Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Gordon Ramsay's 'Healthy Appetite' Review.

I got this book a few Christmases back from my Mum and I have used it quite a lot.  I tend to go through phases and have had another recent phase of referring to it often.  It must be when my jeans feel too tight!

The book's chapters are divided into healthy breakfast, healthy brunch/lunch, healthy working lunch, healthy Sunday lunch, healthy barbecues, healthy suppers, healthy kids, healthy entertaining and healthy desserts.  There are hundreds of ideas - some really easy and none particularly difficult or time-consuming.  It is healthy eating but not faddy or weird - just good food.  There are lots of lovely pictures but not every dish is photographed.  There is, however, quite a lot of helpful advice about a healthy diet and how to boost your eating. 

I have made many recipes from this book and there are still a good few more I want to get round to.  Some I have found successful are Stuffed Mushrooms with Ricotta and Walnuts on Toast; Berry and Yoghurt Smoothie; Smoked Trout, Orange and Wild Rocket Salad;Spiced Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes; Guinea Fowl with pea and lettuce fricasse.

Actually, I can't think of anything I have made so far from this book that hasn't been successful!

See this post to see the recipe for his seeded honey loaf.

 See this one for his rice noodle salad.

  Adam and I made his banana oat muffins recently and they were great for breakfast or a healthy snack after pre-school.  Here is Adam making them and the muffins cooling in the pan.

I made Wild Rice and Basmati Salad with Smoked Ham for tea a week or two ago.

Other recipes which are on my to do list are Oaty Walnut and Cheese Scones; Marinated Halibut with spiced aubergines; Venison Pie with Sweet Potato Topping (calling me this Autumn, I think).

 Today's recipe is also from this book - Fishcakes With Anchovy Dressing. These are lovely lemony fishcakes and I have made then twice in the past week.  The anchovy dressing is brilliant but for the second serving I made a dressing by microwaving some chilli jam and honey together and it worked well too.

My anchovy dressing would have looked nicer on the plate if I had, a) not forgotten to keep back some of the flat leaf parsley and, instead, piled it all into the fishcakes and, b) not overcooked it by forgetting about it so that the anchovy has all practically melted into the sauce and turned everything a sludgy brown colour instead of staying in lovely fleshy chunks.

Recipe - Serves 4.

Ingredients - 

400g waxy potatoes
2tbsp olive oil
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 -3 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and black pepper
few thyme sprigs
1/2 lemon, sliced
300g salmon fillet
300g smoked haddock fillet
handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
handful of chervil, chopped
3tbs plain flour
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
50g Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil

Anchovy dressing:
2 tbsp capers
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
4 marinated anchovies, chopped
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method - 

1. Peel the potatoes, cut into even-sized pieces and drop into a pan of well-salted water.  Bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until tender when pierced with a knife.  Drain well. While still hot, mash the potatoes using a potato ricer back into the pan.  Mix in the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and seasoning to taste.  Leave to cool.
2. Meanwhile, add the thyme, lemon slices and salmon to a wide pan of slowly simmering salted water and poach for a minute.  Slide in the smoked haddock and gently poach for another 4-5 mins until both fish are almost cooked through.  Transfer to a plate, using a fish slice.  When cool enough to handle, break the fish into large flakes, discarding the skin and any pin-bones.
3. Mix the fish and chopped herbs into the mashed potatoes, using your hands.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Divide the mixture into four and shape into neat patties.  Season the flour with salt and pepper.  Coat the fishcakes in seasoned flour, then dip into the egg and finally into the breadcrumbs, turning to coat evenly all over.  Reshape them as necessary and place on a tray or plate.  Chill for 2 hours to set the shape.
4. To cook, heat the oven to 180C/GM 4.  Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide ovenproof frying pan.  Fry the fishcakes for 2-3 mins until golden brown, then flip over and fry the other side for 1-2 mins.  Finish cooking in the oven for 5-7 mins.
5. Make the dressing in the meantime, by gently warming all the ingredients together in a pan for 3-4 mins.  Spread a generous spoonful of dressing on each warm plate and rest a fishcake in the centre.  Serve immediately with peas or beans.


  1. I have this book- got it a few months back for my birth day from the hubby.}:P Haven't actually made anything from it yet, but after reading your review, I think I really need to soon.}:P

  2. Looks like a great book. I am very impressed with all your bread making. I was watching ' the Great British Bakeoff' last night and they were making bread, it was very inspiring. I scrolled through your posts to catch up, very interesting post on the soy sauce.Many thanks for your visit and kind comments, I do appreciate it. Have a lovely week, love Linda x

  3. So nice to get a review of a cookbook - they can turn into such an investment (especially when I can't use Amazon and their low prices!) and just occasionally they're so disappointing. This one sounds great though - and I particularly like the sound of those muffins that Adam's making. HEALTHY CAKE FOR BREAKFAST - HURRAH!

  4. oh i like reading real reviews of cook books....am looking for a healthy eating one...not a huge gordon fan...but what you have posted so far looks great (esp the bread!) :)

  5. Wolf - nice birthday present (but was he trying to tell you something? reckon I would have a huff if my hubby gave me anything with the words healthy eating on!)

    Flowers - Yes, I loved the bread episode of GBBO too. I agree - it WAS inspiring. It also made me realise that I have always probably made my focaccia with too little water and more like a normal bread. Will need to try again now I know the secret!

    Macaroon - Something for breakfast that can be just grabbed is wonderful. Yes, even getting the milk out to pour on cereal is a bit too much effort for me - I am not a morning person.

    Victoria - I have my suspicions that this book may not have that much to do with Gordon Ramsay. I just wonder if there is a team of people who put the book together then he just signs his name to it. I'd love to know the truth.

  6. Great review - those fish cakes look delicious, I can understand why you made them twice in a week!

    Very impressed that your helper is managing to get all the mixture in the muffin cases!

  7. Ummm delicious looking fishcakes! Great book review too.

  8. BVG - Adam is quite a sensitive wee boy who takes his time and tries to do things properly. He is fab at tidying up!!! Unlike his little brother who is the complete opposite.

    MissCakeBaker - thank you. :-)

  9. They all look delicious - I really must find my copy of the book and have a really good look through. I bought it ages ago and have ignored it. Great review!

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