Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Gordon Ramsay's Restaurant Empire Wasn't Built In A Day

Ramsay's restaurant empire started by handling a few tables in a year. Soon later, those few tables turned into managing thousands of tables. Those tables were the foundation of his entire career in the culinary industry and other industries, such as gaming and the' Hell's kitchen' new slot game, where even you can play with fire without getting burnt. 


In a nutshell, Gordon Ramsay is a TV personality, movie star, author, and most importantly, a world-renowned chef and restaurateur. Nevertheless, considering his table management skills and newly found slot game producing ability, he might also add casino table games to that list as well.

Although it seems like Ramsay gained his wild success overnight, he played with fire in more places than the kitchen to make it where he is now. One of those places being, Gordon Ramsay At Royal Hospital Road. 


Restaurant Gordon Ramsay At Royal Hospital Road


After a sports injury pushed his soccer career to the sidelines, Ramsay ended up taking another road to success. Specifically, Royal Hospital Road, otherwise known as his first solo restaurant, opened in 1998 and still serving signature Ramsay meals after more than two decades. In addition, this one restaurant led to the opening of approximately 57 other restaurants worldwide.


However, before Restaurant Gordon Ramsay opened its doors to the public, Gordon had to make peace with the fact that becoming a professional sports star was no longer in the cards. That is when he decided to attend North Oxon Technical College, where he completed a course in hotel management and graduated at the age of 21. This love for the culinary arts led him to perfect his culinary skills under master chefs such as Albert Roux, Joel Robuchon, and Guy Savoy. 


Seven Michelin Stars Worldwide


Apart from being the star of many television shows and movies, Ramsay earned himself several stars off-screen. The restaurant that was the stepping stone to his career, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, was awarded three Michelin Stars in 2001 and is now London's longest-running restaurant to hold this award. 


He also has another 4 Michelin stars to his name awarded through restaurant Pétrus in Knightsbridge, Le Pressoir d'Argent in Bordeaux, and Gordon Ramsay au Trianon in Versailles.


Over his entire career so far, Ramsay acquired 16 Michelin Stars, making him the third most rewarded chef globally. Behind his beloved and late mentor Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse. 


Inevitable Hiccups In Business


Of course, just like every other business venture, even a businessman such as Ramsay didn't have his plans go as planned, and several roadblocks took him in a different direction. You could have witnessed this just at the start of his career and by several losses of Michelin Stars. Nevertheless, his persistence, determination, and incredible work hours resulted in over 50 restaurants since the start of his career.


Gordon Ramsay once said in a Reddit takeover, "I work incredibly hard. I have about three to four hours a day off, and I work my freakin' ass off because I get so excited with projects!"

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Cereal Date Muffins

These Cereal Date Muffins are moist, sweet and full of @naturespathorganic Flax Plus Multibran Flakes. Snag one while it's still warm for a mid morning snack - it's an excellent and nutritious pick me up!

Happy weekend! It still feels weird to be saying that, since for the last year and a half it's felt like time has no meaning. Then again, Saturdays still hold a little bit of magic even if we are still in this weird limbo of time and space! One of the things I love to do in my spare time is making muffins - they are like little promises for the future since they can be frozen, packed for lunches, grabbed mid morning or on the way home and always appreciated. 

Of course, if I'm baking muffins, I am always experimenting! I had a box of Nature's Path Flax Plus Multibran Flakes in my pantry that they had graciously sent me, and thumbing through one of my cookbooks I came across a muffin recipe using bran flakes instead of my usual "twig" or raw bran addition. Using that as a base, I set about adding flavour - namely with maple products (hey, I have to keep my Canadian card 😀) but also sweet, candy-like dates. The mixture comes together easily and while the resulting muffins aren't giant bakery-like superstars in appearance, they are absolutely what I think of when I think of muffins. The amount of fibre in these also helps keep you full for hours which is a bonus if, like me, you're always doing something! 

Thanks again to Nature's Path for the opportunity to create these treats!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Ruby Rhubarb Bars

These nondescript looking Ruby Rhubarb Bars hide a ton of fresh spring flavor- from the dash of local honey to backyard rhubarb and fruity ruby chocolate. Eaten alone or next to ice cream, they're an excellent addition to your Father's Day or summer picnic basket.

