentions a type of Spanish tortilla made with bull's testicles and cow's brains, but spares us the gory details, giving us instead the basic recipe that sounds much more palatable !

Gordon, and the meals he presents, comes across as approachable, unpretentious and homely - not at all what I was expecting, given his somewhat abrupt, aggressive persona on TV ! The F Word ? What would that be then ? Fresh, fun or just plain fantastic ?!

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £20

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd (6 Nov 2009)
ISBN-10: 1844007138
ISBN-13: 978-1844007134

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