Your sunday brunch cannot get much better than this – this is a warm, comforting and tasty dish, which while please the toughest crowds. For extra points, the pepper and tomato sauce can be made in advance. Just a technical tip, though. Do not forget to cover the pan while the eggs are poaching. The steam will set the white on the top of egg leaving the yolk runny and golden, just like you want it.
Gordon Ramsay’s North African eggs (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course) .
- 2 shallots finely diced (replaced by 2 medium likes finely sliced as one of the guests is allergic)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon of flaked piri-piri (or red chilli finely sliced)
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 5 fresh tomatoes roughly chopped
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
- 2 tablespoons finely sliced spring onion
Heat the oil in a heavy based pan until is piping hot. Add the chopped shallots, season with salt and pepper and let them sweat for 5 minutes. When the onions are soft, add the sliced peppers and continue to sweat for another 5 minutes more
Add the cumin seeds, garlic and chilli, give it a good stir to coat them in oil. Let them cook for a couple of minutes, and the then add the tomatoes.
Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the mixture has the consistency of a thick sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make 4 wells in the vegetable mixture and break an egg into each. Cover the pan and poach the eggs until set, about 10 minutes. Scatter the surface with the chopped coriander and a good grinding of black pepper. Serve immediately with crusty bread to mop up the juices.
A bit overcooked (mea culpa)… Otherwise, a spot on take on shortbread, probably the best British biscuit of all time. Very buttery and crumbly, ideal to eat with coffee or tea or in a moment of high sugary need. They can also be used to impress
the beasts lovely co-workers on the occasion of yet-another-project-update-meeting. And, maybe, the mother in law, in the case that there was indeed one…
Lavender shortbread (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course)
- 340g plain flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 225g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
- 140g caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
- 2 tablespoons of finely chopped lavender
Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt and set aside. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electrical mixer until smooth and creamy.
Turn the mixer to its lowest setting and, with the motor running, add the lavender and then the flour a little at a time.
Stop mixing as soon as the dough comes together. Shape into a flattened ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20min.
Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 180oC.
To make the shortbread fingers, gently pack the dough into a lightly buttered into a shallow baking tray ( roughly 30cm*20cm). Score the surface to mark out the fingers and prick all over with a fork. If you want to make circular biscuits, roll out the dough on a lightly floured board to 5-7cm thick, then stamp out the rounds using a 6cm cutter. Transfer to 2 lightly buttered baking sheets, leaving each space between each biscuit, then them with a fork.
Bake for 15-20min until pale golden, checking ofter as the ovens vary and the shortbread can easily burn. Cool in the tin or on the sheet until firm, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
“Oh” said the mobile calorie intake unit my friend. “You made tortilla for brunch?”. “No, I haven’t”, I answered. “This is a frittata”. “Like an omelette?” asked a confused mobile calorie intake unit friend. “No, no….” was the only possible answer “It is a frittata… just eat it, will you?”. Thankfully, he did. Otherwise I would have to start a lenghty on the specifics of omelettes, tortillas and frittatas. A tortilla can never be baked and it is always done in a two step process (indeed a process, until you learn how to turn it around without a mess of epic proportions). An omelette is normally made with 2 or 3 eggs and folded. A frittata is baked – or fried and baked… And, let’s not forget tortillas are Spanish, omelettes are French and frittatas are Italian. But, all of them, a perfect dish for a festive brunch.
Pea, goat cheese and bacon frittata ( adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course)
- Olive oil to fry
- 8 slices of smoked bacon, chopped
- 2 medium leeks
- 150g peas, thawed
- a few basil leaves, roughly sliced
- 8 large eggs, beaten
- 4 tablespoons of parmesan cheese grated and enough to sprinkle all over the frittata
- 150g soft goat’s cheese, thickly sliced
- sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180oC oven and the grill on its highest setting.
Heat oil in a non stick ovenproof large frying pan over medium-high heat. Fry the bacon for 2-3min.
Add the red pepper. Continue to cook for another few minutes until the bacon is golden brown and crisp. Add the leeks, and let it sweat until everything is tender.
Toss in the peas and cook for another minute or two, then add the basil roughly missing.
Cut the goat’s cheese in chunks and scatter half of it over the top.
Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat them. Add the parmesan cheese. Season with lots of black pepper.
Poor the beaten eggs over the vegetables and gently shake over medium heat. As the omelette begins to set at the bottom, grate the remaining goat’s cheese on top and season with pepper.
Place the plan under the hot grill in the oven for a few minutes until cooked through and golden on top.
Slide the frittata out of the pan and cut into wedges to serve.
I would have never thought raw broccoli could taste this good… Please don’t even mention it is often considered a super-food (whatever that means), that raw broccoli has more anti-oxidants than cooked one and how much finer it has. It supposed to be a side dish for a dinner party, not a statement piece or declaration of intentions, OK?
Broccoli slaw (adapted from MailOnline’s Food special part one: Gordon Ramsay’s ultimate home cooking)
- 1 head of broccoli
- 100g raisins
- 100g whole blanched almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
For the dressing
- 200ml natural yoghurt
- 1–11⁄2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- pinch of sugar
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut off and discard the broccoli stalks. Chop the head into small pieces. Place in a salad bowl and add the almonds and currants. Set aside.
Put the yoghurt for the dressing into a bowl and stir in the vinegar, starting with 1 tablespoon, and adding more later if needed. Add the sugar, mix well and season. Taste and add the remaining vinegar or a little extra sugar if necessary.
Pour the dressing over the broccoli, toss well and serve. In case you want to prepare it advance, you can kept in the fridge overnight.
