Cookbook review: Gordon Ramsay gets his teeth into health with Ultimate Fit Food
Shouty telly chef and Michelin-starred restaurateur Gordon Ramsay has a new healthy cookbook out. The Kitchen Nightmares host and fitness fanatic focuses on recipes that help you build up muscle, boost energy and improve health and healing post-workouts. Here's our verdict...
The book: Ultimate Fit Food by Gordon Ramsay
Who will love it?
Anyone who's looking at their gut thinking, 'I need to do something about this,' and any bona fide gym bunnies who want to switch from protein shakes to more interesting flavoured meals that will still enhance fitness and training. Also, people who have a thing for carpaccio and/or raw salads.
What is it trying to get us cooking?
Yep, loads of carpaccio – be it venison or courgette – and loads of salads, from Asian slaws, to ones overflowing with corn, pomegranate and that trendiest of veggies, the cauliflower. There are lots of fresh juices too (the watermelon cooler looks particularly thirst-quenching), and Gordon deigns to cater for those with a sweet tooth (although he is fairly light on the white stuff) with homemade fig rolls and peanut butter and chocolate icecream.
How easy is it?
The recipes are nearly all incredibly short, with just a few steps to follow, and are well laid out (oh, all that lovely white space!)
The best recipe is...
The tray-baked chicken with butter beans, leeks and spinach (see recipe below).
The recipe we're most likely to post pictures of on Instagram is...
The Californian 'fried' chicken sandwich. Heaped with avocado slices, and super crispy baked buttermilk batter (secret ingredient: puffed rice!), it looks a-maze-ing.
The recipe we're least likely to try is...
The chocolate and avocado mousse. Sorry, but we just don't believe avocado should be in sweet stuff – whether you can see it or not.
It's got a calorie/protein/carbs/sugar nutritional breakdown alongside each recipe, so you know exactly what you're putting into your body, plus it has handy tips (like grease a spoon with flavourless oil before measuring out honey) and ingredient substitutes on every page.
4/5 – It all looks great and incredibly healthy, but we're not convinced we'll feel suitably full after every dish.
TRAY-BAKED CHICKEN WITH BUTTER BEANS, LEEKS AND SPINACH
1 whole chicken, jointed, or 2 breasts, 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks, skin removed
1tbsp olive oil
1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
1 leek, trimmed, halved lengthways and sliced
200ml dry white wine
400ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 thyme sprigs
2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained and rinsed
250g baby spinach leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180 C/gas 4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place a large roasting tray on the hob to warm up and add the oil. Once hot, brown the chicken pieces on all sides until nicely coloured. Turn the chicken skin side up.
Add the garlic to the tray, cut side down, then add the leeks and stir around in the oil. Pour in the white wine and allow to bubble for two minutes, then add the stock. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom.
Turn off the heat and add the thyme sprigs, butter beans and spinach, nestling them between the chicken pieces. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything together, then put the tray into the preheated oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Give the tray a stir occasionally to make sure everything is cooking evenly.
Remove the tray from the oven and leave to rest for five minutes before serving in warm shallow bowls.
:: Ultimate Fit Food by Gordon Ramsay is published by Hodder & Stoughton, priced £25. Photography Jamie Orlando Smith.