Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Gordon Ramsay coffee table (book)

I have really been looking forward to this new Gordon Ramsay cookbook to be released since the lovely C told me about this and Simon Hopkinson’s back in May. It’s not that I haven’t found his most recent books interesting and occasionally useful, I really craved to see him flex those Michelin starred muscles, throw a little daylight in on the magic and show us how he got his reputation (and I don’t mean for swearing a lot!). When confirmed that my order had been posted two days ago, the caveat that was due to the postal strike we are experiencing, it may take longer than usual. And I do know this already, my new Nigel Slater that was posted on the 1st October has so far eluded me. This didn’t please me as I’m not terribly good at being patient and I really wanted to get my hands on this book. I’m fairly sure I read somewhere that there are two versions, one limited edition at about £200 in a metal case and of course signed by the great man himself and the non-bullet-proof version at a less scary price that I’ve ordered. But even the one that isn’t in a metal case is large and this turned out to be its saving grace as it was seemingly too hefty for currently rather snail-like normal post so a courier had to ship this to me. Result! And it was indeed rather large, my immediate thought was that I was expecting a coffee table book but if they’d sent four legs in the package also I would actually have a coffee table. I don’t really have time to look over it today so it’s a special treat for when I get home.

And it really is a treat; I feel that as I slowly turn over the glossy pages that I should be wearing white cotton gloves and the only sound should be a choir intoning “ahhh, ahhh, ahhh, ahhh” in a rather gothic fashion. This is the epitome of food porn, and I love it! It’s like the most gorgeous example of an Argos catalogue in action. If I get to dine at Hospital Road again, and I do so hope I do one day, will I be handed this on a giant silver platter and will I extend one painted nail at the photograph of my chosen dish and say “I want one of those, please”? And after reading the inspirational bon mots and drooling over the pictures (carefully of course and it somehow wouldn’t seem appropriate to mess up these hallowed pages) the recipes are laid out so you can recreate them yourself. Hmmm, just a little bit daunting. I am sure these recipes haven’t been sanitised much for the home cook, the level of difficulty probably should be declared as “do not attempt without at least 2 ½ Michelin stars, just don’t even go there!” instead of “many of the recipes are still challenging and demand skill and precision on the part of the home cook”. But buoyed by the fact that at least I have the matching crockery I am wondering if I am brave enough to tackle the challenge. If I were, and that’s probably a big ‘if’, I might go for ravioli of lobster, langoustine and salmon with a lemongrass and chervil velouté for a starter (no pressure here as I believe this is one of Gordon’s signature dishes) and then for the main maybe an oven-roasted Bresse pigeon wrapped in Parma ham with foie gras, creamed mushrooms and a date sauce. And if I haven’t collapsed under the strain of that performance I could round off the meal with palet d’or with chocolate and hazelnut ice cream and passion fruit ice cream which just has so many stages I’d probably die in the attempt.

It is a truly aspirational and beautiful book; I can only hope that a soupçon of Gordon’s brilliance rubs off onto me.

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