I would love to be a good cook. I watch MasterChef and Great British Bake Off aspiring to create something incredible, but left to my own devices some slightly questionable concoctions appear in the kitchen. It all seems easy enough when they’re doing it. (How I can make readymade pancake-mix batter inedible is something I will live to wonder out.)
So when the prospect of making dinner for eight loomed ahead I put Dominos on speed dial. My task was to create a three course meal from Gordon Ramsay’s classic recipe book Kitchen Heaven, and I picked the three courses that would lead most easily to an edible result: Tomato and mozzarella bruschetta; puff pastry pizza; and chocolate fondant.
I thought the hard part was going to be the cooking but the trip to Morrisons for the ingredients almost ended up being the bigger challenge. There seemed to be a number of obscure ingredients, like the black olive tapenade (an olive paste) that was to form the base of the bruschetta, which even the people in Morrisons hadn’t heard of. I think on a student budget a few things could be cut or altered slightly (although the olive paste was actually worth the effort once found).
The cooking itself went surprisingly well and all three courses seemed to be genuinely enjoyed by my guests. The chocolate fondant particularly was to die for and I was delighted to discover that Gordon’s measurements were double what were required (unlike the puff-pastry for the pizza which was much too little). Once the pizza was cooked though it was tasty – an interesting take on traditional pizza, it is perhaps more suitable for a starter or snack as opposed to a main meal on its own though.
For someone who is still only dreaming of great cookery triumphs, Gordon provided a three course meal that was tasty, interesting and achievable. Most importantly all of my guests enjoyed the meal and selecting dishes from such a wonderful book was a complete pleasure. Definitely try the chocolate fondant, there are no words…
Simple, quick and easy to make. The amount of olive past suggested by Gordon was not enough for them all, I would recommend doubling it. I would perhaps try something more adventurous for a future dinner party but it would be perfect for you for lunch.
Puff Pastry Pizza
Definitely need more pastry! For a decent amount of pizza I would suggest about half a roll per person. The puff pastry was an interesting change for pizza base and I would definitely make it again as a quick and easy part of a meal.
Heaven! I put individual paper cake cases in the cake tin for ease of removal. I think I would have had a bit of an issue had I not done as they are rather gooey and would have fallen apart if I hadn’t. Fill the cases only 2/3 full as I made the mistake of putting too much in and had some considerable pudding overflow while they were cooking. They really are delicious though. May have to go make some more now.
Kitchen Heaven is available now from Penguin priced £14.99
Words: Hannah Shearer