Lately, I’ve been watching more Gordon Ramsay – both the new season of Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares (UK version, not US) – and have been enjoying it more and more. While the US shows play up the more sensational aspects of Ramsay’s character a bit more than the British ones, his overall goals of creating dishes with clean, simple flavors always seem to come through. It seems to be the underlying theme of his newest cookbook, Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food.
I say underlying because the book is actually about less-than-30-minute meals. Every recipe in the book takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and cook and each menu suggestion takes no more than 45 minutes. As usual with these “timed” recipe, it does help a bit if you have some knife skills and other cooking experience to help you out, but the book strikes me as a 30-minute meals book for chefs and home chefs – not for the same crowd that just wants to get some kind of casserole on the table at 6:30 (not that there is anything wrong with that!). The recipes range from things like beef fajitas with guacamole and frittatas, to dishes that call for more gourmet ingredients, like duck, quail’s eggs, blood sausage, lobster, etc. Granted, not everything is going to appeal to everyone, but the variety is definitely refreshing when quite a lot of quick-fix cookbooks seem to have been dumbed down. There are also recipes for soups, salads and many, many desserts in addition to the mains and sides.
The book has an appealing layout and the recipes are well-presented, with succinct instructions and usually with short ingredient lists to go with them. Measurements are given in standard and metric. The only potential issue is that some of the recipes call for ingredients that are not common stateside, such as clotted cream. For these, the book offers some suggestions for substitutions and you should be able to find the exact ingredient you’re looking for at specialty markets without too much difficulty.