Home Cooking with Gordon Ramsay-Beef Meatballs with Orecchiette, Kale and Pine Nuts

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When I see Gordon Ramsay cook, I see a chef who has enormous passion for excellent food. You can see the excitement in his eyes as he describes the way the sauce should taste or how the meat is cooked to perfection. He loves his craft and he loves to teach others.

This Michelin star chef is no stranger to the camera with all of his TV shows like Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Hotel Hell and Masterchef US. He has shown us that he can run a kitchen and scare young apprentices half to death, if they make a mistake.

With his Ultimate Home Cooking series, he has shown us his other side. He has shown us that he is a husband and father of four budding chefs; his children. While he cooks with his family, you can see that they love this special time with their father. It is clear that they have cooked together, often.

I really enjoyed watching the series, so I bought the cookbook. It is a wonderful compilation of recipes that you will want to cook for your family and friends.

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The recipes are divided into chapters like Classics with a Twist, Good Food for Less, Cooking for Friends, Cooking in Advance; to name a few. Each section offers a variety of dishes that inspire the casual dining that most of us enjoy so well. These are recipes that you would make for a family dinner, a brunch for friends, or an intimate evening with someone special.

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Recipes that I have tried from this book include:

Pork Chops and Peppers

and

Beef Meatballs with Orecchiette, Kale and Pine Nuts (see below)

The instructions are very clear, the photos are beautiful, and the ingredients are items that most of us have easy access to.

I am really excited to try more of the recipes from this book! They are not written so that you need to be a Michelin Star chef to prepare them. This book is for anyone who loves to cook at home.

Orechietti-and-meetballs

Beef Meatballs with Orecchiette, Kale and Pine Nuts

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 lb. dried orecchiette pasta
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
8 oz. kale, shredded
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste

For the meatballs:

1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 tsp. dried chili flakes
1 lb. ground beef
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3-4 tbsp. milk

Directions:

First prepare the meatballs. Saute the onion and garlic with salt and pepper to taste in a hot oiled frying pan for about 5 minutes until soft and lightly coloured, adding the chili flakes after a minute or two. Place the beef in a large bowl and add salt and pepper. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl and moisten with milk. Add salt and pepper, then stir the breadcrumbs and onion mixture into the beef and combine well. With wet hands, shape the beef mixture into small balls about ¾ inch wide. Transfer to a lightly greased baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes until firm.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, according to the package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add a little olive oil. Brown the meatballs for 6 minutes until coloured on all sides. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 2 minutes until tender, then add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Sweat the kale over medium heat for 5 minutes with a couple of tablespoons of cooking water form the pasta. Taste to adjust the seasoning as necessary, then stir in the pine nuts.

Drain the pasta, reserving a few tablespoons of cooking water. Tip the pasta into the pan with the meatballs and stir over medium heat until well mixed. Add a good handful of finely grated Parmesan cheese and mix well with a little cooking water to help coat the pasta. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Serve garnished with another grating of Parmesan.

Recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking

I got my copy of the cookbook at Amazon.com

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Celebrating our 100th with Pork Chops and Peppers!

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It’s Official!!!! This is our 100th blog post!!!!!!!

Writing this blog has been a labour of love. I have learned so much and had fun researching the material for each post, then cooking, baking, styling and photographing the food.

I have taken you along on vacations, written about my culinary classes, and shared my journey to become more fit and healthy and shared stories with you. I have tried cooking new cuisines and mastering techniques and skills that I did not know, when I started.

I think this quote describes how I feel about writing this blog.

“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”
Earl Nightingale

Special thanks to my 490 regular followers and the 8,530 viewers from 85 countries around the world for reading and commenting and sharing my posts. You have inspired me to keep writing and to continue to learn and to grow.

I also want to thank my family, my friends for their patience and support. I cannot tell you how wonderful it feels to know that they believe in me and support my dreams.

I look forward to writing my next 100 posts with great enthusiasm! Some of the things that you can look forward to in the coming months are Food Styling tips from my next course at George Brown College, stories from my travels, interesting food events and great recipes and cookbook reviews.

This recipe comes from a new book called Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking.