There are few guarantees in this world, but one thing I can always count on happening is my absolute monster of a rhubarb plant coming up every year. I've had it for 13 years now and even when we've had ice storms that killed huge trees that thing just keeps coming back. I admire it's tenacity to be honest. Luckily, rhubarb is one of those vegetables that pairs well with others and is incredibly versatile, so it very rarely goes to waste. 

One of my colleagues is a verifiable rhubarb fanatic and requests rhubarb "things" every spring, from pie to compote. This year I decided to up the ante with an extra treat perfect for backyard bbqs and picnics - bar cookies. Much like blondies in nature, these brown sugar bars are chewy, rich and a nice break from dark chocolate (wait, did I say that?). For a twist though, the batter is studded with diced rhubarb and one of my new favourite "alternate" chocolates - ruby chocolate. This variety is a beautiful pink colour and has prominent fruity, almost tart notes to it. In fact, it really is not unlike strawberries in colour and flavour, so it is a natural to add to these bars! It's also a chocolate type that is gaining more popularity, and therefore availability, but if you don't have it on hand I'd suggest white chocolate instead. 

The true test is to let these chill right down before digging in - I know, it's torture, but it is worth it, especially paired with a simple ice cream for dessert.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Honey Graham Oatmeal Cookies (Baked or Not!)

These oatmeal cookies are chewy, sweet and full of "bits" accented by @nakednutrition Naked Shake Peanut Butter Blueberry powder. The best part? You can eat the dough raw by the spoonful if you want - Graham crumbs replace flour in the eggless recipe so there is little e.coli risk!

I love my home ec classes. Even on Zoom, the kids love being able to watch me cook or create treats (and sometimes they even mix along!). I altered my curriculum this year to incorporate more "no bake" items, partially due to the unpredictable format of lessons and partially due to the limitations on lifting and carrying my car accident placed on me. These oatmeal based "cookies" were one such invention - filled with safe-to-eat graham cracker crumbs, oats and optionally a few scoops of protein powder in place of flour, sweetened with honey and packed with tasty mix-ins, what more could a kid want? 

One of my favourite discoveries with this recipe is that it is absolutely bake-friendly, if standard cookies are more your speed. I baked off some of the extra dough that didn't get consumed raw, and when eaten in a day or so they're a great chewy-crisp texture. After that, they do get really soft and fall-aparty (yes, that's a word now) so I tossed a tray of them in the freezer for future ice cream sandwich making. I'm very tempted to make a honey-vanilla frozen yogurt to nestle in between these cookies, since the flavours would mesh really well!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Multigrain Blueberry Bread #BreadBakers

This Multigrain Blueberry Bread is full of nutty flavour from whole grain cereal while a hearty addition of @croftersorganic Wild Blueberry Spread adds a touch of sweetness and authentic fruit flavour. Baked in loaf pans, a slice or two are perfect for breakfast - I suggest toasted and topped with cream cheese and more blueberry spread, but they apparently also work with bacon and eggs!

Toast and jam used to be the absolute best part of a school day morning for me. Quick, easy and as variable as the available toppings in the fridge and pantry, it was a great way to get something in before the 45 minute car ride to school. When we had homemade bread on hand, breakfast was even better - you could not beat the heartiness of a slice toasted golden and topped. 

Now that I'm the principal bread maker in the house, I love playing around with ideas from my childhood as well as flavour combos that just taste awesome. I still had a large amount of blueberry jam left over after making the Butter Pecan Thumbprints and wondered if I could swap it in place of honey in a standard whole wheat bread recipe. The results were even better than I thought - the perfect blend of sweet, fruity and nutty with the multigrain and flax mix, a beautiful toastable crumb and the most delicate purple hue. Thankfully the recipe makes two large loaves because the first one disappeared in a few days!

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.
This month’s event is Breakfast Bread hosted by Zesty South Indian Kitchen

Friday, June 11, 2021

Honey-Oat Granola Bars

Who doesn't love a chewy granola bar? These are made with a mixture of oats, local honey, coconut oil and a couple scoops of @nakednutrition Naked Shake Peanut Butter Blueberry powder. Baked in a loaf pan, the bars are the perfect snack size - chocolate drizzle is optional (I guess!).

 Summer is (almost) here, and with the end of school comes the hordes of kids (and adults) who are seemingly always starving. When I worked summer camp, we knew that aside from frequent water and shade breaks, the campers would be craving energy boosts to keep up with all the activities they were doing. Apart from fruit (which is great, but needs to be kept cool), we went through a lot of granola bars. It's easy to see why - they're convenient, portable, individually wrapped, high energy and kid-sized. Field trip purchasing runs involved an embarrassing amount of boxes of the snacks!

