My month with Gordon

Gordon Ramsay is my chef hero!  I think the reason for this is because his philosophy appears to be the fact that good, tasty, healthy food can be simple and doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In February I was gifted his Ultimate Cookery Course cook book.

The Ultimate Cookery Course
One of the best gifts I have received. Gordon Ramsay’s The Ultimate Cookery Course

Being kosher, recipes are often a problem when they are in a celebrity chef’s cook book. I have to substitute a lot of ingredients or the equivalent is unavailable and I have to try and make my own. Also these recipes tend to be long and complicated; it is easier to make up my own.

A client had told me about the TV show and that there was a cookery book out with the recipes shown on the show. I was so excited until I priced the book here. There was a special on Amazon, but they don’t deliver books to South Africa. A very kind soul heard my discussion on the books and how I had seen a few episodes and would love to try them.

Next thing you know I am in possession of the cookery book!

For the month of March I made one recipe a week from the book.  I am not being paid to review the book or promote it. I will tell you now that I will be making more recipes from the book! Each one I tried was successful even with having to make the necessary changes for dietary requirements.

Stuffed Chicken

Two carcasses picked clean! I double the recipe for stuffed chicken as there were 7 for dinner. I made two large chickens with stuffing. The stuffing recipe was easy to make.  Even with the two adaptions I needed to make, the chicken was amazing. Everyone cleared their plates and went back for more.

Beef Wellington

I messed that recipe up quite well and it was still a hit! Firstly I defrosted the wrong meat and ended up with 10 pieces of rib eye steak. I planned the meal for a Wednesday. I needed liver pate (we call it chopped liver) and the kosher butchers’ only have this available on Thursday night. Then I made the mushroom duxelle with ordinary button mushrooms as I couldn’t find wild mushrooms. For pancetta I used lamb maken.  I called the new recipe Beef Waterloo.

The recipe made 10 huge Wellingtons.  We ate for 2 days and even with the meat being slightly over cooked on the second day, it was still delicious.

While the maken didn’t have the same flavor of pancetta, the fat kept the beef moist. The duxelle worked out well and was very tasty too.

I do admit I will probably only do this again next year as it took me 3 hours to make.

Beef Wellington
Renamed Beef Waterloo. 10 Delicious servings

Sea Bream with Tomato and Herb Salsa

I substituted the Bream with Silverfish and I trusted the fishmonger when he said they were the same. My family are not big fish eaters. This dish was amazing and the family has agreed that I can make it again.

I have since started cooking all fish the way Gordon teaches in his show and the improvement is amazing. Fish is still not the most popular protein in my house, unless it is tinned tuna.

Gnocchi

I doubled the recipe and it wasn’t enough! I do think I need to invest in a ricer for this one. Gnocchi is quick and relatively easy to make.

Gnocchi
It may not look good, but the taste was phenomenal

I have made gnocchi before and even though it was nice, it was quite stodgy. This time the gnocchi were almost perfect, light and flavourful, and the one or two lumps didn’t deter anyone and I had to go back and make a second batch.

I now have new recipes to add to my recipe bank and a whole lot more to try.

Who is your favourite celebrity chef and why? What recipes have you made of theirs? Continue reading My month with Gordon

Flaming- The Open Flame

Last week we were very lucky, as we won some money on the Lotto and decided to use it to have the garage door fixed.  This cost us a lot less than expected, so after a really bad day at work, I asked my husband if we could use some of the money to get some takeaway pizza’s as I just didn’t have the energy to make the spaghetti bolognaise that was on my meal plan for that night.

Instead of getting takeaways we decided to go out for supper as a family.   This is an extremely rare treat as there are 6 of us in my family and, bless my husband and son, they are very big eaters. We decided to take the kids to a steak restaurant for dinner. The two younger ones had never been to this particular restaurant as Kosher restaurants are much more expensive than non-kosher ones. We went to ‘The Open Flame’ a kosher meat restaurant in Glenhazel.

The service was good, the tables and décor in keeping with the type of restaurant that Open Flame aspired to be, the lighting was dim, possibly too dim as I like to see what is on my plate. They serve a little platter with pieces of pita bread, with a small pickled salad, humus, crushed garlic in oil and green chilli salsa for dipping.  This was gone in seconds.

The waiter took our order, writing it down in his note book, our drinks arrived timeously and then it all went downhill.

The few times we have been to the Open Flame Restaurant, we have had the most amazing meals, so I thought this would be an easy review to write.

