Summary of Gordon Ramsay Cooking for Friends Cookbook

Published: 07th August 2009
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Cooking for Friends is for me one of Gordon ramsay's best cookbooks. A wide variety of recipes to suit every palate and cooking ability, it really is a great investment. The book is also beautifully put together with amazing photos that will make your mouth water.

From the front cover flap:-

'Away from the high-octane energy of the professional kitchen, Gordon's home is a relaxed family affair, where cooking s fun and everyone gets involved in preparing food for family and friends. The food Gordon cooks here embodies his strongly held views: use in-season, fresh ingredients at their peak; support local producers and farmers' markets whenever we can; and celebrate our food culture and its many influences.....
...'Cooking for Friends' is full of Gordon's best-loved versions of classic British dishes.....and contains more than 100 of his favourite recipes, which he loves to cook and eat with friends and family - uncomplicated recipes but with Gordon's remarkable feeling for flavour and his technical know-how.'

From the introduction:-

'As a chef, I work at a thousand miles an hour, but when I'm at home, I want to slow down. I leave my chef's jacket at work, and I walk into a domestic setting, where everything is completely different. At home, our kitchen is family-run, and it's a relaxed place. A lot of people see cooking as a chore, but we bring an element of fun into it..........'

269 high quality matt pages split over 9 chapters:-

Hot and cold soups
Pasta and grains
Fish and shellfish
Meat and poultry
Pies and tarts
Vegetables and salads
Puddings and ices
Chocolate and coffee

sandwiched between a 9-page introduction and a full index, which is enhanced with finished-dish illustrations shown in italics.

Each chapter opens with some relevant notes and a list of the recipes contained within, for quick reference.
Each recipe is clearly laid out with a bold title and relevant text, along wiith the method, the number of servings and the list of ingredients. The page numbers are on the edge of the right hand page, which aids quick flicking!
The book is interspersed with illustrations of the finished dishes, although these are rather fewer than expected, in my opinion.....(hence my four star rating)...... along with on-location shots of GR, his family and friends.

My favourite pud is no particular secret, and, as I share Gordon's passion for the caramelized apple flavour and texture in an Apple Tarte Tatin..... his recipe for 'Caramelized Apple Pie', from page 207, really hits the spot:-

'I love the flavour of caramelized apples in a tarte tatin, and this is a way of bringing that flavour into a classic apple pie.
Also, because the apples are pre-cooked, they won't shrink during baking and create air pockets inside the pie.
I like to serve the pie while it's still warm with either a little pouring cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.'

A delicious twist which makes the finished product taste divine, and following on from G's 'Lamb Shank Cassoulet` served with sautéed savoy cabbage and chunks of malted grain bread....simply SUPER to share, after an October stroll in the woods with all our friends!
Which... of what this book is all about!

A taste of other recipes within:-

Asparagus velouté
Conger eel bisque
Crayfish chowder
Farfalle with bacon, peas and sage
Grilled vegetable lasagne
Gordon's posh kedgeree (video feature above)
Wild mushroom barley risotto
Fish curry with lime and coconut rice
Grilled herrings with harissa
Fisherman's stew
Poached rabbit legs with gremolata
Pork fillet stroganoff
Home-made bangers
Classic mixed grill
Angus beef olives
Sweet potato and duck rösti with fried duck eggs
Honey roast ham
Shepherd's pie with Branston pickle
Cornish chicken pie
Fish pie with oysters and scallops
Roast winter vegetables
Spicy cauliflower stir-fry
Mixed mushroom salad
Pickled onions
Autumn fruit salad with thyme and ginger
Custard tart
Lemon meringue pie
Chocolate swirl cheesecake
Chocolate and coffee pots
Dark chocolate marquise

All in all, a 'homely'-type book, which is clear from the GR notes throughout, e.g.:-

From 'Pasta and grains`:-

'At home, we don't just stick to rice and spaghetti. Tana has begun to feed the kids a vegetarian meal once a week, which means being creative in combining pulses, grains and pasta with a variety of vegetables.
The kids love it when she experiments.
When the weather is cold we use a lot of barley, adding it to soups, stews, and winter salads. Barley can even take the place of rice in risotto.
The excellent barley risotto here has featured many a time on our restaurant menus............'

Chief Plonker - The Plonker Club
The Unofficial Gordon Ramsay Fanclub

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