That said, buying all those boxes is expensive - not to mention some bars are essentially candy with a health halo attached. Luckily, not only are home-made granola bars easy to make, you can get the kids involved with mixing and you can add anything your heart desires to the mixture - my Home Economics students decided that dried apples, cherries, chocolate chips and banana chips were top contenders, while I opted to keep the base "bit" free and instead added flavour and nutrition with a healthy dose of Naked Shake Peanut Butter Blueberry powder and Naked Rice protein powder. I drizzled each bar with dark chocolate for no other reason than I could, so why not? 
Once the bars are cooled, you can wrap them individually for travel and keep them on the counter for a week or so, or freeze them. Of course, if you're just enjoying them at home you can keep them in a covered container for the same amount of time, or freeze. Here's to a summer of beginning adventures!

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Veggie Pesto Pizza

Veggie Pesto Pizza is all homemade and vegan, from the Sweet Potato Pizza Crust to the spinach and lentil pesto and mozzarella cheese. Leftovers (if any!) Freeze well and are perfect for snacks, lunches or next-day dinners.
Pizza and I used to be best friends when I was growing up. There was a small pizza place around the corner from my house growing up, and the owner Kerry was always there with a smile, asking us kids about our weekends and occasionally throwing us a double slice for the price of a single. School pizza days were okay, but the mass produced stuff couldn't hold a candle to Kerry's hand tossed crust and generous toppings.

As I got older and developed my host of dietary issues, pizza generally fell off the menu for me. I loved making it - I just couldn't eat it! When N (who also eschews pizza due to his sensitivity to tomatoes) was musing about missing his pizza, the two of us put our heads together and came up with an alternative that was healthy, tomato free and still delicious! A quick shop later and we had all the fixings for a new, vegan but equally delicious pizza on hand, using one of his favourite veggies - sweet potato!

I added the sweet potato to the crust in lieu of some of the water and oil traditionally present. I added a decent portion of whole wheat flour to the mix for flavour and nutrition, keeping enough all purpose to keep the dough smooth and elastic. Instead of tomato sauce, I whipped up a spinach and lentil pesto with lots of garlic and (vegan) Parmesan which added a great bright flavour that accented the sweetness of both the crust and the onion / pepper topping. A quick blast in the oven on my pizza stone later and we had two pies ready to go - one disappeared between dinner and breakfast (cold pizza is amazing, am I right?) and the other was packed for his work meals the next day. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Cookies with Naked Shake

 These two bite cookies are tender, ever so slightly chewy morsels packed with the rich flavor of @nakednutrition Naked Shake Peanut Butter Blueberry. Bursts of dried blueberries and chopped dark chocolate add texture and a fun twist on tradition too.

I love pretty much everything about cookies - they are fast to make (usually), portable, and open to pretty much every variable under the sun. If one type of cookie isn't your thing, there are probably at least 20 that are. The variability that a simple recipe - say, a classic chocolate chip - has affords a whole world of possibilities for not only flavour, but texture and nutrition. It was in that vein that I decided to take a simple, two-bite chocolate chip cookie recipe and turn it into a snack that was a great medley of sweet, fruity and nutty. I was inspired by the jar of Peanut Butter Blueberry Naked Shake sitting on my countertop, freshly opened after I had made myself a sample with cashew milk and discovered it tasted like a PB&J without the bread. I had dried blueberries on hand and a bar of dark chocolate, so along with the shake powder these cookies packed a punch of flavour!

I am so fortunate to be partnering with Naked Nutrition once again. You may remember them from my posts using their Naked Collagen and Naked Rice protein powders - two products which regularly make their way into my baking and eating routine - and this time they've come up with an innovative, gluten-free, soy-free and vegan protein shake powder made with fruit juice, MCT oil and no artificial sweeteners or flavours. One serving (5.8 tbsp or 2 scoops) 20g of protein and only 5g of sugar wrapped up in 140 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. Their blend uses non-GMO pea protein, which I found paired extremely well with the nutty peanut powder in the flavour I chose. I obviously used the Peanut Butter Blueberry flavour (what can I say, I love my peanut butter!) but they also have a strawberry-banana flavour as well. The powder is on sale now with a suggested retail price of $39.99 US - a deal since a little goes a long way!