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on 27 June 2011
It was good to see a vegetarian section, even if Ramsay spoils it by saying in the introduction to one recipe that "there is usually a vegetarian lurking somewhere" in a slightly disparaging tone. Some of the dishes, though, seemed to me to be accompaniments rather than main meals (e.g. baked pumpkin and an excellent tomato, onion & potato gratin). There is a really good soufflé recipe which produces reliable results. There is also an unusual baked asparagus & parmesan loaf and a more earthy dish of braised lentils with swiss chard, turnips & parsley ravioli.
There are some good soups - pumpkin & parmesan, roasted pepper gazpacho, smoked haddock. In the fish section, by way of example, there is sea bream with roasted fennel, olives, clams, garlic & thyme; poached sea trout with asparagus and mint hollandaise; dover sole; fillet of halibut; roast skate with beetroot & parmesan; Jerusalem artichoke risotto with scallops; daube of squid. From the meat chapter there is a good stuffed loin of suckling pig, lamb shanks with parsnip purée; poached chicken legs with herb dumplings & turnips, plus cottage pie, his interpretation of lasagne (an elegant presentation which does not include the usual cheese sauce), lamb stew, bang bang chicken & burgers.
It has to be said the puds are fantastic, probably the best part of the book. I am partial to crème brulée so the mint version offered here was right up my street. Other recipes include chocolate & toffee fondant, banana sticky toffee pudding (another favourite), apple & cardamom tarte tatin with cardamom ice-cream, cold chocolate mousse with lavender ice cream (the ice-cream on its own is fine by me and it works well with marinated strawberries too).