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Gordon Ramsay Quick and Delicious
100 Recipes to Cook in 30 Minutes or Less
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- ebook $65.00 $82.99 CAD
- ebook $15.99 $20.99 CAD
- Hardcover $32.00 $40.00 CAD
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My Advice for Faster, Better Cooking
Clear the decks
The state of your kitchen before you start cooking will make a big difference in how you cook. Starting with a clean work surface, a sink clear of washing up, and an empty dishwasher will help everything run more smoothly. A tidy kitchen leads to much better efficiency and, therefore, better food.
Switch off distractions
There’s a reason that my chefs aren’t allowed to use their mobile phones during service.… Producing an amazing dish in a short space of time requires concentration and focus. I know that life can get in the way, but your cooking will be more successful if you give it your full attention.
Read the recipe before you start
I’m sure you’ve heard this piece of advice before, but how often do you actually follow it? It might seem like a waste of time when you’re keen to get food on the table, but I can’t emphasize enough how much time you will save if you do this. You will know exactly what to expect, what you need to prep in advance, and which pieces of equipment you will need and when. Nothing is more frustrating than hunting for a whisk when you’re halfway through a recipe.
Get your equipment out
Before you start, know that you can easily lay your hands on all the kitchen equipment you need to complete the recipe. Get your scale/food processor/blender/mandoline out of the drawer or cupboard so you won’t waste valuable minutes trying to find them. And sort out any jobs, such as lining a baking sheet or setting up a bain-marie, at the outset. It will allow for a much smoother, stress-free process.
Get your mise en place in place
Getting all the ingredients ready before you begin will also save time once you start. Measure what you need to, and gather all the spices, sauces, and seasonings that you’ll need. Reading the recipe through before you start means that you’ll know what prep you will need to do up front, and what you can leave for a suitable time in the process. For example, all the ingredients for a stir-fry need to be ready before you start, whereas the garnish for a soup can be prepped while the soup is cooking.
Buy the best
Professional chefs know that the secret to good cooking is actually good shopping. If you buy great ingredients, whether that’s organic, well-aged meat, fruit and veg in the right season, or super-fresh seafood from a fishmonger, you are more than halfway there before you even start cooking. This is especially important when it comes to producing meals in a short space of time—the tastier the produce, the less you have to do to it to make it sing.
When time is short, I’m all for cutting a few corners, such as buying pre-chopped butternut squash from a supermarket, or using pre-cooked rice. We don’t think twice about buying canned tomatoes or beans, or jars of roasted peppers and artichokes, so why not use other unadulterated ingredients that have been prepped or cooked for you? I draw the line at store-bought sauces and flavorless stock cubes, but if the ingredients haven’t been messed about with in any way, feel free to save yourself a bit of time—especially if it means you are more likely to cook from scratch than resort to prepared meals or takeout.
Clean up as you cook
It is good practice to tidy up as you go along. Keep a waste bowl next to your cutting board for the rubbish you create as you prep fruit and veg; that way you only need to make one trip to the bin at the end, rather than several time-wasting trips throughout. It keeps the work surface clear too. Chefs always wipe down their stations between tasks, and it’s great to get into this habit. Fill a sink or washing-up bowl with warm soapy water so you can immediately put dirty pans and spoons in it (never put sharp knives in, as they can cause accidents). Also, load the dishwasher as you go along. By the time you finish cooking, the washing up will virtually be done and it won’t feel like a bomb has exploded in the kitchen.
Sharpen your knives
It is essential that your kitchen equipment is in good condition. This is especially important when it comes to knives—a blunt knife is not only more dangerous; it is also seriously inefficient. Sharpen your knives before you start and every time you cook. It will make all the difference to prep times.
How to sharpen a knife
Hold the steel confidently in your non-dominant hand and use your other hand to place the heel of the knife (where the blade meets the handle) on top of the steel near its own handle. Draw the knife along the steel in a sweeping motion so that you stroke the entire length of the blade against it, keeping the angle between the steel and the blade at a steady 20 degrees. Now hone the other side of the knife by placing the blade under the steel and repeating the motion. Do this five or six times, alternating the side of the blade with each stroke, until you have a sharp edge. The more you do this, the quicker you will become.
