Monday, 3 November 2008

Recipe Nightmares - Ramsay Has A Spring In His Step

Gordon Ramsay’s Cookalong Live is getting into its stride and seems to be proving very popular. People aren’t just watching, either. Sales of ingredients for his recipes have been through-the-roof, with many supermarkets selling out. Such is the demand that Ocado have even set-up a special Gordon Ramsay aisle on their website so that shoppers can buy all the week’s ingredients together. With the apparent intention of getting those who wouldn’t normally cook into the kitchen – something which seems to be rather fashionable at the moment – the programme would appear to be achieving good results. Gordon’s book sales probably aren’t doing badly, either. Cynicism aside, though, the premise is a good one – showing just how quick and easy cooking can be. As long as you don’t mind a little light-hearted verbal abuse, it might even prove to be fun. As for the recipes – what on earth is Gordon thinking? Seasonality clearly isn’t a concern, and even in these credit-crunch days, budget certainly isn’t of upmost importance either – regardless of what the show’s publicity states. Though you wouldn’t know it from their originality (or lack of it), Gordon must have been working on the recipes for a while. About six months, in fact. Surely that would be the only explanation for such unseasonal, spring-themed menus. Week one’s late autumn menu started with warm goat’s cheese salad with an apple and walnut vinaigrette. Salmon encroute with herbed new potatoes and garlic sautéed broccoli followed, and then caramelised rhubarb and ginger crumble with clotted cream finished it all off. As if goat’s cheese wasn’t springy enough, not to mention pricey, just try buying rhubarb in October. The big supermarkets will be your only chance and its unseasonality will mean it has a premium price. It may not even be British and is unlikely to be of particularly good quality. It’s a similar story for New Potatoes. They’ll be available alright, but will have travelled half way around the world to get there. Expensive ingredients. Check. Unseasonal produce. Check. Uninspiring menu. Check. If possible, Friday’s second menu was even worse. Gordon did find a way to make some slightly less boring dishes, though – just give them a pretentious foreign name. First up was minted pea and watercress veloute (come on, it’s soup!). That will be frozen peas and foreign watercress, then. Considering the show was broadcast on Halloween, would pumpkin not have been a more obvious choice? The main course was lasagne al forno (as if lasagne can ever not be al forno!). A baked pasta dish seems a strange choice for such a fast-paced menu – at least it’s slightly more appropriate for the time of year, though. Lemon and lime syllabub (you fool!) rounded things off in an appropriately summery way. A mixture of double cream, sugar, ginger biscuits and the lemon and lime; health clearly wasn’t high on the agenda either. And as for grating a ginger biscuit – Gordon blimey! Week three’s menu still isn’t out yet – rather inconvenient if you were planning to buy the ingredients with your weekly shop – so who knows what’s in store. It must be coming up to summer now, though, so expect strawberry tarts and gazpacho. There may even be time for asparagus yet... What do you think of Gordon’s menus? Have you cooked along? Let us know what you think. Alternatively, maybe you could suggest some more appropriate recipes, or try and predict what will be coming in the future.

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