Monday, November 24, 2008

This breaks my heart

Gordon Ramsay has been having an affair with Sarah Symonds (who famously had an affair with Lord Jeffrey Archer back in 2001 and wrote a book called Having An Affair? A Handbook For The Other Woman) for the past seven years. Above are a picture of Gordon leaving the Marriott Hotel off London's Grosvenor's Square after their latest "meeting" this past Thursday, and a picture of the mistress herself.

This breaks my heart. I can't believe I shook hands with Gordon Ramsay. Does no one believe in the institution of marriage anymore?

The sad thing is that Gordon Ramsay has always been thought of a family man and extremely devoted to his wife, Tana, of 12 years.

Here are some excerpts from the article I read:

In 2006 Ramsay was voted Celebrity Father Of The Year and in 2007 the Ramsays were named Celebrity Family Of The Year.

He and Symonds first met in 2001 at London’s Chinawhite nightclub, just a few months after she had revealed her affair with top Tory and author Jeffrey Archer.

The News of the World was told: “Ramsay and Sarah exchanged mobile phone numbers and became lovers just a few weeks later. So much for him being true to his wife.”

In October 2007, Symonds cemented her reputation as a “professional mistress” by writing her book: Having An Affair? A Handbook For The Other Woman. It made such an impact that she was a guest on The Oprah Winfrey show where she was interviewed as a role model for mistresses. In the first edition of the book Symonds, who moved from LA to Newport in her native Wales in February this year, refers to a pal who had an affair with a chef with many similarities to Ramsay.

She wrote: “A friend of mine was having an affair with a world- famous TV chef, well-known on both sides of the Atlantic for both his bad language and his good food.

In June, he told another newspaper: “Tana and I have a great marriage even though we spend very little time together. The time we have together is quality rather than quantity.”

Again, in an article last year, Ramsay said: “Sunday night is mine and Tana’s precious night. We’ll start with a gin and tonic and put a bottle of Ruinart champagne to chill in the ice machine. For dessert we just take the champagne upstairs to bed.” And in one lengthy interview he gave four years into his affair with Symonds, he said: “On a Friday night, Tana will ask me to keep my chef’s jacket on when we make love.

Below is a picture of Gordon and his wife in happier times.

Why, Gordon, why?!?

Foodie Fight

image courtesy of

I was flipping through my Sur La Table catalogue and saw the Foodie Fight board game. Has anyone heard of or played this game? Foodie Fight came out last September and was created by Joyce Lock who is the owner of Stir, a culinary consulting firm. The trivia based game has questions ranging from "culinary science and celebrity chefs to food history and exotic cuisine."

Based on reviews from several sites, it seems like a good game. I might have to geek out and give it a try. This could be another good Christmas gift (hint hint).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Banana Bread

It is so cold! I made some banana bread last weekend for some friends and my landlord. I wish I had some now...I couldn't taste a whole slice myself, but based on some crumb bits, I say it was pretty good.

The recipe is modified from an Epicurious one (easily halved if you just want to make one loaf). Does anyone really like nuts in their banana bread? I don't - just like I don't like nuts or raisins in my carrot cake. I kind of like the purity of the bread itself. Also, I think that the bread would have been even better if the bananas were super ripe (they were already yellow without spots and I let them sit for four days and got lots of spots, but someone else suggested letting the bananas ripen for ten days!)

Banana bread is a "quick bread," a type of bread that uses baking powder or baking soda instead of yeast; because of this there is less gluten development and thus cracks form on the top.

I didn't have any metal loaf pans so I bought some aluminum ones from the supermarket and lined it with parchment which I trimmed afterward. I had some difficulty with getting the center of the banana bread to set - this may have done with them being in aluminum pans, although having them in the aluminum made it easier to give as gifts. I don't bake bread that often so I don't know if I'll buy a metal loaf pan, but Christmas is coming up...(hint hint)

Banana Bread
2 loaves

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 (9-by-5-by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

Beat together eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil and apple sauce in small batches, mixing, then mix in bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture by hand gently but thoroughly just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Be careful not to overmix as this will cause the gluten in the flour to develop and the bread will be tough.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Depending on your oven, you may want to start checking the bread from 45 minutes onward so that it does not overcook.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why is this so hard to find?

