Blondies (white chocolate and cranberries brownies)

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You might like the man or not, but the truth is Gordon Ramsay’s dishes are always unpretentious, non-fuss and are always – but always – delicious. If you follow the instructions, you will get what is promised. All you normally need is a few simple ingredients, utensils everyone has in the kitchen and a couple of cooking techniques.  And voilà!, dinner is sorted… His last series – Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course –  is meant to be a return to cooking basics. I was about to yawn and change channels, when I realised what how simple, easy and very tasty  the dishes were. While it still might be basic, these are definitely  calories worthwhile taking. A few minutes into the episode, I had decided to a)buy the book; b) bake this cake.

Very conveniently, I had something to celebrate at the office a few days after. Shortly after lunch time, it was gone… It was a really-really-really good cake. Very sugary, but packed with flavours. You cannot go wrong with white chocolate, vanilla and cranberries, can you?

Blondies (white chocolate and cranberries brownie, adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course)

Ingredients

  • 150g dried cranberries
  • 2* 100g white chocolate bars
  • 225g flour
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 300g  sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 oC. Butter and flour a baking dish (or use a non stick baking spray). Cover the bottom of the dish with parchment paper.

Put the sugar in a large bowl. Melt the butter, without letting it boil. Stir it  in the sugar and whisk until it is smooth.

Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and the salt together.

Beat the eggs and vanilla into the sugar mixture, one by one.  Fold in  half the flour mixture until all the lumps are gone.  Add the rest of the flour and carry on mixing until is well incorporated. Finally, drop in the white chocolate and cranberries and mix until they are evenly distributed.

Spoon the batter into the baking dish, and put in the stove for about 20-25min. Bake until the blondies are light brown around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean


Pork chops with sweet and sour red peppers

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After the blondies, another dish out from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course.  Insort, three main ingredients to a delicious dish super easy to put together… All of a sudden, all these recipes with loads of cream, chorizo, stock seem a bit too baroque and convoluted.  Tweaking a bit the methods you can also end up with a quasi-healthy dish.  Meaning, using olive oil sparingly, skipping the butter and take out the fat from the chops. Well, sort of – or at least, this is want I want to believe because this combination is really outstanding.

Pork chops with red peppers (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course)

Ingredients

Pork chops

  • 2 pork chops, about 200g each
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin on, crushed
  • small bunch of thyme
  • butter

Sweet and Sour Peppers

  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and thinly sliced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

First, prepare the peppers. Take a large frying pan and put enough olive oil to cover  its bottom. Heat until piping hot  and then add the onion and peppers. Season with salt and pepper, add the sugar and sauté over a high heat until soft and coloured.

Add the vinegar and let it bubble for a minute or two until it has reduced and the peppers are soft. Turn down the heat, add the tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Take the peppers out of the pan and set  aside to infuse.

Wipe the pan clean, ready to cook the pork.

Using a sharp knife, make cuts into the fat of the chops, about 5mm deep and at 3–4cm intervals, making sure you don’t cut into the meat. (This will stop the meat from curling up during cooking and will make it cook more evenly.) Season the chops on both sides,

Place the cleaned-out frying pan over high heat and put enough oil to cover the bottom. Let it heat until piping hot and add the chops, garlic and thyme and fry for 2–3 minutes until coloured. Turn and fry for a further 2–3 minutes on the other side.

Towards the end of cooking time, add 3 knobs of butter. Let it cook for a while, pressing the fat again the sides of the pan to render the fat. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and place with the herbs on top of the chops.

Transfer the chops to a plate, and rest for 5–10 minutes, spooning over the basting butter now and again. Serve the chops on top of the peppers with the resting juices.