I saw it on TV, I did it and I ate it… well, with a bit of help from the mobile calorie intake units. It is just the perfect dessert – it is glamorous, delicious and can be made in advance. There is not much technique to it, except, maybe, peeling the pears. And, it might be the healthiest part of dinner, even…
Poached pears with ginger, red chilli pepper and star anise (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking)
- 8-10 ripe conference pears, peeled but with the stem intact
- 200g of sugar
- 3 thumbs of ginger, cut into thick slices (about 20cm)
- 4 star anise, crushed to fine powder with a mortar and pestle
- 3 peperoncino (or red chillies peppers, to taste)
- Enough cold water to cover the pears.
Peel the pears with a potato peeler, taking care to leave the stems intact.
Put the water, the sugar and the ginger in a saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the pears and peperoncino and poach for about half hour until their are soft and cooked through.
Set aside and leave the pears to cool in the syrup.
When you are ready to serve, just put the pears in the plate and sprinkle them with the star anise dust.
If you want, you can bubble the syrup for a a few more minutes to thicken a bit and serve with the pears. Or, you can prepare a chocolate sauce (just melt the chocolate in bain marie, with a bit of butter, being careful not to boil it. Add some cream and mix well). Add a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra quick.
It was supposed to be a thank-you-for-all-the-love-and-birthday-presents dinner, but it turned out to be a bit of a messy even with an ever changing list of mobile calorie intake units guests. I ended up cooking for 8 (plus blog), when only 6 had confirmed. To make things works, one of the units guests got lost in Dübendorf looking for my flat (true story). It might have been a blessing in disguise: again, I had to fight bravely for the last piece of meat to feed my blog… That good it was. For bonus points, it is super easy to do. You just put it in the stove and (sort of) forget about it. And, happy guests, happy host.
Slow roasted smoked pork shoulder with chipotle mayonnaise (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking)
For the pork
- 3 tablespoons hot smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar cane
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 4 thyme sprigs, leaves finely chopped, stems reserved
- Olive oil
- 2.5Kg pork shoulder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the chipotle mayonnaise
- 300g mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons of chipotle paste
- 1 teaspoon runny honey
- 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
Preheat the oven to 140ºC
Mix the paprika, sugar, garlic and thyme leaves in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, then add a little olive oil to create a paste. Rub the mixture all over the pork, massaging it into the meat. If possible, leave in the fridge overnight to marinate. If not, you can start cooking straight away.
Roast for 1 hour, then cover with foil and cook for a further 4–5 hours, until the meat is really tender and falling off.
Meanwhile, make the chipotle mayonnaise. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Once the pork is cooked, cover it loosely with foil and set aside to rest for up to 1 hour. Serve with the smoky mayonnaise.
Last time I tried pork and prawn balls, it was a mess… After that, I talked myself to never try this dish again and stick to the Asian restaurant around the corner for my prawn and pork fix. Then, I saw Gordon Ramsay cooking them on his Ultimate Cookery Course and I sort of changed my mind. As usual, a very brief list of ingredients and a method which looked foul proof – definitely something worthwhile trying. In fact, it is so easy to do it has become one dishes I do over and over again. In less than 30min, I have the balls ready to be eaten. To make it even more convenient, once fried, the balls keep in the fridge for a few days. All you have to worry about is get the stock going and in less than 10min, you have your freshly cooked dinner ready. For added valued, almost not fat and no carbohydrates in sight…
Pork and prawn balls in aromatic broth (adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course)
For the balls
- 100g raw prawns, peeled, deveined and finely chopped until almost minced
- 250g minced pork
- 1½ tbsp finely chopped chives
- 1.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and diced
- Enough sunflower sun for pan frying the balls
- 2 big handfuls of spinach
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 spring onion, trimmed and finely sliced, to garnish
For the aromatic broth
- 1L stock, home-made or from stock cubes
- 1 lemon grass stalk
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
Place the minced shrimps in a bowl with the pork, chives and ginger. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper and mix until the ingredients are well combined and sticking together. Roll the mixture into small balls about the size of a golf ball. Transfer to a plate, cover and chill until needed.
Meanwhile, get started on the broth. Heat the stock in a saucepan, add the other ingredients and mix well. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes to infuse, then taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and add a dash of oil. Fry the pork and prawn balls, turning frequently, for 6–7 minutes until golden brown all over. Transfer into the gently simmering pan of broth and leave to cook for 5 minutes until the balls are cooked through. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute until just wilted.
Taste the dish and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve garnished with spring onions
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)
- 2 pork chops, about 200g each
- olive oil, for frying
- 2 garlic cloves, skin on, crushed
- small bunch of thyme
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
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.
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)
- 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
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
At some point over Christmas, I just felt the need to have something sweet but at the same time fresh and light. Meaning, a dessert that didn’t involve deep fried dough or extra sugary milk and eggs concoctions, all covered with even more sugar and a generous amount of cinnamon. While it was not sugar or cinnamon free, these fragrant orange slice were very nice break from all those Christmas excesses. And, for extra bonus, they provided the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C. Overall, it is super easy dish to do, and is ideal to finish a decadent rich meal. Original recipe was found in Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food.
Fragrant orange slices
- 4 large oranges
- 1 1/2 tablespoon runny honey
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- pinch of ground cinnamon
- 50g toasted walmuts for pistachios, roughly chopped.
Slice off the top and bottom of each orange and place upright on a chopping board. Following the curve of the fruit, cut off the skin, making sure that you remove the withe pith as well. Turn the peeled orange on one side and cut into slices, removing any pips as you do so.
Arrange the orange slices overlapping on individual plates. Mix the honey with the orange blossom water until evenly blended, then drizzle over the orange slices. Mix the cinnamon and chopped walnuts together and scatter over the oranges to serve.