My son had almost finished before I could get a picture
My son had almost finished before I could get a picture

My husband, son and two daughters ordered the ribs, one daughter ordered it with onion rings and the others had chips. My eldest daughter and I ordered the scotch fillet medium rare and I chose onion rings. The meal arrived with chips for everyone! We sent it back.

My family thoroughly enjoyed their ribs which were ‘finger licking good’!   However, when I cut into my steak, I found that the steak knife was dull and thought this was the reason I could not cut into, what should have been, a butter soft steak. I turned on the torch on my phone only to discover that, besides dull blades, my steak was actually still raw. Back went my food!

Take two and I cut into my now, supposedly medium scotch fillet, and still struggled.  The steak was chewy and not tender at all and I then discovered there were still places where the meat was raw.

The head waiter was very professional, offering to take my steak off the bill. However, since I had already eaten 90% of it, this would have been wrong, in my opinion. He did give us a complimentary ice cream which was very welcome.

We saw some friends there eating burgers, which looked amazing! They were very happy with their meal.

Due to us being on a fairly strict budget it will be a long time before we eat there again, and probably longer, following the bad meal.

The rest of my family really enjoyed their dinner last night and are keen to go again.

The day I fell in Love

 

I finally found love!
I finally found love! Pin this if you agree!

I remember the day I fell in love! It was Saturday, on a winters’ afternoon, and I lay down on my bed to start a new book (a proof copy) that a friend had given me. Having read the blurb on the back, it was not a book I would normally read, but I had just finished my last book and there was nothing else to read, so I picked the book up and fell in love with an author I had never heard of and who writes in Genre I don’t read!

I read prolifically. Anyone who really knows me, knows that is where I spend my most money. I also read very quickly so I go through books too fast. I have a kindle and my mom, my mom in law and myself all belong to different book clubs and, still, I often run out of books. I also only read blood and guts, skiet en donder books, legal, medical, or police thrillers. I enjoy a lot of writers, but there hasn’t been one I actually love and have had to hold myself back from buying any of their books. I can usually wait till they arrive in one of the book clubs. That is no longer true! I even asked the author to be a Facebook friend! I love reading, I travel for fee though the books, I can be a detective, without have to get shot at, I can be a pathologist, without the smell of decay.

 

 

The author I fell in love with is Gareth Crocker.  The book, “The Last Road Trip”. I laughed and cried throughout the book, but when I was finished I felt good, despite the headache from crying. I have since passed the book around the family and given it back to the person it came from, for her to send to her mom in Durban.  I thought I liked it, maybe because the book was about elderly people living in a retirement village and the characters were so familiar, because my parents are in a retirement village.

Elphin Lodge Gallery

In true fan stalker fashion, I stole a picture off Gareth's page and cropped out the other person,
In true fan stalker fashion, I stole a picture off Gareth’s page and cropped out the other person, Hope you don’t mind!

The next book of his I read was “King”, I cried my heart out again and then laughed out loud. That book is about a Lion! So it is definitely the author and not the story, because I have had no dealings with any lions that I know of. I hate crying, in books or movies, but I still needed to get another book!

“Journey from Darkness”, was the next book I read and once again I was sucked into a beautiful story, and, even though I have never been to the actual places in the book, they were familiar. I felt myself rooting for the heroes, both human and four legged.

“Finding Jack” is a book I definitely wasn’t going to read. I hate books and movies set in any war.  Then my husband brought the video home, and after practically a full box of tissues for the snotty nose and a hug for my dog, I decided to read the book. Once again I am glad I did.

As I write this I can hear my son laughing as he reads “Ka boom”, which sadly only took me 4 hours to read! I can see myself, my brother and his friends in this story, and I am grateful my son is nearly 20 as he reads this; he was adventurous enough without these new ideas.

I am not only looking forward to reading “Never let go”, but for the first time, I really wish I had DSTV so that I could watch Gareth and friend’s latest effort “Jongo”, which started on Monday 15th. Thank goodness for my mom’s PVR!

Gareth Crocker books so far!
Gareth Crocker books so far!

This blog post is not a book review; as much as I love the books and can’t wait for more, it is about how trying new things can lead to new loves and new passions!

However if you want to know more about Gareth here is the link to his official page .http://www.garethcrocker.com

Take a chance on something new, you never know where it will lead you.

Tell me, do you have an author, whose books and works you wait patiently for and race to buy their latest releases?