Cooking for Friends

Cooking for family and friends is one of the true joys for a cook. Sharing your efforts with the people you love is what it is all about. However, for some the idea of cooking for a clan is the stuff of nightmares. Gordon Ramsay’s cookbook Cooking for Friends is a book that will make entertaining easy, with tips for the accomplished cook and the novice alike.

Mastering the technique is what is important to Ramsay, he notes “Adapting the ingredients is completely in your hands. But the method is what matters. The techniques in cooking are rigorous and imperative: they are your passport to a successful dish.”

The recipes range from intricate to family-style comfort food. If you want to be ready in advance try Ramsay’s chapter on pies and tarts, we particularly like the look of the wild mushroom tart with parmesan and walnut pastry and the Cornish chicken pie. If it’s an easy family dinner try one of Ramsay’s pasta dishes: the grilled vegetable lasagne is great and doesn’t require a béchamel sauce, while the farfalle with bacon peas and sage will please children and can be whipped up in 15 minutes. The cider and honey roast lamb makes the perfect Sunday roast.

For the more adventurous there’s the jacket potato soup; it was inspired by a meal at El Bulli and involves a potato gnocchi swimming in a pool of stock that has been flavoured with the jacket potato skins. While a simple dish of braised artichokes with onions and garlic is accompanied with handy hints for cooking with the tricky thistle.

Desserts haven’t been forgotten either, the caramelised apple pie highlights the caramel flavours of a traditional tarte tatin with the appearance of a pie and the coffee and almond crunch cake is perfect for afternoon tea with friends.

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