I've been looking for a 9"x9" ceramic square baker for what seems like ages...I would like to bake an apple crisp in one for Thanksgiving, but might have to make do with one of my round cake pans. Since my resolve not to buy anything that I don't absolutely love, I don't want to buy just any square baker.

Le Creuset has a Square Baker Set which comes with a 5"x5" pan as well (what would bake in something so small?). Plus, it's not deep enough.

Emile Henry has one, but only in a purple glaze, and also not deep enough.

The Revol Belle Cuisine square bakers are on sale at Sur La Table, and even though I have a gift certificate, they still seem a bit expensive. And, I kind of wanted a colored one.

I had high hopes going to Macy's today to check out their Fiestaware bakers, the Portmeirion Sophie Conran Bakeware, and possibly the Corningware.

Macy's during a One Day Sale = crowded, pushy and wrong. I couldn't find anything that I was looking for and why did people keep bumping into me? There was this woman walking around wheeling a gigantic suitcase making everyone get out of her way. What was her problem? I finally saw her in line with some small item from the Martha Stewart Collection. Did she really need to come to this sale? And with a suitcase?

There was a display of Le Creuset stuff with the Square Baker Set and also the covered Square Baker (too expensive for me). The All-Clad square baker, though nice, was only 8"x8", and metal. Corningware didn't have any square bakers and everything came in a 6 or 10 or 15 piece set. I just want one pan! I was excited to finally see their SimplyLite collection (especially after seeing their commercial - hey! advertising does work), but if my research into exploding pyrex has taught me anything, I am wary of the glass used to make the SimplyLite bakeware.

If any of you dear readers have a wonderful ceramic square baker, please leave a comment. Otherwise, I'll still keep hunting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kitchen Confidential

I just finished watching the entire first (and only) season of Kitchen Confidential on (where you can watch a lot of television shows and movies for free...with limited commercial interruption!). The show is based on Anthony Bourdain's best-selling autobiography and follows the fall and comeback of a young talented chef named Jack Bourdain (Bradley Cooper).

I can't believe that Fox canceled this show back in 2005 (and after airing just five episodes!). Then I remember this is the same network that canceled Arrested Development. Now they have such great shows such as Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?, Don't Forget the Lyrics! and Hole in the Wall (Can you sense my sarcasm here?...Though I would have to give them credit for So You Think You Can Dance and Gordon's shows - yes, we're on a first name basis now).

After watching the last episode, I felt sad that it was the end of my journey with these characters.
It wasn't as bad as watching the last episode of My So-Called Life, but still, Kitchen Confidential was funny and engaging. I kept wondering, has a show ever been resurrected after having been canceled? Probably not.

Maybe it's my obsession with restaurants and cooking in general that makes me like it so much. Go watch it on Hulu and tell me what you think. Episodes are only 20 minutes long, but I guarantee you'll want to watch another one right away.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Can you survive on $1 a day for food?

image courtesy of One Dollar Diet Project

Just read in the NY Times about a couple who decided to do a month long experiment to see if they could survive on just a dollar a day for food. What they found (unsurprisingly) is that that the cheaper foods tend to be junk foods devoid of nutritionally value.

You can read about their experience on their blog,
One Dollar Diet Project.

Congratulations! (& Food Fact)

Congratulations to Obama! And now on to the food fact...

image courtesy of

According to an interview in January 2008, Obama said that his favorite food was from Italian Fiesta Pizzeria in Hyde Park, Chicago. I will definitely visit this carry-out place next time I visit Tara (I can't believe I missed out a few weeks ago!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If you haven't already, please vote!

image courtesy of

I know this isn't food-related, but please remember to vote!