Cookbooks make the best gifts, especially if you love to cook new recipes and learn more about cooking. My daughters have always gifted me cookbooks and they typically know my style and favorite chefs.
They know, for example, that I am enamored with Gordon Ramsay. He’s an expert chef, has had many restaurants, holds many Michelin stars, and he’s hysterically funny to me. And yes, he likes to yell and swear.
One Christmas my daughters gave me Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food. I know I read the book, because I’d never ignore a cookbook, but I haven’t picked it up since. It was published in 2008.
The part that didn’t “thrill” me was the fast food aspect. Why would I need to make fast food?! (Note that this didn’t affect my joy in receiving that cookbook as a gift.)
I know that a lot of busy young parents who care about putting meals on the table require the “quick and easy” style of cooking. But even when I was at my busiest with children and work and life, how fast I could put a meal on the table was not my highest priority. Putting good and nourishing food on the table was.
So, not to sound like I think I’m so cool for having done that. On the contrary, I worked hard! It wasn’t always easy. But every school morning I’d get up extra early and make something like whole-grain pancakes with fresh fruit, nuts and seeds. My daughters never purchased lunches at school because I made those fresh every morning. And dinners? Even if I was dodging swim lessons or gymnastics classes, a heathy meal was always served, no matter how long it took to prepare.
So, when I re-read Ramsay’s cookbook, most of the recipes weren’t surprising to those of us who cook a lot. Pastas with olive oil, garlic, and breadcrumbs, or parsley, or tomatoes, or tuna. A lamb chop, a fish filet. Sandwiches. All to be expected in the fast food category.
I do give Chef Ramsay kudos, however, in that he writes, “Don’t skip meals or resort to junk food, however busy you are.” Amen.
So what did I pick to make from this book? A dessert!
Banana Mousse with Butterscotch Ripple Serves 4
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups whipping cream, chilled
4 large ripe bananas, chilled in the freezer for 1-2 hours
Squeeze of lemon Juice
Semisweet chocolate, for grating
Put the sugar, butter, and 2/3 cup of the cream in a pan over medium heat and stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved and the butter melted. Let bubble for a minute or two, stirring frequently, then remove from the heat and let the sauce cool completely.
Pour the remaining cream into a blender. Peel and chop the bananas and add to the blender along with a squeeze of lemon juice. Whiz until smooth, thick, and creamy.
Spoon a little sauce around the sides of four glasses, smudging some of it for an attractive effect. Divide the banana mousse among the glasses and top with more butterscotch.
Use a small teaspoon to ripple the butterscotch through the mousse. I’m not very good at this sort of thing.
Grate over a little semisweet chocolate and chill until ready to serve.
My husband loves bananas and he loved this dessert. Me? Not so much.
As much as I love butterscotch, the banana and butterscotch wasn’t a great pairing to me. I would have preferred a dark chocolate sauce.