For people who care about their food

Gourmet Express – Ainsley Harriott

Front cover of Ainsley Harriott's Gourmet ExpressAinsley Harriott is one of Britain’s most popular TV chefs. Multi-talented, this former comedian and musician returned to his first love, cooking, as the presenter of several high-profile BBC cookery programmes. He’s invariably described as “flamboyant”. I think he’s a little OTT sometimes, and Ramsay certainly isn’t a fan of his. But despite his zaniness he really is an excellent cook. Fast, simple, delicious food – I think that sums him up.

I own three of his books but the one I’m about to review here is Gourmet Express. This is one of my all-time favourite cookbooks and would probably accompany me to the proverbial Desert Island.

The book really does do what it says on the tin: gourmet food to make at home quicker than you could order a take-away. There are six chapters, covering: snacks; soups; mains; side orders; sauces and relishes; and sweets and drinks. Something for every occasion.

I use this book a lot for two main purposes. If I’m hungry and can’t be bothered spending time in the kitchen it’s easy to pick a recipe from here and knock up a delicious meal in 20 minutes or so. Other times I’ll flip through it to find a new idea and put the ingredients on the weekly shopping list. The variety is quite astonishing and includes many cuisines.



The photography in the book is second to none – it’s superb! And if that doesn’t inspire you, nothing will. I’m finding it difficult to write about this book because I like it so much! It’s all delicious. It’s all easy to make. And it’s quick to do. Buy it!

I’ll try to curb my excitement about this book and give you a sample recipe so you can judge for yourself.

Please also see my photo essay of how to cook Ainsley’s prawn and chilli ginger cakes.

Ainsley Harriott’s Gourmet Express

Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US

Ainsley Harriott
Hardback, 178 pages
2000, BBC Worldwide
ISBN 0 563 55179 8
RRP: £16.99

9 Responses to “Gourmet Express – Ainsley Harriott”

  1. Mike K-H

    If you take that book to a desert island and then find the island doesn’t grow the ingredients you want, you’ll go away and drown yourself…

  2. Not Delia

    Thanks for the comment, Mike. Nah, I don’t think I’d drown myself – I’d just find something to substitute for the suggested ingredients. If you look at my other photo essays you’ll find that it’s often a case of “no have”. The only absolutely essential ingredient in a kitchen is brandy. Heinz tomato ketchup is pretty useful too. 🙂

  3. Mike the curry fiend

    I haven’t got this one. I’ll have to pick it up 🙂

    However, I have the Family & Friends Cookbook which is one of my favourites.

  4. Not Delia

    Mike, I have a vast collection of cookbooks, yet you keep mentioning ones I don’t have and have never even heard of. You’re going to cost us a fortune!

  5. Mike the curry fiend

    Sorry 🙁

    I can offer you a review of that one as well if you like. I’ve cooked most of the recipes in it!

  6. Not Delia

    You’re fun to have around, Mike. If you do so much cooking, I’m a wee bit curious to know why you haven’t got your own website. Every other man and his dog has a foodie blog.

    Do you do any photography? I ask because I was a semi-pro photographer in a previous life, but trying to do food photos is a whole new ball game. Very, very difficult!

  7. Mike the curry fiend

    I’m not knowledgable enough to set up my own site/blog/whatever. All I know is just what I’ve taught myself by trial and error over the years.

    Sorry I can’t help on the photography side, I’m afraid. I can just about click a button to take a snap and it goes as far as that. Plus my presentation generally isn’t something I’d want to take a photo of!

  8. Not Delia

    Formal training isn’t essential, Mike. Enthusiasm is probably more important. There again, so is time. And if you have a job in the real world it ain’t easy.

    Everyone knows that the food photography niche is very difficult. If/when you get a good food photo, the food is most likely inedible. I just wondered if you had any tips, that’s all.

    Ach, don’t bother setting up a foodie blog – you can guest blog on Not Delia any time you like. 🙂

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