Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course accompanies the televison series currently being shown on Channel Four each teatime, yes the program is a rip-off of the wonderful Jamie's 30-Minute Meals, but that doesn't really matter in my opinion.
At the time of writing this review the show has only been on for one week (five epsiodes) but it has already grabbed my attention and I fully intend to see it through to the end!
I've actually had the book about a fortnight now, so had already started using it before the show first televised.
It's a lovely big book, 320 pages to be exact, and it is full of beautifully photographed food and the odd shot of Gordon, good if that sort of thing rocks your gravy boat!
The book starts with an introduction to the basics of a kitchen and has some useful information on how to get the best out of Knifes, Pans, a Blowtorch, Digital Scales, Food Processors, Free-Standing or Stick Blenders, Ice Cream Makers, Mandolines, Microplane Zesters, a Pestle and Mortar, a Potato Ricer, Probe Thermometers, Sieves, Vegetable Peelers and Whisks; there is even a well written descripton of how best to cut an onion.
We then move on to the recipes, 123 to be exact, and they are split into themed chapters:
1. Classics with a twist - 13 recipes
2. Fish - 12 recipes
3. Meat - 12 recipes
4. Spices - 14 recipes
5. Good Food for Less - 15 recipes
6. Cooking in Advance - 12 recipes
7. Cooking for Crowds - 13 recipes
8. Baking - 13 recipes
9. Basic Skills - 9 recipes
The instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow; most have a beautifully photographed example of the final result you're aiming for, but unfortunately not all recipes have this and its a disappointment, albeit a relatively minor one.
We have already been pretty busy making some of the dishes, so far we've had the beautiful Stuffed Roast Chicken (with chirizo and cannellini beans), the amazing Slow-cooked fiery lamb (melt in the mouth, but REALLY hot), and my personal favourites, the Chilli beef lettuce wraps (these are one of the best things I have eaten for ages!).
This weekend we're trying the Fish Pie, and if all goes well my fiance will be baking the Lemon polenta cake at some point later on next week!
This book is primarily aimed at the day to day cook in my opinion, its style and content are realistic and achievable, and most of the recipes should cause no problems for anyone with average skills in the kitchen.
At the same time though I would say that this book would be a good start for a beginner, and also has enough inside to offer inspiration to the more experienced cook.
Overall a really good book, the best I've seen from Gordon Ramsey to date in fact, it has loads of really appealing recipes that will provide something new for your table but won't necessarily break the bank in the process!