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His beautifully illustrated book includes many of the recipes he uses in his TV series, Kitchen Nightmares, to replace tired and misguided fancy food with hearty fare focused more on local produce and fresh, good-quality ingredients simply presented. Don't be intimidated by Ramsay's reputation for three Michelin star perfection. The man whose previous book, Gordon Ramsay's Just Desserts, includes a recipe for a roasted rhubarb and apple crumble (an easy and warming comfort pudding), is surprisingly accessible as a creator of cookbooks for anyone's kitchen. He is a master of great classics such as bouillabaisse, fish pie, Caesar salad and a stuffed loin of roast suckling pig with crispy crackling that you'll be calling your mum about. Aware that any kitchen needs to be aware of the bottom line, he revels in the possibilities of a rich, intensely-flavoured braised oxtail in beef tomatoes and a braised shank of lamb that falls off the bone onto a soft parsnip purée. In kitchen heaven, kids are always first to the table to enjoy friendly and healthy fare such as lamb stew with parsley dumplings and young carrots, or for a more grown-up palette, pheasant baked with ceps. And the aforementioned crumble may have to make way for calvados rice pudding with caramelised apples, while his reinvigoration of black forest gateau will spoon away any bad memories you have of the sweet trolley. For the unbelievers, he even builds bridges between himself and vegetarians, demonstrating how seriously he takes vegetarian food with recipes such as baked asparagus and parmesan loaf and braised lentils and Swiss chard, turnips and parsley ravioli.
Ramsay's tips on how to create ambience and write a good menu is all fantastically useful whether you are running a restaurant or having a dinner party, with interesting insights on the techniques, processes and personalities that have contributed to his success. If the horror stories turn your stomach, Kitchen Heaven is divine intervention indeed. --Fiona Buckland