I have here, Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite. We bought this book as a coffee table decoration in mid-2009, before we even had a coffee table of our own. It was read in the car on the way home and haven’t really opened it since. Also, I spilled Diet Coke on it.
We are rabid Gordon Ramsay fans and watch all of his shows: Hell’s Kitchen, Masterchef, Kitchen Nightmares and The F Word. I also have a couple of his books, including Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection which is an autobiographical rant about his upbringing and getting started in the kitchen. This book also points out that at one point, he was a very unhappy, overweight chef and knows a thing or two about healthy cooking.
Amazon reviewers note that the book seems to closely follow the Mediterranean diet. Lots of fish, meat and vegetables with a few pasta entrees and light cakes and roasted fruit for dessert. Entrees for kids even look great, with stir-fried duck in lettuce cups, chicken burgers, sweet potato wedges and baked eggs in ratatouille.
It consists of bright, clean photographs, a wide range of healthy recipes, features scattered throughout the book on things to do with tomatoes, oily fish or summerberries, as well as a section in the back about making your own stocks, entertaining, cooking for kids, healthy snacks, and even squeezing in exercise. Browsing through any cookbook, I can hum, haw and sticky note a bunch of pages to check back on later. All of the food in this cook book looks delicious and relatively affordable, but nothing jumps out as something I need to make right now.
I will close my eyes and flip to a random page in the center of the book, although hindsight says maybe I should have flipped a little further to the back where all of the desserts are.
Beef Burgers with Beet Relish and Cucumber Raita – Page 119 of Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite. This makes four servings.
The burger derived all its flavour from the smoked paprika, which made it semi-tasty considering it was just a lump of ground beef with only four seasonings. Not pictured is the slice of mozzarella placed on top once the camera was put away. It was paired with pinot grigio despite the fact that all my wine knowledge consists of is that I like drinking it and red wine goes with red meat. Matt works in a condominium, and residents are always feeding him… leftover cake, food their parents made, wine, etc. So I happened to have a random bottle of white. Matt doesn’t like wine, so ownership is automatically transferred over to me. Also, my mom said I could.
Suspiciously, when perusing the internet for an easy to copy link so I wouldn’t have to type the whole recipe out, I found the exact burger and beet relish recipe on a different website – but with other ingredients added to the burger such as Worcesececestershire sauce, Tobasco sauce along with – gasp – buns and toppings. Instead of the raita, there’s oven roasted potato wedges. This one can be found here.
It wasn’t amazing, but I thought it was good. (Matt: “I can see why British food isn’t very popular”). I’ve never in my life bought capers, I had no idea you could buy pre-cooked beets in a can and I stalked produce department people throughout Metro trying to work up the courage to ask them if the bunch of greenery I had in my hand was indeed arugula (it was not). Other than that, his directions are extremely easy to follow and I enjoyed myself quite a bit. This was a great experience and the perfect date night idea – to pick a recipe at random, go gather the ingredients and come home to make it.
Beef Burgers with Beet Relish and Cucumber Raita
1 1/2lb (600g) good quality lean ground beef
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
sea salt and black pepper
olive oil, to cook and drizzle
8oz (250g) cherry tomatoes on the vine
splash of balsamic vinegar
8 oz (250g) cooked beat in natural juices, drained
3 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
handful of italian parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large cucumber
handful of mint leaves, chopped
3-4 tbsp plain yoghurt
squeeze of lemon juice, to taste
Seasoning the burgers:
Put the ground beef into a large bowl and add the paprika, cayenne, 1/2 tsp salt (or less to taste) and 1/2 tsp pepper. Mix well with your hands, then shape into 4 neat patties. Place on a plate or tray, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes to set the shape.
The beet relish:
Roughly chop the beet and place in a food processor along with the capers, parsley, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Pulse until the mixture is roughly chopped – you don’t want to puree the beet. Season to taste and transfer to a bowl.
The cucumber raita:
Peel the cucumber and quarter lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Roughly chop the flesh and place in a bowl. Add the chopped mint and toss with enough yogurt to bind. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cooking it all up:
Heat the barbecue or heat a little olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Brush the burgers with olive oil and cook on the barbecue, or pan-fry. Remove to a warm plate and let rest for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes to the barbecue or skillet and drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes are soft but still retain their shape.
Serve and impress:
Serve the burgers with the tomatoes, beet relish, and cucumber raita. For a neat presentation, spoon the raita into lettuce cups and garnish with a handful of arugula.
Click HERE for a printable version of this recipe.