Practice your knife skills
Chefs don’t just hone their knife skills so they can look good chopping at speed on TV. They become good at wielding that knife so they can chop 10 pounds of onions in half the time it would take anyone else. Learn to use your knives like a professional and you too will speed through your veg, meat, and fish prep. Take a course or watch online tutorials, then practice what you’ve learned every time you chop anything. Using your knife confidently and ergonomically will make you a faster, more effective cook.
Harness the heat
When you’re trying to cook something quickly, it can be tempting to get it into the oven straight away, but if the oven hasn’t had a chance to get up to the right temperature, it will take longer to cook and it will be more difficult to work out when to take it out again. Likewise, if you don’t wait for a grill pan to be smoking hot before you add your chops, it will take much more time to get a good color on the outside of the meat, by which time the inside will be overcooked. Always wait for the oven to come up to temperature, for frying pans to be hot enough, and for water to be actually boiling before you add any pasta or vegetables. Your food will thank you for it.
Good cooking isn’t dependent on having a kitchen full of gadgets. There are, however, a few pieces of equipment that will really help you to get delicious food onto the table in less time. Here is my list of essentials, starting with the most important.
You can do almost everything with just three knives—a large chef’s knife, a small paring knife, and a serrated bread knife. Keep them sharp (see here), store them well (i.e., in a knife block or on a rack rather than loose in a drawer), and always wash them by hand. Follow these rules and your knives should last for years.
Blowtorches aren’t just for browning the sugar on top of a crème brûlée. We use them all the time in my kitchens to char the marinade on meat or fish, to melt cheesy toppings, and to caramelize sugar on all sorts of desserts. They take seconds to use and should be part of any speedy cook’s arsenal.
Not only are they more accurate than old-fashioned kitchen scales; digital scales are also much faster to use. You can weigh all the ingredients straight into the measuring bowl, using the tare function to return the display to zero before each one. They’re great for weighing liquids too.
A food processor makes light work of jobs such as shredding cabbage or celeriac, grating cheese, puréeing soup, and making fresh breadcrumbs. Use the smaller bowls for blitzing small amounts and whipping up dressings, marinades, and sauces.
Whether you favor a good old-fashioned box grater or a fancy Microplane, some sort of grater is essential for quickly grating a little bit of cheese, mincing a piece of ginger, or zesting a lemon.
However good you are with a knife, a mandoline is incredibly useful for fast, uniform slicing. I use one repeatedly in this book because it is such an efficient way to slice beets, carrots, cucumbers, apples, and such without having to get the food processor out.
Mortar and pestle
A large, heavy mortar and pestle is a great piece of kitchen equipment for pounding and grinding herbs and spices, unleashing their flavor without totally pulverizing them.
The clue is in the name—a swivel peeler will make light work of peeling fruit and veg, and as it removes only the skin or outermost layer, you are left with more of the flesh. It’s also great for shaving hard cheeses and for quickly slicing veg into ribbons.
A stick blender is so useful for quickly blitzing hot soups, dips, and dressings on the spot. You can also use it for making smoothies, bringing batters together, and whipping cream.
Silicone baking mat
Lining a baking sheet with a silicone mat takes literally seconds and there are no burning issues as with parchment paper. You can also use them over and over again, which is much better for the environment than aluminum foil and parchment paper.
Shortcuts to Flavor
When time is short, seasoning is vital, as there isn’t time to develop the deep flavors associated with roasting, braising, and slow cooking. It’s therefore important to keep a well-stocked pantry. Having an array of different sauces and spices will mean you are never far away from a quick, tasty meal. I am assuming that you have olive oil, some sort of vegetable or sunflower oil for frying, some vinegars, mustard, and salt and pepper, as well as a collection of herbs and spices, but here is a list of ingredients you might not already have that are guaranteed to liven things up.
Dashi is Japanese stock made from the seaweed kombu, which is rich in umami and forms the base of many Japanese dishes, from miso soup to ramen noodle broths. Powdered dashi is the quickest way to inject that savory richness into your cooking.
An intense, anise-flavored spice from the flowers of the fennel plant, this is great sprinkled over fish, chicken, pork, and salads.
