Ramsay brings it home

Gordon Ramsay.
Gordon Ramsay.
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After the success of his Ultimate Cookery Course, Gordon Ramsay has followed up with a new guide to home cooking. He speaks 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.

“It’s about showing that anyone can create mouth-watering meals.”