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on 2 June 2017
Another fab cook book
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on 11 January 2011
Ramsay sets out to create a cookbook worthy of social, family cooking where the process is almost as important as the result - and succeeds. Recipes which are well suited to sharing with those who don't cook much or at all, which aren't hurried and which will forgive the odd oversight here and there when you've forgotten about them temporarily while opening another bottle of red rub shoulders easily with quick, easy and impressive starters, soups, snacks and meals. Nowhere here will you see directions to cut one ingredient macédoine, another paysanne and yet another brunoise... it's all about the sheer enjoyment of spending time in the kitchen and such culinary precision takes a deserved (but surprising, given his pedigree) back seat to fun.

If you're looking to enjoy a sociable afternoon with friends & family creating a meal you can all enjoy, this is the perfect book for you.
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on 14 April 2009
I bought a signed copy from an independent seller on Amazon, and I was very excited to receive it. So far I have made the Shepherd's Pie with branston pickle, and the lamb and prune casserole and both were superb. I can't wait to try some more recipes, as I am sure they will be just as good. The book itself is really nice quality with some lovely photos (unlike most people reviewing this book, I quite like a few pics of Gordon!)
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on 17 October 2008
From the front cover flap:-

'Away from the high-octane energy of the professional kitchen, Gordon's home is a relaxed family affair, where cooking s fun and everyone gets involved in preparing food for family and friends. The food Gordon cooks here embodies his strongly held views: use in-season, fresh ingredients at their peak; support local producers and farmers' markets whenever we can; and celebrate our food culture and its many influences.....
...'Cooking for Friends' is full of Gordon's best-loved versions of classic British dishes.....and contains more than 100 of his favourite recipes, which he loves to cook and eat with friends and family - uncomplicated recipes but with Gordon's remarkable feeling for flavour and his technical know-how.'

From the introduction:-

'As a chef, I work at a thousand miles an hour, but when I'm at home, I want to slow down. I leave my chef's jacket at work, and I walk into a domestic setting, where everything is completely different. At home, our kitchen is family-run, and it's a relaxed place. A lot of people see cooking as a chore, but we bring an element of fun into it..........'

GR adorns the hardback cover which opens to 269 high quality matt pages, split over 9 chapters:-

* Hot and cold soups
* Pasta and grains
* Fish and shellfish
* Meat and poultry
* Pies and tarts
* Vegetables and salads
* Puddings and ices
* Chocolate and coffee
* Basics

sandwiched between a 9-page introduction and a full index, which is enhanced with finished-dish illustrations shown in italics.

Each chapter opens with some relevant notes and a list of the recipes contained within, for quick reference.
Each recipe is clearly laid out with a bold title and relevant text, along wiith the method, the number of servings and the list of ingredients. The page numbers are on the edge of the right hand page, which aids quick flicking!
The book is interspersed with illustrations of the finished dishes, although these are rather fewer than expected, in my opinion.....(hence my four star rating)...... along with on-location shots of GR, his family and friends.

My favourite pud is no particular secret, and, as I share Gordon's passion for the caramelized apple flavour and texture in an Apple Tarte Tatin..... his recipe for 'Caramelized Apple Pie', from page 207, really hits the spot:-

'I love the flavour of caramelized apples in a tarte tatin, and this is a way of bringing that flavour into a classic apple pie.
Also, because the apples are pre-cooked, they won't shrink during baking and create air pockets inside the pie.
I like to serve the pie while it's still warm with either a little pouring cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.'

A delicious twist which makes the finished product taste divine, and following on from G's 'Lamb Shank Cassoulet` served with sautéed savoy cabbage and chunks of malted grain bread....simply SUPER to share, after an October stroll in the woods with all our friends!
Which... of course....is what this book is all about!

A small taste of the other recipes contained within:-

* Asparagus velouté
* Conger eel bisque
* Crayfish chowder
* Farfalle with bacon, peas and sage
* Grilled vegetable lasagne
* Gordon's posh kedgeree (video feature above)
* Wild mushroom barley risotto
* Fish curry with lime and coconut rice
* Grilled herrings with harissa
* Fisherman's stew
* Poached rabbit legs with gremolata
* Pork fillet stroganoff
* Home-made bangers
* Classic mixed grill
* Angus beef olives
* Sweet potato and duck rösti with fried duck eggs
* Honey roast ham
* Shepherd's pie with Branston pickle
* Cornish chicken pie
* Fish pie with oysters and scallops
* Roast winter vegetables
* Spicy cauliflower stir-fry
* Mixed mushroom salad
* Pickled onions
* Autumn fruit salad with thyme and ginger
* Custard tart
* Lemon meringue pie
* Chocolate swirl cheesecake
* Chocolate and coffee pots
* Dark chocolate marquise

All in all, a homely type of book, which is clear from the GR notes throughout, e.g.:-