A stalwart of East and Southeast Asian cooking, fish sauce is a fermented condiment that brings a savory umami hit to dipping sauces, noodles, soups, and stir-fries. Furikake seasoning
A tasty mixture that typically contains black and white sesame seeds, dried seaweed, and dried fish. The Japanese use it mostly for sprinkling over rice; it can also be used to instantly pep up fish, chicken, and rice dishes.
Gochujang chile paste
Fermented chile paste from Korea that is sweet, savory, and very hot all at the same time. Brilliant in marinades and sauces, it can also be stirred through stews, stir-fries, and soups.
A fragrant chile and red pepper paste from North Africa that is used to flavor meat, couscous, stews, and sauces. Rose harissa is a fragrant variation in which the rose petals temper the chile and add a gentle sweetness.
All the fragrant intensity of fresh lemongrass in a very useful paste.
A sweetened rice wine from Japan that is a bit like saké. It is used to add a sweet tang to dipping sauces, broths, and marinades.
Japanese fermented soyabean paste that is packed with umami. It can be white, yellow, red, or simply dark, depending on how long it has been fermented, with white being the mildest and red being saltier and stronger.
Can be hot, sweet, smoked, or unsmoked, but whichever type you use, paprika will add an instant smokiness and depth to your food.
A Moroccan spice mix that instantly transports you to the souks of North Africa, this is an easy way to add an exotic taste to rubs, marinades, and tagines.
A mild, slightly sweet vinegar used to bring a subtle acidity to sauces, marinades, and stir-fries.
The mild spice that brings a golden yellow color and subtle but distinct aroma and flavor to sauces, risotto, pasta, fish, and chicken dishes.
Shaoxing rice wine
A fermented rice wine that gives depth and complexity to Chinese sauces and soups.
Shichimi togarashi (seven-spice powder)
A tasty blend of seven spices, including chile flakes, orange peel, sesame seeds, and ground ginger; it is used to brighten up soups, noodle dishes, grilled meat, and fish.
A lip-tingling pepper-like spice that adds a fragrant punch to Chinese cooking.
Thailand’s versatile chile sauce, which is hot and tangy with a gentle sweetness.
A citrusy spice popular across North Africa; it can be sprinkled over dishes to add the sharpness of lemons and limes.
Adds an instant sweet-and-sour note to sauces and marinades.
Thai shrimp paste
A paste that imparts the strong salty taste of fermented shrimp and adds body to Southeast Asian curries and noodle soups.
It isn’t cheating to buy pre-prepped ingredients—it’s like having a secret sous chef in your pantry and a junior chef in the freezer! But make sure that the ingredients you buy have just been chopped or cooked rather than adulterated in any way. Here’s a list of things to buy to help speed up your cooking.
• Frozen chopped chiles, onions, and herbs
• Frozen peas and spinach
• Pre-chopped veg, especially those that are tricky to peel, such as butternut squash and pumpkin
• Spiralized vegetables
• Cauliflower “rice”
• Cooked beets
• Bags of salad greens
• Canned tomatoes, beans, and lentils
• Roasted peppers and artichokes
• Crispy fried onions
• Fresh pasta and noodles
• Pre-cooked rice
• Prepared pastry (puff pastry and piecrust)
• Breadcrumbs, dry and fresh
• Fresh stock
Soups and Salads
Cauliflower Soup with Brown Butter and Cheesy Toasts
Chicken and Shiitake Noodle Soup
Celeriac and Apple Soup with Crushed Walnuts
Spiced Squash and Lentil Soup
Soba Noodle, Zucchini, and Shrimp Salad with Tamari Dressing
Kale Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons
Warm Eggplant, Tomato, and Burrata
Halloumi, Asparagus, and Green Bean Salad
Beet Salad with Whipped Goat Cheese
Vietnamese Meatball Noodle Salad
Cauliflower Soup with Brown Butter and Cheesy Toasts
Making brown butter, or beurre noisette, is one of those techniques that chefs love but home cooks seem to steer clear of because it sounds tricky. Believe me, it’s really not complicated, and the more often you do it, the more confident you become at judging the right time to take the pan off the heat. It’s such an easy way to add a rich nuttiness to this creamy soup, and it smells incredible.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ tablespoons butter
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Small handful of sage leaves
1 (2-pound) cauliflower
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
¾ cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the brown butter
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon truffle oil
Handful of sage leaves
For the cheesy toasts
4 slices of baguette, thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 ounces grated cheese mixture (mozzarella, Cheddar, blue, and Gruyère, or a combination of whatever you have in the fridge)
1 Preheat the broiler.
2 Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the sage leaves and cook for 1 additional minute.
