AS A time-poor working woman and mum to three constantly ravenous teenagers, the two words quick and delicious when it comes to cooking are guaranteed to capture my attention.
And when the recipes in question come from one of the world's most famous chefs, they've got to be winners - in my book, anyway.
Gordon Ramsay's new book Quick and Delicious: 100 Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less promises just that - 100 dishes each taking half-an-hour or less to cook.
But with unlimited access to recipes in books, TV and on the internet. why does anyone need another cookbook?
"Because," says the book's publicity blurb: "Not all recipes are born equal. Not all of them have been created by a global superstar chef who has built his reputation on delivering the very best food - whether that's the ultimate fine dining experience at his 3 Michelin-star Restaurant Gordon Ramsay or the perfectly crafted burger from his Las Vegas burger joint."
Like many cookbooks Gordon's latest offering is divided into chapters covering the various dish types. Soups and salads, fish and shellfish, poultry, meat, meat-free mains, pasta, rice and grains, dips and sides and of course puddings, so there's something for all tastes.
There are also sections devoted to the essential kitchen Kit list, advice for faster better cooking, shortcuts to flavour (how have I ever survived in the kitchen all these years without fennel pollen) and time-saving ingredients - which Gordon assures us is not cheating to buy, such as frozen chopped chillies, onions and herbs, frozen peas and spinach, pre-chopped veg, spiralised vegetables, cauliflower 'rice', tinned tomatoes, bags of salad leaves, fresh pasta and noodles, pre-cooked rice, ready made pastry and fresh stock.
Over the course of his stellar career, Gordon has learnt every trick in the trade to create dishes that taste fantastic and that can be produced without fail during even the most busy service. Armed with that knowledge, he has written an inspired collection of recipes for the time-pressed home cook who doesn't want to compromise on taste or flavour.
The book is a visual delight with 100 tried and tested recipes that you'll find yourself using time and again. All the recipes take 30 minutes or less and use readily available ingredients that are transformed into something special with Gordon's expertise.
Some will appeal for their comfort food aspect - like veal saltimbocca with marsala sauce, Mexican beef and jalapeno quesdadillas (recipe follows), rib-eye steaks with peppercorn sauce, vegetable stir-fry, bacon cheeseburger, pan fried salmon with pink grapefruit hollandaise, fish finger sandwiches and cauliflower soup with brown butter and cheesy toast.
Other recipes are more unusual like black houmous with pitta crisps or courgette fries which he serves up at his Union Street Cafe in London, squid and fennel stew, truffle mushrooms with cheesy polenta or soba noodles, courgette and brown shrimp salad with tamari dressing.
For the sweet tooths there's banana split with salted caramel chocolate sauce, rhubarb and ginger cheesecake pots and dark chocolate and coffee mousse to name just a few
In his introduction Gordon writes: "I know that modern life is busy and tiring, and that it's getting easier and easier to order a takeaway or have ready meals delivered to your home. but where's the satisfaction and pride in opening the door to a man in leathers and a helmet? And where's the pleasure and sense of achievement in pricking the cellophane of a ready meal before sticking it in the microwave?
"Cooking from scratch is better for you, much less expensive and so much more satisfying than buying dinner in."
Gordon Ramsey Quick and Delicious is 250 plus pages of recipes, cooking tips and gorgeous photos designed to bring out the secret (or not-so-secret) chef in all of us. It follows on from the celebrity chef's other books Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course, Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Home Cooking, Bread Street Kitchen, and Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Fit Food.
Gordon Ramsay's Quick and Delicious is a must-have new book for the kitchen bookshelf especially for the time-poor cook - for who doesn't want to create a gourmet meal in just 30 minutes.
Recipe: Gordon Ramsay's Mexican Beef and Jalapeno Quesadillas
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 500g minced beef
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 x 400g tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 200g mixture of grated mozzarella and Cheddar cheese
- 4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
- 80g pickled jalapeno chillies
- 4 x 25cm tortillas
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sour cream, to serve
For the salsa
- 4 tomatoes, diced
- 1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
- Large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
- Juice of 1 lime
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7. Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
- Place a large, non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Add the oil and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then crumble in the minced beef. Cook over a high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the mince is lightly browned.
- Stir in the spices and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the kidney beans and season to taste.
- Lightly brush one side of a tortilla with extra oil and place on a prepared tray, oiled side down. Sprinkle a little cheese over one half and spread a quarter of the beef mixture on top. Scatter some spring onions, jalapenos and cheese on top before folding over the tortilla. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.
- Brush one side of the 2 remaining tortillas with oil and place on top of the beef filling, oiled side up. Press them down firmly and place on the two highest shelves of the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- While the quesadillas are cooking, mix all the salsa ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.
- Remove the quesadillas from the oven and cut into wedges before serving with a dollop of sour cream and some salsa on the side.
About the author and chef
Scottish by birth, Gordon Ramsay was brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and initially aspired to be a professional footballer. However when an injury prematurely put an end to any hopes of a promising career on the pitch, Gordon went back to college to complete a course in hotel management.
Now internationally renowned and holding seven Michelin stars, Gordon has opened 34 restaurants globally including Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East. Ramsay has also become a star of the small screen in the US and UK and earned himself an EMMY nomination in 2017.
A keen triathlete, Gordon lives with his wife Tara and five children and divides his time between London, Los Angeles and Cornwall.
Gordon Ramsay Quick and Delicious (Hachette) $49.99, hachette.com.au