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Gordo’s Cookbook Christmas List

The fat one has found a little something for all the cooks in your life

Written by . Published on December 5th 2011.

Gordo’s Cookbook Christmas List

GORDO, in a previous life, published cookbooks. So many years ago he doesn’t want to be reminded but, currently on a strict diet of 600 calories a day and four and a half weeks in, with three and a half to go, he is finding himself standing in Waterstones cookery department salivating a good deal more than can be good for him.

The book has to have recipes that, should they require a little complicated monter au beurre-ing, for example, they actually explain somewhere in the tome what monter au bloody beurre-ing is all about and not least, how to actually do it.

Fat-ChefSo, as reviewing restaurants on 200 calories per meal isn’t the way forward he has decided to put his not inconsiderable knowledge of how to construct a good cookbook to good use and recommend five books to buy for presents this Christmas.

There are some ground rules; looking pretty folks isn’t at the top of the list in this piece. Gordo is assuming that the person you are buying for is, like the great fat one, an enthusiastic amateur who accepts that he still needs to learn stuff. Therefore, the book has to have recipes that, should they require a little complicated monter au beurre-ing, for example, they actually explain somewhere in the tome what monter au bloody beurre-ing is all about and not least, how to actually do it.

Secondly, they have to work. Gordo was completely baffled, 30 years ago, to have one executive of a still well known publishing company look at him as if he was mental when he explained that he had actually cooked every one of the dishes in The Sunday Times Complete Cookbook and that he should consider removing the recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara as it was a) not authentic and b) shite.

Indochine An Also RanThirdly, the ingredients have to be available. Yes, Gordo knows what you are thinking. Surely these chefs and cookery writers don’t do that do they? Yes they bloody do. Like, for example, Luke Nguyen in his beautiful book, Indochine, Baguettes and Bánh Mí: Finding France in Vietnam. As he keeps irritating Gordo by insisting that the reader should never use tinned coconut milk/water but the water from fresh, young green coconuts Gordo has knocked him off the list. Where is Gordo or any of his readers going to find that ingredient FFS?!

If there are pictures, they need to be a facsimile of the finished dish as instructed. Which knocks another one off the list, John Gregory-Smith’s otherwise excellent Mighty Spice. Both the sea bass ceviche, my old son, as well as the (admittedly bloody fabulous) tropical fruit salad with a chilli, star anise, cinnamon and lime dressing look nothing like your pictures. Grrr… this confuses beginners who wish to learn.

The point about Gordo going on with himself is to demonstrate that the fat bastard has actually given some thought to this, so here, without further ado, are Gordo’s recommendations. Buy with confidence, dear readers. You know Gordo is right.


Hix Oyster and Chop House by Mark Hix
Blimey, Gordo loves a fellow food voyager, as Mark Hix undoubtedly is. Owning a couple of restaurants now that are getting great reviews, Hix has produced a class book from which we can learn. Not the least, a fantastic chapter on oysters and how to shuck one of the tricky little bleeders.  If you fancy smoking your own salmon in the back garden, there are handy instructions. This is something Gordo would love to do if he owned a house in a neighbourhood such as West Didsbury in Manchester or Islington, London. Just to piss off Vanessa and Jonnie, the next door neighbours.


Comfort and Spice: Recipes for Modern Living by Niamh Shields
London-based Irish bird Niamh Shields is a delightfully funny member of the usually serially dull London food bloggers. Gordo met her at a private dinner given by Franco Sotgiu. Niamh left the guests with a signed copy of her book which intrigued Gordo with its ’70s food photography, simplicity and roster of recipes. Clearly well thought through they are a testament to her passion and enthusiasm. Niamh has turned Gordo onto cooking his own beans as well as an outstandingly brilliant simple dish, spiced roast duck legs with potatoes and pancetta. It is also pretty unique in explaining how to make your own butter. Knockout.


Heston Blumenthal at Home by Heston Blumenthal
The dead ringer for Brains in Thunderbirds has produced books so far that are completely and utterly useless for anything but masturbation once you have got a bit too blasé with your particular flavour of rumpy pumpy on YouPorn. However, he has a new book out and it works. It needs to be bought, along with a pressure cooker, just to try out his chicken stock. Did Gordo mention the triple cooked chips? Oh dearie me, after a right load of poncing about, entirely do-able by anyone with no brains and lots of patience, these are FUCKING FANTASTIC. Buy it.


Simon Wonderful Recipes

The Good Cook by Simon Hopkinson.
All Gordo has to say to you, dear reader, is this: fried ham and cheese sandwich. Ooooh dear. Promise any sexual favour to your partner in return for him/her/it making these on a night in watching Heat. Or When Harry met Sally, whatever. This book has the benefit of being matched by Simon’s excellent BBC TV series, which is on the net and the trainee good cook can watch it step by step. Every recipe is a delight. Great investment.


Cuisine Gourmand by Michel Guérard.
Guérard is God for Gordo. With his three starred Michelin restaurant in South West France, Les Prés d’Eugenie, he can do no wrong. That restaurant is still the best in the world as far as Gordo is concerned and this cookbook, arguably the best ever published. Guérard, along with Paul Bocuse and the Troisgros Brothers revolutionised French cooking 30 years ago, changing cooking forever.

Guerard This book, the best of all the books published by renowned chefs, is the one. Guérard explains the methods clearly, from cooking with steam to sautéing. Step by step, Cuisine Gourmand, along with his daughter’s grandma, Mrs Hague, God bless her, taught Gordo to become a passable cook. The lobster salad featured as a starter when Gordo did the TV program Come Dine with Me, whilst the poulet au vinaigre de vin, (chicken with wine vinegar) is his all time favourite dinner party dish for four people.

The only problem with this one is that it is out of print, but a little work on the internet will find an old copy. Well worth having.


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AnonymousDecember 6th 2011.

Cuisine Gourmande is a good call, i bought one off Amazon, absolute classic.

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