3 Meanwhile, prepare the cauliflower by removing the leaves and separating the florets. Roughly chop them into small pieces of the same size.
4 Add the chopped cauliflower and the stock to the pan. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the milk and cream and simmer for an additional 8 minutes.
5 Meanwhile, make the brown butter. Put the butter into a small saucepan and place it over high heat. When it begins to brown, remove the pan from the heat and add the truffle oil and sage leaves. Stir well and leave to cool.
6 Now make the toasts. Lay the baguette slices on a baking sheet and broil for 2–3 minutes, until lightly golden on one side. Turn each slice over, then sprinkle liberally with the grated cheese. Place under the broiler again for an additional 4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden.
7 When the cauliflower is cooked, blend the mixture with a stick blender until smooth. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls and spoon over the brown butter and sage leaves. Serve with the cheesy toasts on the side.
If you warm the stock in a saucepan over medium heat while you prep the onions, garlic, and cauliflower, it will come to a boil quicker when you add it to the soup pan, therefore speeding up the whole process.
Chicken and Shiitake Noodle Soup
I love the different broths and noodle soups you find across countries such as China, Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The broths for these soups are usually labored over for many hours to give them an intense depth of flavor, but this soup uses dried shiitake mushrooms to shortcut the process. They are really rich in umami, bringing a wonderful savoriness and depth to the dish in no time at all.
1½ quarts chicken stock
4 chicken thighs, skin on
12 dried shiitake mushrooms
¾–1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
1 star anise
2 spring onions, trimmed and cut in half
⅓ cup Shaoxing rice wine
6 ounces egg noodles
2 tablespoons soy sauce
7 ounces choy sum
Sea salt and ground white pepper
3 ounces bamboo shoots
Asian microgreens or cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 Place a saucepan over high heat. Pour in the chicken stock, then add the chicken thighs and mushrooms.
2 Add the ginger to the pan along with the star anise, spring onions, and rice wine. Season with a big pinch of sea salt and a small pinch of white pepper.
3 Bring the soup to a boil, skimming off any impurities that might rise to the surface. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a strong simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
4 Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a boil. Pour into a clean saucepan over high heat and season with salt. Add the noodles and cook for 3–4 minutes, until just tender. Drain the noodles and hold them under cold running water until cool. Drain again and set aside until needed.
5 Remove a chicken thigh from the broth and check if it is cooked through by piercing the thickest part with the tip of a sharp knife; the juices should run clear with no pinkness. If cooked, remove all the chicken pieces and the mushrooms from the broth and set aside.
6 Using a slotted spoon, remove the star anise, ginger, and spring onions from the broth and return it to high heat. Add the soy sauce and taste for seasoning.
7 Roughly chop the choy sum into 2½-inch lengths, and separate the stalks from the leafy parts. Add the stalks to the saucepan and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
8 Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and shred the meat, discarding the bones.
9 Add the choy sum leaves to the broth and turn the heat off.
10 Divide the noodles among four bowls and top with the shiitake mushrooms and chicken, then ladle over the broth. Garnish with the bamboo shoots and microgreens and a drizzle of sesame oil.
Peel ginger with a teaspoon—it takes less time than using a knife and there is less waste.
Celeriac and Apple Soup with Crushed Walnuts
Celeriac makes the most delicious creamy soup even without adding any cream or milk (great for vegans), but it can be very rich. Adding sweet but tart apples, such as Cox’s, cuts through the richness and complements the flavor beautifully. I also love the contrast between the smooth, creamy texture of the soup and the crunchy walnuts.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 celeriac (about 1½ pounds), peeled and diced
2 Cox’s or other sweet-tart apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 quart vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black or white pepper
- On Sale
- Sep 29, 2020
- Page Count
- 256 pages
- Grand Central Publishing