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Simple cooking with Gordon Ramsay:

We've seen him overhauling failing restaurants, teaching prisoners how to bake and ranting at celebrities over their poor performance in the kitchen.
Date: September 14 2012
Editor Rating:

But Gordon Ramsay's latest TV and book venture sees him go back to basics - plain and simple cooking.

In his Ultimate Cookery Course, the Michelin-starred chef aims to strip away the complexity of fancy restaurant cooking and show his fans how to prepare straight-forward, tasty dishes at home.

He shares a wealth of tips and tricks from his years as a professional chef - such as what to look for when buying a pan and how to chop an onion - to give home cooks that all-important confidence in the kitchen.

"I really think that's what separates good cooks from the mediocre ones," writes Ramsay, who has confidence in spades.

"Sure, you need to be able to master a few basics, but being able to act boldly and decisively, to have the confidence to ramp up the seasoning, for example, or to turn the gas up high and use the heat to your advantage - that's the real secret."

And to all those who say they simply can't cook, the restaurateur reckons they're just not interested enough in trying.

"In truth, there's no one with a genuine interest in learning who can't improve and, with enough practice, become a decent cook," he adds.

Here are three of Ramsay's dishes at home...


(Serves 4-6 as a starter)

This vegetable stew is such a simple combination of ingredients, but they undergo this amazing transformation during cooking to become more than the sum of their parts. A dish that just gets better and better the longer you allow the flavours to mingle.

Olive oil, for frying

2 eggplants, trimmed and cut into 3cm chunks

3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 red onion, peeled and diced

1 x 400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

Pinch of caster sugar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve

1 loaf of crusty white bread, eg. sourdough

Small bunch of mint, leaves roughly chopped

100g feta cheese, crumbled

Heat a heavy-based casserole dish over a high heat. Add a glug of oil and fry the eggplant for 3-4 minutes until coloured on all sides. Add the garlic and onion and fry for another 5 minutes until the onion is tender.

Stir in the butter beans and pomegranate molasses with a generous pinch of salt and grinding of pepper. Add the tomatoes and sugar. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes until the eggplant is tender and collapsed and the stew reduced and flavoursome. (If you find the mixture is drying out too much, add a couple of tablespoons of water.)

To serve, slice the bread and toast on each side until golden. Stir the mint through the eggplant, spoon onto the slices of toast and scatter over the crumbled feta. Serve warm.


Although it's not essential to salt eggplant before you fry it, doing so draws out the moisture and makes it absorb less oil. Simply chop or dice the eggplant as required, place in a colander and sprinkle with about one teaspoon of salt. Leave for 30 minutes, then rinse well, pat dry on kitchen paper and cook as you wish.


(Serves 2)

You'll be amazed at how two such simple things can taste so good together. The sweet and sour capsicums really cut through the richness of the beautifully sauteed chops and make for a really good, quick supper dish. As always when frying chops, leave them to rest as long as you cooked them so that they can tenderise and reabsorb their juices.

2 pork chops, about 200g each

Olive oil, for frying

2 garlic cloves, skin on, crushed

Small bunch of thyme


For the sweet and sour capsicums:

Olive oil, for frying

1 red onion, peeled and sliced

2 red capsicums, deseeded and thinly sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp caster sugar

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Small bunch of basil, leaves shredded

First prepare the capsicums. Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion and capsicums. Season with salt and pepper, add the sugar and saute over a 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 frying them.)

Add the vinegar and let it bubble for a minute or two until it has reduced and the capsicums are soft. Turn down the heat, add the tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Stir in the shredded basil and continue to cook for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat. Decant into 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 5mm deep and at 3-4cm 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 really well on both sides, pushing the seasoning into the meat.

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

Towards the end of cooking time, add 3 knobs 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 towards the back of the pan to help render the fat.) Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and place with the herbs on top of the chops.

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

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


Chop off the green stalk and stand the flat end on your chopping board. Now slice down from the top, almost like peeling an orange, working your way around the capsicum, to leave a tree of seeds. Now place the capsicum slices down on the worktop, and holding them down with your three middle fingers, cut them into slices. Don't try to rush: speed will come with practice.


(Serves 4)

This is like an old-fashioned jambalaya - a mixture of rice, vegetables and meat, a bit like risotto but without the need for stirring. Sausages are cheap but packed with flavour, and taking them out of the casing first flavours the rice beautifully. You can use any sausage you want - chorizo, merguez, pork or beef, depending on how spicy you want it.

Olive oil, for frying

1 red onion, peeled and sliced

1 red capsicum, deseeded and chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

5 spiced sausages, eg. Italian chilli

1 heaped tsp smoked paprika

200g long-grain rice

1 glass white wine

500ml chicken stock

4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped

1 tomato, chopped

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Add a glug of oil to a heavy-based casserole dish and fry the onion for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the capsicum and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Slit the sausage skins and crumble the sausage meat into the pan, then cook over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until coloured. Add the smoked paprika and mix. Season to taste.

Add the rice and stir well to mix thoroughly and absorb the flavour. Deglaze the pan by pouring in the white wine and scraping any bits stuck to the bottom. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid almost entirely absorbed.

Remove from the heat, gently fold in the spring onions, tomato and parsley and serve.


If frying onion, don't slice it too thinly or it will burn before it has had a chance to caramelise. Never rush cooking an onion. Always give it 5 or 6 minutes in the pan on its own.

* Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Cookery Course is published by Hachette Australia and is out in October. RRP. $39.99

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Recent Comments
3 Total Comments
Jane B says: 2012 09 14

Love Gordon! Will try out recipes.

Phoebe Torreggiani says: 2018 10 14


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