From 'Pasta and grains':-

'At home, we don't just stick to rice and spaghetti. Tana has begun to feed the kids a vegetarian meal once a week, which means being creative in combining pulses, grains and pasta with a variety of vegetables.
The kids love it when she experiments.
When the weather is cold we use a lot of barley, adding it to soups, stews, and winter salads. Barley can even take the place of rice in risotto.
The excellent barley risotto here has featured many a time on our restaurant menus............'
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on 17 September 2008
Gordon Ramsay is a GREAT chef - but sometimes his recipes can be too complex for the enthusiastic amateur like myself.
However, this book is just right - in that the recipes are excellent and there is some great stuff in here but, most importantly, the recipes are well written and easy to follow.
I think this is perfect for those who want to cook quality dishes for dinner parties but not spend several days in the kitchen preparing for it!!
Highly recommended.
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on 30 December 2008
I concur with other reviewers here who have said that there are rather too many mugshots of the Grand Cuisiner himself. It IS offputting to try and cook, for example, Artichokes Braised with Onions and Lardons, with the lardon himself staring out at you rather than a picture of the dish itself.
In addition I was somewhat disappointed when I decided to try out his method of making shortcrust pastry for some mini-quiches. Referring to the 'basics' section at the back he mentions the ingredients - butter flour, beaten egg and water etc, but in the method omits to tell you what to do with the beaten egg ! What a contrast with the cookbook I normally use - Julia Child's classic where she has gone to the trouble of six pages of instructions with line drawings and NO mug shots.
However, this book is in a different league and is aimed at doing things simply and straighforwardly. His recipes give inspiration, are simple enough to follow, and as he says, they are but a guide. It's a useful addition to my library - but I shan't be watching his TV show.
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on 13 June 2009
It's probably the most often-heard gripe in reviews of cookery books, especially celeb-chef ones. "There aren't enough pictures". How are you meant to know what it looks like when it's finished? What are you aiming for? Even for a simple recipe, it's nice to have a picture. Besides, it's often the pictures of the recipe-made-meal that inspire you to have a go at creating it yourself.

If this is something that irks you, perhaps steer clear of this book. Although rather handsome, I'd say only about a quarter of the meals have accompanying pictures. This might not be such a bad thing if there weren't dozens of completely irrelevant pictures taking the place of potentially useful ones. We are treated throughout the book to images of Ramsay sitting down, of Ramsay resting his head between his hands, of Ramsay sitting at the table outside with lots of friends, of Ramsay sitting down at the table with his friends, again. If you buy the book, you'll already know what 'Chef Ramsay' looks like, and probably don't give a crap what his friends look like.

There are also lots of pictures not of meals, but of ingredients. Instead of the finished dish, you might get a few mackerel on a worktop, or a swede chopped in half, or two eggs on a plate with a feather. It's pointless and often slightly infuriating.

This somewhat major annoyance aside, it's a pretty nice book. The recipes inevitably do taste nice, for example the fisherman's stew. The ingredients lists can be a little extensive - it's not a book to be used every day - but most of them are things that are at least readily available. Too many cookbooks call for things like toasted goblin eyes or strained dreams of ocelots.

This book won't make you a three-starred chef, and the cooking for friends moniker is a little unjustified as there's no reason why these dishes should be made exclusively for large groups; they can be made for any amount of people. But it does feature some genuinely nice meals to make, which is after all the purpose for a book like this. You'll just have to assume that what comes out of the oven looks the way it's meant to.
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on 17 November 2014
A mouth-watering collection of not too difficult recipes for casual entertaining of family and good friends, without going over the top.
I would question though whether we need some 18 full page photos of Gordon Ramsay, some with friends and family; the space could have been put to better use with photos of the dishes - or more recipes!
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on 2 January 2011
This was bought for a work colleague,as a 'secret Santa'present!
It was an absolute steal as far as the price was concerned,with the deal that was on offer and the lady who recieved the book loved it!
So everyones happy!
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on 16 February 2009
There seems to have been a shift in Chef Ramsays style of books recently, since the launch of 3 * Chef he has moved back to more basic home cooking. And for all keem home cooks thats a good thing. Although hos previous books were beautiful to look at and filled with gorgeous recipes they were costly & time consuming to make.

Cooking with friends is a real back to basics, quality cook book, one to have by the stove all the time.

As usual well presented with great pictures, hints & tips from the great man and some pretty good dishes too. It's the sort of food you want to cook and eat on a regular basis things like chicken pie, Broccoli soup, blue cheese tarts etc. Real quality home cooking. The book is well layed out with sections on:
1. Hot & Cold Soups - Inc Roast Chestnut, Parsnip & Apple, Curried cauliflower & cheddar, oxtail, chilled cucumber
2. Pasta & Grains - Linguine with lemon feta & basil, Kedgeree, goats cheese lentil & beetroot salad
3. Fish & shellfish - fish curry, Red mullet, Devilled mackerel
4. Meat & poultry - Rabbit stew, Honey roast ham, Duck wit port & cherries,
Pies & tarts (my favorite bit!) - Raised Game Pie, Chicken pie, smoked salmon & horseradish cream tarts
5. Vegies & salads
6. Puddings - Apple pie, lemon meringue, Trifle
coffee & chocs, - dark chock cake, coffee & choc pots

A great book that will keep your testbeds happy for a very long time
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