Pork-chops-and-peppers

Pork Chops with Peppers
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 pork chops, about 7 oz. each
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves, skin on, crushed
Small bunch of thyme
Butter

For the Sweet and Sour Peppers:

Olive Oil
1 red onion, peeled and sliced
2 red peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Small bunch of basil, leaves shredded

Directions:
First prepare the peppers. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion and peppers. Season with salt and pepper, add the sugar, and sauté over high heat for 4-5 minutes until soft and coloured. (Make sure you can hear the vegetables hissing in the pan. If not, the pan isn’t hot enough and you’re in danger of boiling the vegetables instead of sautéing them.)

Add the vinegar and let it bubble for a minute or two until it has reduced and the peppers are soft. Turn down the heat, add the tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Stir in the shredded basil and continue to cook for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to infuse. Wipe the pan clean, ready to cook the pork.

Using a sharp knife, make cuts into the fat of the chops, about a 1/4 inch deep and at about 1 1/2 inch intervals, making sure you don’t cut into the meat. (This will stop the meat from curling up during cooking and will make it cook more evenly.) Season the chops with salt and pepper really well on both sides, pushing the seasoning into the meat.

Place the frying pan over high heat until hot and add a dash of oil. Add the chops, garlic and thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes until coloured. Turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side, pushing the thyme under the chops and breaking up the garlic a little.

Toward the end of the cooking time, add 3 chunks of butter and baste the chops with it as they are cooking, to speed up the cooking process and keep the chops moist. (Push the fatty edge of the chops toward the back of the pan to help render the fat.) Squeeze the garlic out of the skin and place with herbs on top of the chops.

Transfer the chops to a plate, and let rest for 5-10 minutes, spooning over the basting butter now and again.

Serve the chops on top of the peppers with the resting juices and a little juice from the peppers.

Recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking by Gordon Ramsay

Mango, Avocado and Chicken Salad

I have had the gift of mentorship in many areas of my life.

When I was young and just starting out in my career I had a boss who saw something in me that nobody else had seen. He saw that I was intelligent and that I could learn quickly and that I understood accounting, intuitively. He taught me everything about being a good accountant for the next 8 years and I attribute my career success to his teachings.

When I decided to become a photographer my brother, who is a great photographer, spent hours teaching me about lighting, cameras and composition. He took me on a workshop with Moose Petersen, Laurie Excell and Joe McNally to learn from the best. Any time I have a question about what to use or what might not be working as I want it to, I can call my brother and he will spend hours walking me through the hows and whys of photography. I attribute my success as a photographer to my brother.

When I decided to become healthier and more athletic I was blessed with another mentor. My dear friend is an experienced coach and accomplished athlete in his own right. Thankfully, he saw something in me that nobody else had ever seen. He spent this spring and summer coaching me to push myself beyond the limits that I only dreamed of. He taught me about cycling, about running, about training properly and about being a better person. He taught me that “if you can see it, you can get there”. I owe my ability to reach these milestones to his coaching, although I am still learning.

Each of these people had an impact on my life in a profound way and they all had something in common. They gave of themselves to teach and coach and they believed that I could learn. Their patience, time and selfless efforts have enabled me to learn about reaching higher, working harder and becoming a better person. For that I am eternally grateful and I continue to work on these areas of my life so I can grow.

My first impression of Gordon Ramsay was not as positive. I remember watching episodes of Hell’s Kitchen where he was screaming and swearing at the chefs in training. I thought that his manner was rough but his standards were high. Lately, I am seeing a different side to Gordon Ramsay and it is a more humane, caring side. He is a first class, Michelin starred chef and a world-class restauranteur but he also cares about teaching others.

This amazing salad is from his cookbook called Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite. The book is a compilation of healthy recipes that are as delicious as one would expect from such an amazing chef. I substituted roasted chicken breast for the smoked chicken as recommended in the book simply because I was unable to find smoked chicken in my neighbourhood.

Mango, Avocado and Chicken Salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 medium, firm but ripe mangoes
2 ripe avocados
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
10 oz. cooked chicken breasts
1 cup mixed salad leaves
2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted

Dressing:

2 tbsp. orange juice
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. avocado oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Directions:

Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh away from the seed into thin slices. Arrange onto four serving plates.

Halve the avocados and remove the pit. Peel off the skin and slice the flesh into strips. Squeeze over a little lemon juice and then arrange over the mango slices.

Cut the chicken into thin slices and divide between the plates. Neatly pile the salad leaves in the middle.

For the dressing, whisk the ingredients together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the dressing over the salad, top with a handful of toasted pine nuts and serve.

Recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite.