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COOKBOOK OF MONTH OF APRIL: Roast Chicken & Other Stories by S. Hopkinson

oakjoan Mar 28, 2008 09:31 PM

So it's been decided: Simon Hopkinson's Roast Chicken and Other Stories is the winner.

This book was voted, by a panel of food writers, chefs and consumers as "The Most Useful Cookbook Ever". It contains recipes as well as anecdotes and stories about Hopkinson and his friends. Simon Hopkinson opened the famous Bibendum (owned by Terrance Conran) restaurant in London and has had several restaurants in various parts of the country. There are several good articles about him if you use a search engine.

When I first looked at this book, I thought it was quite opinionated, a bit pretentious and didn't have many recipes I hadn't seen many times before. Since I, myself am opinionated and a bit pretentious, I soon warmed to him, his writing and recipes.

As several have mentioned, at first glance the recipes seem to call for copious amounts of butter and cream, etc. Closer inspection reveals many that are not that rich at all. He also has a chapter on offal for those adventurous enough to try brains and kidneys.

So dig in and let's start trying some of these recipes out, e.g., Duck Livers, Crepes Parmentier and Onion Marmalade (p. 127), Marinated and Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Hummus, Olive Oil and Cilantro (p.115), Strawberry Pots de Creme (61), Poached Cod with Lentils and Salsa Verde (p. 49), Creamed Tomatoes on Toast (p. 213), Spinach Mousse with Anchovy Hollandaise (p. 196), and Stewed Rabbit with Balsamic Vinegar and Parsnip Puree (p. 170) to name a few.

I'm getting excited!

  1. LulusMom Apr 3, 2008 11:06 AM

    My book came last night (yay!), and I've just put Lulu down for her nap. Time to party!!!

    2 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom
      pikawicca Apr 3, 2008 05:13 PM

      Well, good luck finding something that sounds good with ingredients that you cn get where you are that are in season right now and don't come in at 1500 calories per serving.

      1. re: pikawicca
        LulusMom Apr 3, 2008 05:42 PM

        I was actually surprised at just how many things sounded wonderful to me. Especially given that I eat very little red meat (so the offal is of very little interest, obviously). But luckily I kind of don't care that much about the calorie count. I won't be serving things from this every night this month, after all. The only two things that struck me as especially hard to come by were the tom yum cubes and sorrel.

    2. pitu Apr 3, 2008 07:08 AM

      There's a new thread that's less full than this, with the links to the categories...

      1. oakjoan Apr 1, 2008 06:21 PM

        Here are the threads which I'll post on the main board in a few. I've mostly gone with his names for chapters, but have combined chapters together (meats, vegs, etc).

        FISH and SHELLFISH (Anchovy, cod, crab, hake, etc.)


        BRAINS, KIDNEYS, LIVER, SWEETBREADS and the rest of the OFFAL

        CHICKEN and GAME BIRDS (Grouse, etc.)

        VEGETABLES (Asparagus, Cepes, Eggplant, Endive, Garlic, Parsley,etc.)

        OLIVE OIL

        EGGS and CHEESE

        SWEETS (Custard, Cream, Chocolate)

        Let me know asap if there's anything missing. I'll wait about a half hour to post the threads themselves.

        4 Replies
        1. re: oakjoan
          The Dairy Queen Apr 1, 2008 06:24 PM

          Sounds good to me, oakjoan. Do you mean for chocolate to appear twice: in sweets and again separately?

          And, hmmmm...I guess there are no starches/grains? Funny. I never noticed that!

          As always, thank you for doing this!


          1. re: The Dairy Queen
            MMRuth Apr 1, 2008 06:35 PM

            Chocolate always can use a separate entry ;-).

          2. re: oakjoan
            MMRuth Apr 1, 2008 06:35 PM

            I think you need MEAT - Lamb, Pork Pieces, Steak, Veal.

            Where should Rabbit go?

            I might call Vegetables - Vegetables & Herbs, but throw Olive Oil in with that category.


            I think this works - there's no easy way to do this but I think your plan makes sense.

            1. re: oakjoan
              oakjoan Apr 1, 2008 07:08 PM

              No, I noticed it a few minutes ago and took it out.

            2. foxy fairy Apr 1, 2008 12:18 PM

              I'm excited yet overwhelmed by the plethora of responses here. I just checked Hopkinson's book out of the library. ****Are we going to divide discussion of the book into various threads, as we've done in previous months?*** For me at least, that type of system helps a lot in following what's going on throughout COTM.

              Maybe we could do so alphabetically, as he does (like threads A-F, G-L, etc). I'm delighted by his categorization by ingredient. I just bought two pounds of lovely asparagus. :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: foxy fairy
                MMRuth Apr 1, 2008 12:20 PM

                So am I! I don't know how oakjoan plans to divide up the threads, but I agree with you that I think the alpabetical way makes the most sense. I made an asparagus dish on Sunday - waiting to post - but here's a photo:

              2. The Dairy Queen Apr 1, 2008 04:47 AM

                oakjoan, I've been looking at the recipes again and I think many of my attempts will be "inspired" by the Hopkinson recipes than faithful reproductions--even more so than my attempts at cooking from Dunlop. Are you (and everyone else) still okay with my posting about my inspired efforts in your threads or would you rather have an "adaptations thread?"

                For instance, last night, I made a dried wood ear mushroom/fresh button mushroom tart (instead of dried cepe/fresh black mushroom), that I fried in canola (instead of butter) and baked in a won ton wrapper instead of in his tart pastry recipe. I actually am planning to try it with cepes and fresh black mushroom eventually but a) giant snowstorm yesterday, b) I had mushrooms to use up and c) cepes are a little pricey, so I wanted to "experiment" with something less dear for my first attempt lest it turn out to be a dismal failure...

                I was thinking about making his strawberry pots de creme, but I was planning on using whole eggs and a combo of cottage cheese and silken tofu instead of egg yolks and heavy cream. Oh, and some kind of sugar substitute combination for the sugar... Will my posting about this kind of blatant substitution confuse everyone?


                5 Replies
                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                  Gio Apr 1, 2008 04:54 AM

                  I for one am interested to note your re-working of the basic recipes, TDQ. I am planning to do somewhat the same when I think necessary. Someone above mentioned the possibility of making Hopkinson-esque recipes. That's what cooking is all about anyway, as far as I can see....being inspired by the author.
                  If we were baking I think we wouldn't have this leeway.

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    LulusMom Apr 1, 2008 06:36 AM

                    Absolutely still very interested in finding out which substitutes work and which don't. I don't eat pork (and very little red meat - perhaps silly of me to be playing along, but I still will) so sometimes have to substitute for that, and it helps me to know how well other subs work for people. And besides, as much as I love butter, olive oil, etc., it probably wouldn't hurt to know if doing with less will still make a good product. Please post away!

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                      greedygirl Apr 1, 2008 09:19 AM

                      I agree with everyone else, TDQ. It will be interesting hearing the results of your tinkering, and to compare it with the "full-fat" version!

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        pitu Apr 1, 2008 09:44 AM

                        I'd warn you off using dried wood ear mushrooms in place of a more flavorful porcini/cepe or shitake or other dried wild mushroom in that flavor profile.

                        dried wood ears are more a textural element than flavor - good in a batch of spring rolls for instance

                        1. re: pitu
                          The Dairy Queen Apr 1, 2008 09:51 AM

                          Ah, too late. I already tried it. Mostly because I had to make do with what I had on hand yesterday due to a giant snowstorm that prevented me from doing the shopping I'd planned...and it was kind of a trial/experiment anyway as I did "tartlettes" instead of tarts and wasn't sure how to estimate the cooking time, etc. It worked out fine--I'll post all about it when the threads go up. I'm sure the cepes will be fantastic and can't wait to try it with those!


                      2. Gio Mar 31, 2008 11:26 AM

                        Regarding the Black Mushrooms:
                        I was Googling for something else (isn't that always the way?) and found the following reference for Black Trumpet mushrooms. Could this be what SH means?


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Gio
                          greedygirl Mar 31, 2008 12:55 PM

                          I very much doubt it. I think he's referring to dark-gilled, flat field mushrooms (portabello). Black Trumpet mushrooms (which I assume are the same as trompettes de la mort or horn of plenty mushrooms) aren't widely available here, although I did once buy some at my local (non-fancy) market.

                          1. re: greedygirl
                            Gio Mar 31, 2008 01:53 PM

                            Thank you! The word "Black" caught my eye.

                        2. Candy Mar 31, 2008 06:36 AM

                          I sat down with More Roast Chicken and Other Stories determined to plan my dinner club dinner around the book. I discovered it is probably a better read than to cook from and not that I am lazy but since it is not a US publication I'd have to do all of the conversions as I was typing up the menu. I finally discovered what it is that bothered me about the book. It is difficult to make a menu from the book without thoroughly reading it first because it is in alphabetical order, ingredient based. So you have sweets mixed in with savories and vegs etc.

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: Candy
                            MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 06:48 AM

                            I agree with your comment about coming up with the menu - for example, in Roast Chicken, the glorious olive oil mashed potatoes are in the olive oil section, not the Potatoes section. I think the Parsley Mashed Potatoes are in the Parsley section. I think, particularly because his dishes tend to be rich, I'll probably make one of them for a meal, then supplement with a salad and some simply prepared vegetables, or whatever else is appropriate. The index almost seems a better tool to use to find recipes than are the chapter headings.

                            1. re: MMRuth
                              The Dairy Queen Mar 31, 2008 06:59 AM

                              Candy, I think this is part of my reaction to this book, too--it is really an unusual cookbook in the way it's organized (alphabetically, by main ingredient)--which means, as you say, everything is kind jumbled together. And, because there are no photos, you don't have that extra tempting visual to draw you into a recipe. But, once you sit down with the book things do jump out at you.

                              I think once we get cooking and people start reporting back, we'll be able to build on each other's experiences. I don't know why, but I'm very determined to take some of these recipes on and make them fit my diet. It's a skill I need to learn anyway; why not now? I hope you all don't mind if my recipes are "Hopkinsesque" rather than really his recipes. It might be a collossal failure, but I don't think so--and it's certainly worth a try, I think!

                              I've gone through my Weight Watchers online tools and made some notes for myself for all of the recommended substitutions for cream, and cheese, and whole milk, and butter etc. and am tucking a copy right inside the cookbook so that I have it at the ready at all times.

                              On the other hand, one thing I really like about this cookbook--don't laugh--is that it fits in my purse. So, now I can easily carry it about with me to the grocery store etc. and have it available for even unexpected trips to the market. Or, as reference to see if I can't find any leeks all of a sudden, I can see if he recommends a substitution and, if not, choose a different recipe to do instead.


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 07:09 AM

                                I had mine with me at the store the other day and another customer was clearly looking at it so I told him how much I love it and then we had a discussion about where he could find it etc.

                                1. re: MMRuth
                                  The Dairy Queen Mar 31, 2008 07:12 AM

                                  Do COTM! Make new friends!


                                2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                  NYCkaren Mar 31, 2008 07:39 AM

                                  I absolutely agree with you about the size of the book. I was thinking about how little space it will take up in my suitcase when I fly to visit my family in California late in the month.

                              2. re: Candy
                                JoanN Mar 31, 2008 07:01 AM

                                When we were looking at some British-originated recipes for the Dunlop books, someone posted a link to a very good conversion chart. Since you own the book, you could just do all the conversions in one fell swoop and write them in book.


                                1. re: JoanN
                                  MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 07:10 AM

                                  When I've cooked from his UK books, I've found I haven't had to do much, if any, mathematical conversions - just whipped out my scale. My measuring cups have ml on them, so that worked for the liquid ingredients.

                                  1. re: JoanN
                                    Gio Mar 31, 2008 09:05 AM

                                    I have since found a still better conversion chart:

                                    1. re: Gio
                                      JoanN Mar 31, 2008 10:03 AM

                                      Oh, yes. Terriffic. Thanks.

                                  2. re: Candy
                                    greedygirl Mar 31, 2008 08:01 AM

                                    I was about to say "but isn't a British ounce the same as an American one" - then I checked my book and found he's gone all metric on us!!

                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                      MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 08:03 AM

                                      Though sometimes he does use the convention of "a small wine glass of" and "a large wine glass of" - I've gone with 3 oz and 5 oz, respectively. There is a difference though between a UK pint and a US pint.

                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                        Harters Mar 31, 2008 09:59 AM

                                        I can only do metric in wineglasses. Say 125ml for a small glass, 175ml for big.

                                        1. re: Harters
                                          MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 10:01 AM

                                          Using the converter JoanN posted - that's about 4.4 oz and 6.1 oz. - excellent - I can put more wine into my duck soup!

                                    2. re: Candy
                                      LulusMom Mar 31, 2008 08:36 AM

                                      I'm slightly insane when I read through a cookbook for the first time - I always have a sheet of paper that I make notes on - all the things that tempt me the most, and even what I might serve with them (either from the book or not). I'm sure people watching me (I often do this over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine out) think I'm wayyyy too involved, but it is lots of fun. And it helps with books that are awkwardly organized, as this one seems to be.

                                      1. re: Candy
                                        oakjoan Mar 31, 2008 10:25 PM


                                        Conversions? My book was printed by "Hyperion New York".

                                        I do agree about the weird locations of recipes.

                                        I am thinking of it as a browse through it and see what happens type of book.

                                        Maybe you see something you'd be interested in making and then you'd look for something that'd go with it. It's such a small book, that it's not like ploughing through Bittman or something.

                                        1. re: oakjoan
                                          MMRuth Apr 1, 2008 04:54 AM

                                          Candy was referring to Second Helpings of Roast Chicken - the follow up book to Roast Chicken and Other Stories.

                                          1. re: MMRuth
                                            oakjoan Apr 1, 2008 12:00 PM

                                            Oops. Just assumed it was COTM. Well, more reading comprehension classes for me!

                                            1. re: oakjoan
                                              MMRuth Apr 1, 2008 12:04 PM

                                              NP - we've tortured you enough w/ all of our chat on the voting threads!

                                      2. The Dairy Queen Mar 31, 2008 06:28 AM

                                        Ah heck, I'm going to have to buy this book, too. So I can make notes, etc. in it.

                                        Too hard to try to do it on scribbled down copies of recipes.I have these ideas for low-fat cepes tartlettes, and yogurt hollandaise...and so on.

                                        I have the Hopkinson bug now!


                                        1. NYCkaren Mar 30, 2008 12:48 PM

                                          I haven't participated before but I have this book so I'll sign on. Maybe I'll get adventurous and try offal. If I can't find anyone to serve it to I'll have to eat it all myself.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: NYCkaren
                                            oakjoan Mar 30, 2008 01:25 PM

                                            NYCkaren: Be sure to put out candles and the good silverware!

                                            1. re: NYCkaren
                                              The Dairy Queen Mar 30, 2008 01:36 PM

                                              Oh, please do join us. Last month was my first month and I swear I had so much fun, I can't think of a good reason to cook "by myself" again. Seriously,welcome.


                                            2. pikawicca Mar 29, 2008 05:03 PM

                                              Well, I went out and bought this book today, and after looking through it, I'm not happy. Lots of weird ingredients that I can't get. Seemingly simple recipes that require something like "meat glaze," that is its own separate, involved, lengthy, hard-to-find-ingredient recipe.

                                              66 Replies
                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 05:06 PM

                                                I've just been using veal demiglace instead of the meat glaze, if that helps at all, and so far (aside from the ginger for the salmon en croute, which was worth the price of the book to me) I don't recall having to buy anything that wasn't readily available (discounting the fact that I'm in Manhattan) or in my pantry already. I've not tried to make grouse/brains/etc. though am making that saffron soup with mussels right now - smells divine.

                                                Will your bookstore take back the book?

                                                1. re: MMRuth
                                                  pikawicca Mar 29, 2008 05:15 PM

                                                  I've never found a veal demiglace that I like. I used to make my own, but can no longer get veal bones. I'm sure that my bookstore would take the book back, but that's not the point: I wanted to cook along next month, but many of the recipes simply don't work for me.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca
                                                    MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 05:17 PM

                                                    Yes - there are lots of months that I've not cooked along for that reason as well. I hope next month works better for you!

                                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                                      pikawicca Mar 29, 2008 06:15 PM

                                                      Well, if it doesn't involve brains or guts, I'll be okay.

                                                      1. re: pikawicca
                                                        MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 06:37 PM

                                                        Too funny! I'm hoping, maybe, to get up the guts to cook the guts this month - my husband loves them but aside from cooking him veal kidneys for his birthday every year, I've not cooked them, or eaten them. Are you able to get mussels (I realize it can be hard to get seafood in the Mid-West)? The saffron soup we just polished off was great.

                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                          Candy Mar 30, 2008 11:27 AM

                                                          Pikawicca and I live in the same town and not far from each other. We can get mussels and we have an excellent little butcher/sea food shop and they try very hard to keep those of us who are not really mid-westerners supplied with some of the right and left coast fresh fish we crave. They did a great job of getting in shad roe last spring for example. Hope they will again.

                                                          1. re: Candy
                                                            MMRuth Mar 30, 2008 12:38 PM

                                                            That's wonderful - when I've been in certain parts of the Midwest (where some family members live) it's really hard to get nice seafood. I'll post a report on that soup when the threads go up this week.

                                                    2. re: pikawicca
                                                      NYchowcook Mar 31, 2008 06:59 PM

                                                      you can make demi glace w/ beef bones, I can attest. Perhaps not authentic, but considering the small quantity generally used, I've found it works fine in sauces.

                                                  2. re: pikawicca
                                                    The Dairy Queen Mar 29, 2008 07:48 PM

                                                    pikawicca, I know the feeling of opening the book and thinking at first none of the recipes would work for you. I definitely had that same reaction, too. But upon flipping through the recipes a second time, I was able to flag a dozen or so recipes that will work for me. Nerd that I am, I went back and counted the recipes I've made from the Dunlop books and it turned out to be 14; so, a dozen recipes is about all I can handle in a month anyway.

                                                    I confess that I am personally a little intimidated by some of the offal recipes, but I figure I'll build my confidence on the recipes with the more familiar ingredients, then see how others fare with the more unusual recipes, and, if it seems to be going well, try my hand at a few of those, too. Anyway, I hope you join us. If you decide to return the book because you don't want to own it, there are definitely tons of the recipes available online, too, that you can cook from through the month. (Gio started a thread on that this morning.)


                                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                                      LulusMom Mar 30, 2008 11:13 AM

                                                      Ugh ... bad news pikawicca. I just bought the book via ecookbooks (thanks to all for that earlier suggestion) and even paid extra for rush delivery but I sure don't want to deal with hard to find (or make) ingredients. And I'm not thrilled with using veal demiglace.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                        MMRuth Mar 30, 2008 01:44 PM

                                                        I started getting a little worried about the ingredient thing and took a look at the book again - below are ingredients in certain chapters that I looked at that might be hard to find, aside from beautifully ripe tomatoes that are called for in a number of chapters. I made the list based on recollections of shopping in the last year in Iowa, Northern Wisconsin and a small town in Eastern North Carolina, though I'm pretty sure I could find most of these things. The first word is the name of the chapter, the ingredients after the name are ones that appear usually in one of the recipes in that chapter:

                                                        Anchovy: chervil - one of many ingredients in one recipe
                                                        Asparagus: prosciutto, leeks (?)
                                                        Cepes (fresh Porcini): I have never seen a fresh cepe in Manhattan, much as I would love to. Another poster made the tart though using a combination of fresh button mushrooms and dried porcini, as suggested by SH as a substitute.
                                                        Chicken: fennel(?)
                                                        Chocolate: Macaroons or amaretti, malted milk powder, gelatin leaves (I found them, there may be a way to substitute w/ our powdered gelatin)
                                                        Cilantro: Fish sauce, rice noodles, “tom yum” cube (apparently a Thai boullion cube), coconut milk
                                                        Cod: whole cod(?), canned snails (optional), lentilles de Puy, salt cod fillet
                                                        Crab: I have no intention of picking crab meat and will buy it picked, despite the mention of “brown meat from the crab”, anchovy paste, saffron
                                                        Cream: none
                                                        Custard: “tea cakes” (I’m sure we can figure out some other kind of cake to use), passion fruit puree,
                                                        Eggplant: currants, tahini, preserved ginger and syrup
                                                        Eggs: frisee (curly endive), meat glaze (for which there is a recipe – I’m unlikely to make that glaze)
                                                        Endive: none
                                                        Garlic: red currant jelly (?), sorrel (hard to find in NYC), saffron, snails,

                                                        Hope this helps anyone who doesn't have the book yet and is debating about whether to get it or not.

                                                        Oh - the meat glaze recipe - the only thing that I can see as being difficult to find is veal bones, and for those who object to veal bones or can't find it, I can't see why one couldn't use beef bones. (Other ingredients: oil, chuck, flat black mushrooms - apparently shitake, carrots, onions, celery stalks, tomato puree - that stuff in a tube or can, red wine, white wine, thyme springs, bay leaf, chicken or beef boullion cube and cold water - actually, seeing this list now, I might just go ahead and make it one day)

                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                          LulusMom Mar 30, 2008 02:04 PM

                                                          Thanks MMRuth - you've calmed me down quite nicely. Can't wait to curl up with the book.

                                                          1. re: MMRuth
                                                            pikawicca Mar 30, 2008 02:15 PM

                                                            I saw porcini once in Manhattan (Dean & DeLucca?) -- they were $60 a pound.

                                                            1. re: pikawicca
                                                              The Dairy Queen Mar 30, 2008 02:26 PM

                                                              Wow. I just found dried cepes on Amazon--they were $50 (for 16 oz). The Hopkinson recipes says you can use 4 oz of dried cepes (which means you can do this recipe 4 times for what you buy online--or each of the two cepes recipes in the book twice!) plus some 8 oz "flat mushrooms."

                                                              What are "flat" mushrooms? Now I'm intrigued!

                                                              Not cheap, but only $12.50 for a meal that serves 4, which is easily what you'd spend on some kind of protein for a meal to serve 4, I suppose.


                                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                                MMRuth Mar 30, 2008 03:25 PM

                                                                Thank you - I'll have to check w/ them.

                                                              2. re: MMRuth
                                                                Harters Mar 30, 2008 02:44 PM

                                                                In the quirky way we Brits have with words, "tea cakes" are not cakes. You want a bread with dried fruit, like raisins or currants, in it.

                                                                If redcurrant jelly is problematical, something like cranberry sauce would work - there's only a small amount and you're looking to add a hint of fruit and sweetness.

                                                                I'd also have thought that powdered gelatin should easily subsitute for the leaves. Use whatever quantity you'd use to set this volume.


                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                  MMRuth Mar 30, 2008 03:25 PM

                                                                  Great tips - thanks - the U.S. edition only went "part way" in terms of "translating" some ingredients. Hero makes red currant jelly, which is what I usually use, but the cranberry is a good idea.

                                                                  1. re: Harters
                                                                    pikawicca Mar 30, 2008 03:31 PM

                                                                    Red currant jelly is readily available throughout the U.S., and has been for decades. And yes, powdered gelatin works just fine.

                                                                    1. re: pikawicca
                                                                      MMRuth Mar 30, 2008 04:38 PM

                                                                      BTW - what are the ingredients that you saw that are hard to find in your neck of the woods? In case Harters has ideas about substitutions?


                                                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                                                        pikawicca Mar 30, 2008 05:51 PM

                                                                        offal, veal bones, chervil, fresh cepes, "brown" and "white" meat from a cooked crab (I've been cooking crab for eons, and I have no idea what those terms mean), sorrel, grouse carcasses (!), hake, lambs' kidneys...I could go on, but I'm exhausted.

                                                                        1. re: pikawicca
                                                                          greedygirl Mar 31, 2008 07:50 AM

                                                                          Brown crab meat is the stuff from the body of the crab that's, er, brown (and a bit sludgy in texture), as opposed to the flaky white meat which comes in the claws.

                                                                    2. re: Harters
                                                                      JoanN Mar 30, 2008 05:10 PM

                                                                      I had been pondering the recipe using “tea cakes” (since it’s one of the few recipes in the book I thought my grandson might eat) so I was very pleased to see your clarification of what this item is. But after further research, I’m not sure “bread” is the best way to describe it—at least, it seems not to be what we in the States would call raisin bread. Most of the recipes I found for tea cakes seem to be more like scones. Although I did find a photo of mail order tea cakes that led me to believe that a better substitute might possibly be pound cake. I’m wondering if Entenmann’s Raisin Loaf (or any pound cake with raisins) might not be a better substitute for tea cakes than raisin bread. Although how one figures our how much pound cake is equal to four tea cakes is entirely beyond me.

                                                                      Photo 1 is the imported tea cakes. Photo 2 is the Entenmann’s Raisin Loaf.

                                                                      Do either of these photos look right to you?

                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                        MMRuth Mar 30, 2008 05:32 PM

                                                                        Total tangent - but I just cooked dinner from the book, and his hollandaise sauce is the easiest one I've ever made. I was sceptical of the instructions, got out MTOFC to compare, decided to trust him, and it was the right thing to do.

                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                          JoanN Mar 30, 2008 05:46 PM

                                                                          Great to know, but you're getting too far ahead of us, MMRuth. :-) I'm still researching ingredients. Is ox tripe honeycomb tripe, or one of the others? Harters?

                                                                          1. re: JoanN
                                                                            The Dairy Queen Mar 30, 2008 05:48 PM

                                                                            She's an overachiever!

                                                                            Anyone know what "flat" mushrooms are? Mentioned in the cepes tart recipe?


                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                              JoanN Mar 30, 2008 05:55 PM

                                                                              I'm assuming they're portobellos that are fully opened, thus "flat," and as opposed to "button." Could be wrong, but that's my guess.

                                                                              1. re: JoanN
                                                                                The Dairy Queen Mar 30, 2008 05:56 PM

                                                                                Ah, okay. Seems like a reasonable guess--and, an answer I like since I know where to get those, of course. Thank you!


                                                                                1. re: JoanN
                                                                                  pitu Apr 1, 2008 04:35 AM

                                                                                  Agreed that he is probably refering to portobellos.
                                                                                  I made that tart, with white mushrooms and dried porcini (which is the same thing as dried cepes, and you could also use some other dried wild mushroom mix. D'Artagnan brand is all over the luxe stores with these.)
                                                                                  It's mushrooms, use whatever type you can get that you like!

                                                                                  I daresay it would be fine with all fresh mushrooms too, say shitake or a mix of shitake and white. You just have to get rid of more of the moisture. The dried cepes have an especially strong flavor, as do all dried (and therefore concentrated) things.

                                                                                  Puff pastry is too buttery for me (I made his recipe), so I think it would go better in contrast with the onion anchovy topping also suggested.

                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                  MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 03:51 AM

                                                                                  I asked about that for when I made the duck soup, and someone replied that they thought it was shitakes - I'll try to find the link. I used fresh shitakes once, and another time I used the dry (black) chinese shitake ones - great flavor for the soup.

                                                                                3. re: JoanN
                                                                                  MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 04:33 AM

                                                                                  I found this:

                                                                                  http://www.cookitsimply.com/category-... - that honeycomb tripe comes from the second stomache of the ox.

                                                                                  "Tripe comes from the ox and is the lining of the stomach. Tripe from the first stomach is the smoothest and is known as blanket. From the second stomach comes the honeycomb tripe. It is a light, easily digested meat, It is sold already cleaned and blanched, but it requires further cooking."

                                                                                  In SH's recipe for Tripes a la Lyonnaise, in the ingredient list, he writes "cleaned ox tripe, preferably the honeycomb variety."

                                                                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                    JoanN Mar 31, 2008 05:13 AM

                                                                                    Yes, I noticed that in the Lyonnaise ingredient list which was why I thought he might possibly be calling for a different kind for the Madrid-Style since the wording isn't the same. But I've since checked a bunch of French cookbooks and they all call for honeycomb, so I guess that's more-or-less the standard on the other side of the pond.

                                                                                    Just as a point of interest, what got me thinking it might be a different kind of tripe was this thread on menudo, which just popped up again recently.


                                                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                                                      MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 05:17 AM

                                                                                      Great thread - thanks!

                                                                                  2. re: JoanN
                                                                                    NYCkaren Mar 31, 2008 06:57 AM

                                                                                    I was wondering about ox tripe too. And the brown and white crab meat reference threw me for a loop. Also, he says to use short-grain rice for the rice pudding. Would arborio rice be good?

                                                                                    1. re: NYCkaren
                                                                                      JoanN Mar 31, 2008 07:13 AM

                                                                                      Arborio is a medium-grain rice. I think something like Vialone Nano or Montsia would be a better choice. What you're looking for is a grain that's almost as wide as it is long as opposed to one that is more of an oblong.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN
                                                                                        NYCkaren Mar 31, 2008 07:37 AM

                                                                                        Thanks Joan! I'll look for those.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN
                                                                                          MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 07:39 AM

                                                                                          In the English on-line version that I found, he calls for "pudding rice, or Spanish paella rice" - for the latter, I use bomba.

                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                            JoanN Mar 31, 2008 07:55 AM

                                                                                            Yes, the ones I mentioned above are both rices I use for paella. Another option, depending on availablity, would be a short-grain Japanese style pearl rice. I'm assuming any true short-grain rice would do, and I think they're pretty easy to find.

                                                                                            ETA: Just thought I'd mention that although bomba is a terrific rice, it may be more difficult to find and is a great deal more expensive than most other paella rices. Unless someone knows they will be using the rice to make paella, I'm guessing that other short-grain rices would yeild very good results in this instance. Also, some rices recommended for paella are medium- rather than short-grain, so it helps if you can actually see the grain through the packaging.

                                                                                        2. re: NYCkaren
                                                                                          NE_Elaine Apr 2, 2008 02:55 AM

                                                                                          When I make Portuguese Sweet Rice (pudding), I have found sushi rice works really well.

                                                                                    2. re: JoanN
                                                                                      Harters Mar 31, 2008 02:32 AM

                                                                                      Joan - Both your photos look a bit cakey. This Wiki link shows a photo of what I mean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teacake.

                                                                                      Don't ask me about tripe. I not only know nothing about it - but sight of it makes me want to puke, not cook. Very much a traditional northern "delicacy" which is increasingly difficult to find over here. Honeycomb would be the most common

                                                                                      pikawicca - difficult to think of substitutions for the items you mention, which are generally commonplace over here. Other than those mentioned for, say the veal bones. For cepes, I would use whatever is the most flavoursome mushroom you can find and dried cepe/porcini - perhaps most flavoursome would be a mature "flat" mushroom (like a large portobello - to answer another query). For grouse carcass, substitute any game bird (pigeon would work as is certainly more commonly available over here.). As for sorrel, I wouldnt even know where to get it in the UK - not a common herb.


                                                                                      1. re: Harters
                                                                                        JoanN Mar 31, 2008 05:19 AM

                                                                                        Ahhh. That Wiki photo does indeed look more like raisin bread--and gives me a pretty good idea of size as well. Thank you.

                                                                                    3. re: Harters
                                                                                      oakjoan Mar 30, 2008 10:05 PM

                                                                                      THIS IS RE: TDQ's post about mushrooms and MMR's question mark after "red currant jelly". I regularly buy red currant jelly here in Oakland, CA. It's not that unusual. I'm sure it's available in NYC.

                                                                                      We get fresh cepes and porcini and morels here, and they aren't THAT pricey. They are, though, usually tasteless and not worth the money...except when it's their season and you get them at a really good produce or farmers' market. Dried porcini and cepes are better bets and you can mix them with button mushrooms and get a good result.

                                                                                      Btw, I saw Jacques Pepin yesterday say that the best mushrooms around (in regular stores - not fancy ones) are those button mushrooms that they often sell in bags as being too open. He says that you should always buy those and that they are better than the tightly closed, less brown ones.

                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                        MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 04:30 AM

                                                                                        Thanks! The items with question marks - I guess I didn't say that - were things that I can readily find in NYC, and was guessing were readily available in smaller cities/towns etc., but wasn't sure, so I included them to be on the safe side. I still am v. curious about this "flat, black mushroom" thing though!

                                                                                        I posted a pointer on the UK board to this thread about the mushrooms:


                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                          Harters Mar 31, 2008 05:07 AM

                                                                                          I can only think that he means a mature button mushroom which has flattened out. The undersides definately go very dark. Certainly we have no fancy "black" ones. Big portobello would be fine.

                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                            MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 05:09 AM

                                                                                            Yes - we call them button mushrooms - what you say also makes sense in the context of what oakjoan posted about Pepin saying on his show. It's just a completely new concept to me!

                                                                                          2. re: MMRuth
                                                                                            greedygirl Mar 31, 2008 07:58 AM

                                                                                            Ruth - for some reason your threads in the UK boards are locked and therefore I was unable to respond. We're not ignoring you, honest!

                                                                                            Anyway, I think Harters is right about the mushrooms. I'd use flat, dark-gilled field mushrooms (I think you call them portabellos).

                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                                                                              MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 07:58 AM

                                                                                              The mods locked the pointer - didn't I include a link to the general topics board? Maybe I forgot? But here is good too!

                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                greedygirl Mar 31, 2008 10:03 AM

                                                                                                You probably did! I'm still getting used to the idiosyncracies of thes boards.

                                                                                          3. re: oakjoan
                                                                                            Gio Mar 31, 2008 05:23 AM

                                                                                            I've heard JP say that about older mushrooms too. It makes sense, since the flavor would be more developed. You just have to be careful to use them almost immediately.

                                                                                            1. re: Gio
                                                                                              Harters Mar 31, 2008 05:59 AM

                                                                                              Assuming they've been picked correctly, they should store for round about the same as buttons. It's the time delay from picked that is the issue, not their maturity (in my experience)

                                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                                Gio Mar 31, 2008 08:56 AM

                                                                                                OH - I thought he meant the little bit of age on the mushrooms gave them a more pronounced flavor. And, I have found this to be true. But, thank you for your clarification. Still that delay you mention does mean they're older than freshly picked, I think.

                                                                                                1. re: Gio
                                                                                                  Harters Mar 31, 2008 09:54 AM

                                                                                                  Freshly picked is freshly picked - whether it's a button or a big flat.

                                                                                        2. re: MMRuth
                                                                                          Gooseberry Mar 31, 2008 09:07 AM

                                                                                          sorrel is something you're more likely to find at a farmer's market in my opinion. If you have herb pots, sorrel (especially bloody sorrel, with scarlet veins) makes a lovely colourful addition, easy to grow, very pretty. You can get them as seedlings at garden centres. Tastes a bit like lemony spinach.

                                                                                          1. re: Gooseberry
                                                                                            Candy Mar 31, 2008 02:20 PM

                                                                                            I have a what is getting to be a largeish patch of sorrel. It is always a race to see if i can get to it before the rabbits and deer. It gets bigger every year. It is a very easy to grow perennial

                                                                                            1. re: Candy
                                                                                              karykat Mar 31, 2008 02:44 PM

                                                                                              You have sorrel right now?! We are getting 8 inches of snow so no sorrell for us for a while.

                                                                                              1. re: karykat
                                                                                                Candy Mar 31, 2008 07:25 PM

                                                                                                It is just coming up

                                                                                            2. re: Gooseberry
                                                                                              oakjoan Mar 31, 2008 10:20 PM

                                                                                              What Gooseberry said. Sorrel is vastly underrated and underused in the US (well, here in Califa anyway) and makes delicious soup. I first had Germiny a L'Oseille in France and used to grow it in a pot just for soup. I don't even know what else one would do with it...salad?

                                                                                              1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                greedygirl Apr 1, 2008 03:23 AM

                                                                                                It's fantastic with eggs too. One of its classic uses is in an omelette.

                                                                                                1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                  The Dairy Queen Apr 1, 2008 04:05 AM

                                                                                                  I'm embarrassed to admit, I wouldn't know sorrel if it bit me. It doesn't bite, does it? ;-).


                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                    MMRuth Apr 1, 2008 04:19 AM

                                                                                                    Here's a photo so you can keep an eye out for it before it bites you -


                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                      oakjoan Apr 1, 2008 11:59 AM

                                                                                                      Good picture, MM, but it is a bit misleading as to size. Sorrel can have leaves as large as Spinach. It actually looks a lot like spinach - a bit more elongated - but is thinner and floppier.

                                                                                                      The taste is sour, sour, sour. It is truly lovely in soup with cream/sour cream or yoghurt stirred in. It's "schav" in Yiddish and Joan Nathan has a recipe for Schav Borscht in her Jewish Cooking book...a great book in case you didn't know..

                                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                        MMRuth Apr 1, 2008 12:03 PM

                                                                                                        Thanks! I have occasionally found sorrel and I think I made a sauce for salmon with it once. I'm going to have to look more carefully at the farmer's market this spring. And for truly new potatoes that I can "scrape" not peel - though I think that instruction is in "Week In, Week Out", not Roast Chicken.

                                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                          NYCkaren Apr 1, 2008 02:01 PM

                                                                                                          I bought sorrel at the farmer's market last year thinking it was spinach. I guess I didn't look at it carefully. It was good! But I don't imagine I could get it this time of year.

                                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                            Gooseberry Apr 2, 2008 02:48 AM

                                                                                                            My mother's sorrel, grown around the edges of her herb patch, grow to the size of spinach. Very striking. I prefer picking it while it's smaller and mroe tender.

                                                                                                            If you live in a mild winter area where there's no frost (let alone snow!) I've found sorrel can actually survive the winter, and regrow in the spring.

                                                                                                            1. re: Gooseberry
                                                                                                              GretchenS Apr 3, 2008 01:17 PM

                                                                                                              Actually, there is a ton of snow where I live and it comes back year after year, not only in the ground but also in pots! Mine is peeking up already. It is incredibly hardy.

                                                                                                              And sorrel sauce on salmon is heavenly. (Just saute a bit of finely chopped onion, a bit of garlic, add a bunch of sorrel till it "melts" (like spinach it shrinks a lot), and then add a touch of cream -- voila!)

                                                                                                      2. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                        Gooseberry Apr 2, 2008 02:43 AM

                                                                                                        I bought some at the North Berkeley farmer's market when I lived there in 2006. That would've been in June-July-August. That's the only time I've seen it in the States.

                                                                                                        While it's nice for soup, it's probably a good idea to go easy on it in a salad; just a couple leaves in a mixed salad, maybe.

                                                                                                        I also cook it like I would spinach; either sauteed or steamed and added to other things, or as a side dish. Nice with pine nuts. Probably be good with pasta, too!

                                                                                                        1. re: Gooseberry
                                                                                                          oakjoan Apr 3, 2008 11:21 PM

                                                                                                          I bought it at Berkeley Bowl a month or so ago. It was in the herb section and so quite a small bunch. I bought 2 bunches and padded it with spinach.

                                                                                              2. The Dairy Queen Mar 29, 2008 02:50 PM

                                                                                                Okidoke, I've gone through my copy of Roast Chicken and identified about 12 recipes I think can be adapted to be "Weight Watchers core plan diet friendly", i.e. to be less butter/heavy cream/and oil intensive and don't rely on a fatty (yet delicious, I'm sure) meat or egg yolks as the star of the dish. There were a couple of cold soups that looked possibly friendly, but someone at our house detests them, so I've stricken them from my list--feel free to add them back!

                                                                                                I'm using the U.S. First Edition, hardcover:

                                                                                                ~Page 8, Salad Nicoise, as long as you go easy on the dressing
                                                                                                ~Page 14, Grilled asparagus with parmesan, as long as you go easy on the parm (and count the points,if you're following WW core plan)
                                                                                                ~Pp 48-49 Poached Cod with Lentils & salsa verde, as long as you go easy on the salsa verde
                                                                                                ~Pg 51, Poached Cod with pickled vegetable relish, as long as you cut back on the amount of olive oil you use in the relish
                                                                                                ~Pg 56, Crab Vinaigrette with herbs, as long as you mind the quantity of olive oil
                                                                                                ~Pg 75 Grilled eggplant with a dressing of olive oil, garlic and basil, as long as you cut the oil by using Sam's approach described here http://www.chowhound.com/topics/50359...
                                                                                                ~Pg 76 spiced eggplant salad, as long as you mind the quantity of olive oil
                                                                                                ~Pg 121, Leeks Vinaigrette, as long as you mind the quantity of olive oil
                                                                                                ~Pg 122**, Leeks with Cream and Mint, as long as you find an acceptable substitution for the whipping cream (I want to try this recipe badly enough to try to figure something out--any ideas?
                                                                                                ~Pg 149, Piedmontese Peppers, as long as you mind the quantity of olive oil
                                                                                                ~Pg 149, Pimiento Salsa, as long as you mind the quantity of olive oil
                                                                                                ~Pg 151, Roulade of Peppers and eggplant, as long as you mind the quantity of olive oil
                                                                                                ~Pg 165, Potato salad, as long as you mind the quantity of olive oil

                                                                                                Does anyone have any ideas about what I can substitute for the whipping cream in the Leeks with Cream and Mint on Page 122 that I've **'d above? Evaporated milk plus cornstarch?

                                                                                                Hopefully this list is helpful as a starting point to those who are trying to eat a little lighter and freaked out (as I initially did) at the butter, cream, and oil Mr. Hopkinson calls for in at least a few of the recipes...


                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                  JoanN Mar 29, 2008 03:05 PM

                                                                                                  Never tried this so I can't vouch for it, but I've read that an often workable substitute for heavy cream is 8 ounces of low fat cottage cheese whirred in a blender with 3 tablespoons of non-fat powdered milk for four or five minutes. Certainly seems worth a go.

                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Mar 29, 2008 03:27 PM

                                                                                                    Indeed it does! Thank you for the tip.


                                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                      oakjoan Mar 29, 2008 04:32 PM

                                                                                                      I often use non or low fat yoghurt as a replacement for cream, especially in soups. I am really intrigued by the parsley soup and will try it with youghurt.

                                                                                                      There is also a wonderful-sounding Red Pepper (roasted) Vinaigrette served with anchovies. Can't wait to try that.

                                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                        The Dairy Queen Mar 29, 2008 07:35 PM

                                                                                                        Thank you, oakjoan, for that subsitution suggestion.

                                                                                                        I must have missed that red pepper vinaigrette recipe, so will make a point of looking for it next time I have a peek at the book.


                                                                                                    2. re: JoanN
                                                                                                      NYCkaren Mar 30, 2008 07:32 AM

                                                                                                      That's an interesting idea. Thanks, Joan.

                                                                                                      1. re: NYCkaren
                                                                                                        MMRuth Mar 30, 2008 07:35 AM

                                                                                                        And sometimes, soups that call for cream can be almost as delicious w/o it - I made that saffron mussel soup last night, tasted it w/o the cream, and it was lovely. It does call for half a stick of butter though!

                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen Mar 30, 2008 08:56 AM

                                                                                                          I was just peeking around the Weight Watchers website and they suggest substituting stock for butter. For heavy cream, they also suggest:

                                                                                                          ~equal parts evaporated fat-free milk and regular fat-free milk
                                                                                                          ~thickening soups and gravies with prepared instant mashed potatoes or pureed cooked potatoes
                                                                                                          ~Pureed silken tofu cas a cream replacement in soups, sauces and pasta dishes

                                                                                                          But they specifically say that you should avoid using skim milk as a substitute for whole milk in gratins, though, they don't say what might happen if you do or what you might try instead.


                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                            oakjoan Mar 30, 2008 01:23 PM

                                                                                                            Oh, I really like the silken tofu thickening idea! I make a mean tofu chocolate mousse, but never thought of it for soup.

                                                                                                            I've always used spuds for thickening soup...even when cream is added during splurge periods.

                                                                                                          2. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                            Food4Thought Mar 31, 2008 07:34 PM

                                                                                                            Both yogurt and silken tofu (well blended) seem to be big substitute players in the WW world. I tend to lean towards the tofu for its flavor neutrality, and I have found the putting the main flavor component(s) of a given recipe (if possible) in the blender along with the tofu really helps.

                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                        MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 03:08 PM


                                                                                                        Chili Crab Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado - from Week In, Week Out - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46538... - no oil!

                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen Mar 29, 2008 03:30 PM

                                                                                                          Thank you! Sounds delicious. The recipe calls for a bit of caster sugar--I'm not familiar with that. Do you know what it is?


                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                            MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 03:31 PM

                                                                                                            Yes - let me find the thread on GT for you - it's some what finer than granulated sugar - can't remember now if it is as fine as superfine sugar.



                                                                                                            I have bought it here in NYC, and you might be able to find it at Whole Foods - not really worth the money though!

                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                              JoanN Mar 29, 2008 04:19 PM

                                                                                                              You can just put regular sugar in a blender and zap it for a minute or two. It's just an extra fine sugar that incorporates more readily into cool or cold mixtures.

                                                                                                          2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                            greedygirl Mar 31, 2008 07:07 AM

                                                                                                            Can you get half-fat creme fraiche in the States? That's what I would try, probably.

                                                                                                          3. MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 06:33 AM

                                                                                                            I found that "The Most Useful Cookbook of All Time" award rather hyperbolic, but I've loved cooking from it and look forward to doing so in April as well.

                                                                                                            Saffron Soup with Mussels is on for dinner tonight.

                                                                                                            I wanted to mention to those who may not know much about this book - this isn't all "English" cooking. Lots of recipes are French, or derived from French recipes, there is a paen to Alice Waters, the very first recipe is from Jeremiah Towers.

                                                                                                            I love Hopkinson's crankiness, for what it's worth - though I would characterize him more as persnicketty (sp?) than cranky! The nice thing is that those who aren't interested in his cooking or learning more about his cooking don't have to cook along.

                                                                                                            Some more to read about him:



                                                                                                            http://lifeandhealth.guardian.co.uk/food/story/0,,2172603,00.html (apparently his book did beat out Elizabeth David in that Waitrose poll, fwiw!



                                                                                                            The last link is Q&A with him, and I loved his answer to the question of why he won that award:

                                                                                                            "That's difficult because I don't want to blow my own trumpet. What appeals, I think, is that it's full of all the things I most want to eat. It's about eating rather than cooking. I sometimes think that some recipes are written purely for the recipe, not for the enjoyment of eating. The only reason I cook is to eat something delicious. It's becoming a rare thing. I am thinking about writing another book now, but I'm not sure what about."

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                              Harters Mar 29, 2008 10:36 AM

                                                                                                              Waitrose shoppers are, perhaps, not the Elizabeth David generation ;-)

                                                                                                              As you indicate, many of the "Roast Chicken" recipes have French derivation. "Second Helpings" has much better British spin on it. I have no idea about the authenticity of his fried chicken. I think when he refers to it as "southern style", I think he accepts that it isnt. But coating chicken in a spiced seasoned flour before frying it sounds like a sensible way to get tasty fried chicken. And the sauce seems like a modern take on aioli - and I'm definately going to try it, sooner or later.

                                                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                MMRuth Apr 1, 2008 06:50 PM

                                                                                                                I have Second Helpings too - and if you've not made the Duck Soup - do - it's divine.

                                                                                                            2. Father Kitchen Mar 29, 2008 03:38 AM

                                                                                                              You've got to be kidding. Most useful cookbook ever? Not nearly as useful as anything Elizabeth David wrote. Not nearly as useful as tons of other books, including more modest entries like Mary Risley's Tante Marie's Cooking School Cook Book. It's a cranky book with good forays into unusual territory, but hardly a great cookbook.

                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Father Kitchen
                                                                                                                MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 06:47 AM

                                                                                                                Here's an interesting quote from him on this topic:

                                                                                                                "I was very surprised when my book Roast Chicken and Other Stories was named the best cookbook of all time. It's embarrassing to have beaten someone like Elizabeth David. If I 'd been asked to name my favourite it would have been The French Menu Cookbook by Richard Olney."


                                                                                                                1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                  Father Kitchen Mar 29, 2008 11:51 AM

                                                                                                                  He sounds like both a good person as well as a world-class cook. I have the book and only a kitchen disaster (a sink that backed up) the other day prevented me from using it. But the book is so idiosyncratic. I have a niece who is trying to learn to cook, and I purchased it on the basis of the "most useful cookbook ever" label, thinking it would be a helpful gift. When I read it, I realized it would have put her off. I think, too, a problem for me is that it calls for lots of ingredients that are rather difficult to find outside of rather specialized food shopping districts. Still, there is a lot to stimulate the imagination (and the salivary glands)!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Father Kitchen
                                                                                                                    MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                    Idiosyncratic is the perfect word - and indeed, not a good book for someone learning to cook. I hope that your sink has "straightened itself out".

                                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                      Father Kitchen Mar 29, 2008 05:26 PM

                                                                                                                      The sink is working. Someone didn't realize that you can't fill up a disposal and then run it. As I was calling the plumber, another friar unplugged it with a plumber's helper. But it was quite a mess, and my menu simplified itself very fast.

                                                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                        Londoner27 Mar 30, 2008 03:37 AM

                                                                                                                        Fun read, some nice recipes but agree too idiosyncratic to be of any real help to a beginner. Father Kitchen, has your niece got Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food and Real Food? Now _those_ are far stronger contenders for the title of "Most Useful Cookbook Ever"...

                                                                                                                        1. re: Londoner27
                                                                                                                          Father Kitchen Mar 30, 2008 04:30 AM

                                                                                                                          No, she has Madeleine Kaman's New Making of a Chef (or is it Cook?), The Joy of Cooking, Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and a wonderful book of Mexican recipes (her father is Mexican) by Marge Poor (not sure of the spelling). I plan to send her The New Basics Cookbook next Christmas.

                                                                                                                    2. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                      Gooseberry Mar 31, 2008 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                      I'm with Father Kitchen on this one. My mother has a copy of the Hopkinson book, and I had a look at it. I think its popularity is part of a resurgence in British comfort food I've been seeing in restaurants and cookery books over the last few years; plenty of hat tips to France, traditional techniques, and yes, butter and cream. So maybe good for a read, but I'm surprised that this is being considered 'useful' in a general sense.

                                                                                                                      If I had to recommend a British food writer and cook, I'd suggest someone like Jane Grigson (I associate Elizabeth David more with introducing Brits to OTHER cuisines, her occasional forays into English Yeast Cookery, etc aside). Grigson's recipes make for good reading, cooking inspiration AND they're simple and rarely require veal demiglace.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Gooseberry
                                                                                                                        MMRuth Mar 31, 2008 09:08 AM

                                                                                                                        I've really enjoyed reading Grigson lately as well. Although Hopkinson is British, and certainly there are many many British influences on his cooking, I think his book is less British than Grigson's books - and my interest in the book wasn't so much that it was British cooking. For me, the proof has been in the pudding, so to speak - the recipes I've made so far. A lot of Asian influences also. I don't think there are too many recipes that use that meat glaze, fwiw.

                                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                          Gooseberry Apr 2, 2008 02:35 AM

                                                                                                                          Hi MMRuth, I normally wouldn't automatically critique a cookbook of British origin on its Britishness, any more than I'd expect a Black writer to write only on the 'Black experience'. This obviously excludes cookbooks written specifically to explore British cookery! Now, while I wouldn't really consider the Hopkinson book to be focused purely on British food, it is clearly a very personal book, written by a British cook.

                                                                                                                          And I've found it really interesting that to the American cooks discussing it here, it's 'otherness' (whether a Brit's interpretation of Southern Fried Chicken, or the list of ingredients that are hard to find in the States) seems to be an appeal.

                                                                                                                          Hence my suggestion that cooks interested in typical British cookery or perspectives might be better served by a writer whom I consider to be both a quintessentially British writer, AND a producer of books far more worthy of awards that Hopkinson's. IMHO, of course!

                                                                                                                        2. re: Gooseberry
                                                                                                                          Candy Mar 31, 2008 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                          I've always loved Jane Grigson and have enjoyed reading and cooking from her books

                                                                                                                    3. Candy Mar 28, 2008 09:40 PM

                                                                                                                      I don't have the original, but the sequel, Second Helpings of More Roast Chicken, my Dh ordered from UK last Christmas. I've not yet cooked from it but can vouch that his take on fried chicken is wrong, wrong, wrong!

                                                                                                                      30 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                        MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                        Any tips on what's wrong the recipe, in case I decide to try it? What didn't turn out right with it?

                                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                          Candy Mar 29, 2008 08:23 AM

                                                                                                                          Southern Fried Chicken:

                                                                                                                          8 lg. chicken legs, skinned
                                                                                                                          seasoned flour (celery salt, cayenne, pepper, paprika, white pepper)
                                                                                                                          2 sm. ehhs beaten
                                                                                                                          100g butter
                                                                                                                          150 ml pure olive oil

                                                                                                                          Garlic Puree to be served as a sauce with the chicken

                                                                                                                          3 plump heads garlic
                                                                                                                          1 lg. tub creme fraiche
                                                                                                                          few shakes Tabasco

                                                                                                                          I don't know what country's Southern-Style Fried Chicken this recipe belongs to but certainly not the southern US.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                            MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                            Oh - I have the book - but don't have much experience frying chicken, so wondered how the recipe differs from what might be considered typical Southern-Fried Chicken - at least the chicken part of it - I've never heard of the garlic puree either, though it sounds tasty to me.

                                                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                              Candy Mar 29, 2008 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                              I grew up frying chicken and there have been many discussions on the proper method. Some soak skin on cut up chickens in salt water, others in buttermilk. Then fry in a cast iron skillet preferably in lard but a good neutral oil that can handle frying temperatures at about 325 or 350 without smoking is preferable.

                                                                                                                              I guess what I object to is the batter of eggs and skinless chicken. If it is gong to have a sauce that is fine. A common "sauce" is peppery cream gravy. Some like honey, some a piece of fried chicken on a waffle with syrup.

                                                                                                                              I will admit that I am familiar with a fried chicken recipe called Chicken Barbara from the mid-south. It is chicken that is fried in waffle batter. It is not a real common recipe or practice.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Candy
                                                                                                                              beetlebug Mar 29, 2008 02:10 PM

                                                                                                                              Does he specify which country the southern refers to? I've had korean fried chicken, japanese fried chicken and chinese fried chicken and all variations are very different from american fried chicken. Maybe his southern fried chicken is "authentic" to whatever region he is referring to.

                                                                                                                              Just because the methodology is different than your knowledge of fried chicken, doesn't make it "wrong, wrong, wrong."

                                                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                MMRuth Mar 29, 2008 02:13 PM

                                                                                                                                He does indicate that he is referring to US southern chicken, because apparently most "Limeys" [sic] are only familiar with something they call Chicken Maryland that he says is not really known in the US or Maryland!

                                                                                                                                I am curious to try his recipe, in part because his methodology on some other dishes (particularly that sea trout one I made) is sometimes unorthodox, but thus far has paid off to me.

                                                                                                                                Chicken Maryland:


                                                                                                                                1. re: beetlebug
                                                                                                                                  Candy Mar 30, 2008 11:28 AM

                                                                                                                                  I think if you will read my op I did say I was not sure which south he is referring to.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                                    pitu Apr 1, 2008 04:16 AM

                                                                                                                                    Candy, I'm with you. That is a demented recipe, lost in translation.
                                                                                                                                    Or perfect for April Fool's Day.

                                                                                                                                    Not that it might not taste good, but it has nothing to do with Southern Fried Chicken found in the US, any of the possible versions.
                                                                                                                                    Skinned chicken? Olive Oil? Garlic puree? Creme Fraiche???

                                                                                                                                    1. re: pitu
                                                                                                                                      oakjoan Apr 1, 2008 11:50 AM

                                                                                                                                      Candy and Pitu: I guess I don't understand what the fuss is about this recipe for Southern Fried Chicken. Some folks will read it and cook it and think they've mastered the "true" Southern recipe? These folks are being misled? Rooked?

                                                                                                                                      I mean if he wrote articles in major newspapers about his "true" Southern Fried Chicken and said that all the other recipes were bunk, I could understand it.

                                                                                                                                      Maybe some friend of his from Tennessee sent his this recipe as an April Fool's prank and he fell for it.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: oakjoan
                                                                                                                                        Candy Apr 1, 2008 12:36 PM

                                                                                                                                        I come from a long line of good American, Southern cooks and that recipe is just not it. It is more like a Milanese than anything.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Candy
                                                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen Apr 1, 2008 12:43 PM

                                                                                                                                          You know, I'm probably just weird and twisted, but regardless of whether this recipe is "authentic" or not, I think it would be interesting to try it and experience American fried chicken the way the Brits--or, this particular Brit, anyway-- imagine it. It's kind of a curiosity to me the same way I imagine it's a curiousity to Brits that we have something called an English muffin that barely resembles anything with which they are familiar.

                                                                                                                                          Nevertheless, if the recipe is delicious, I can overlook a lot of things...


                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                                                            Harters Apr 1, 2008 03:03 PM


                                                                                                                                            You're absolutely right. Authenticity is irrelevent - unless you're trying to claim it's authentic.

                                                                                                                                            There's been a recent thread about which fish to use for our Brit classic of "fish & chips" - and many contributors have come up with all sorts of wierd and wonderful fish they enjoy. The only "authentic" would be cod or haddock - take it from one who lives not 25 miles from the generally accepted world's first fish & chip shop in Mossley, Lancashire.

                                                                                                                                            Also, to use your example about the English Muffin, it's only in recent years that it's been available in England. I think it's popularity has grown with more Brits visiting America and bringing the idea back.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                              pikawicca Apr 1, 2008 03:13 PM

                                                                                                                                              I absolutely do not accept your assertion that only cod or haddock can be used for authentic fish & chips. My favorite has always been plaice, and it is certainly an "authentic" choice.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                                                                Harters Apr 2, 2008 04:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                Plaice is a nice fish but I don't know any part of the UK where it would be generally regarded as the "authentic" fish for a chippy. . You will find it on offer in some shops - along with meat pies, fish cakes, sausages, curry sauce and so on.

                                                                                                                                                Wikipedia has quite a good article on the history of fish & chips, as does our National Federation of Fish Fryers:

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                  pikawicca Apr 3, 2008 08:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                  It was available at fish shops in East Anglia, Cambridge, and London, to my knowledge. Of course, this was back in the 60's, and much has changed in the British fish and chips landscape since then.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: Candy
                                                                                                                                            pitu Apr 3, 2008 07:02 AM

                                                                                                                                            oakjoan, it's the tone of the rest of the book that makes the not-southern-fried so especially absurd
                                                                                                                                            I'm so ready to get into a fight about what real American BBQ is now! (heh)
                                                                                                                                            fekkin' limey....

                                                                                                                                            As Harters says, Authenticity is irrelevent - unless you're trying to claim it's authentic.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: pitu
                                                                                                                                              Harters Apr 3, 2008 07:28 AM

                                                                                                                                              And, unless the US version of the book is different from the original, he doesnt claim authenticity. Of course, he doesnt. He's a chef - used to making his own interpretation of food styles. Note - "style" - his word in that recipe.

                                                                                                                                              Similarly, in Second Helpings, I see no claims for authenticity over his Waldorf Salad (another American recipe); his various Indian flavoured dishes, his South American ceviche; his Piedmontese gnocchi; Venetian linguine;Thai pork rissoles, etc, etc, etc

                                                                                                                                              For that matter, there's nothing particularly authentic about what he does with Yorkshire Pudding (I live in the adjacent county).

                                                                                                                                              Now then, I'm off to coat some chicken in spicy seasoned flour and fry it for dinner. I may even fry a banana to go with it in the "style " of our 1970s interpretation of Chicken Maryland.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                MMRuth Apr 3, 2008 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                That recipe is in Second Helpings - there's no U.S. version of it yet, as far as I know. Candy and I both have the UK one.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                  pitu Apr 3, 2008 07:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Hmm. Calling something Southern Fried Chicken *is* claiming authenticity. I don't have the book in front of me, but unless he adds a line about riffing on the idea of Southern Fried...

                                                                                                                                                  I just laughed and moved on.

                                                                                                                                                  I'm all for deliciousness over everything, but that kind of incorrect naming is just asking for a fight. Please report to the cream-in-carbonara aisle . . .
                                                                                                                                                  : )

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pitu
                                                                                                                                                    MMRuth Apr 3, 2008 08:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                    I think we should all try this recipe and report back ;-). Though I'm no expert on Southern Style Fried Chicken. I may just post the recipe on the main thread with the links!!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                                                      Gio Apr 3, 2008 09:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Southern Fried, Hmmmmmm? I'm the Least expert among this group. Let's see, can I substitute Panko crumbs, use Canola oil instead of what he recommends, and bake it in the oven? Perhaps add garlic and oregano to the crumbs... oh yes and red pepper flakes too.,. Let me think about this.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                        MMRuth Apr 3, 2008 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Then we'd have Gio Style Baked Chicken ;-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                                                          Gio Apr 3, 2008 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Ah - fame at last!

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Gio
                                                                                                                                                          The Dairy Queen Apr 3, 2008 09:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, I've been doing something similar with corn flakes--it's not as good as fried chicken, but it does satisfy a craving! I posted my recipe for "Cornflake chicken" and "Sweet potato jojos" in the middle of this giant thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/47339...


                                                                                                                                                      2. re: pitu
                                                                                                                                                        Harters Apr 3, 2008 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                        "Calling something Southern Fried Chicken *is* claiming authenticity."

                                                                                                                                                        Possibly - if there was a single absolutely accepted recipe. But you know there isn't, as I know there isn't. And he doesnt even call it that. He calls it "southern style"

                                                                                                                                                        Having eaten fried chicken in several southern states on trips since 1980, I'm really interested to know which particular part of the recipe you think is not southern "style". Using thighs? Using seasoned flour? Dipping first in egg then flour? Frying in butter and olive oil (he specifically mentions this is not authentic or traditional)? That's all there is to his chicken.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                          MMRuth Apr 3, 2008 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Is breaded chicken on the bone a dish called by any other name in the UK? Because, if not, then that in itself could well, as he does, be characterized as [US] Southern Style ... If that makes any sense!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                                                            Harters Apr 3, 2008 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Lots of variations on the breaded chicken theme - I bake boneless breasts with a spicy breadcrumb topping. But there's really only one with an "American" influence. That's the Chicken Maryland that I and SH mention. It's a 1970s classic in the UK - always served with fried banana and sweetcorn fritters. Havnt seen it (or cooked it ) for ages - must dig out the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                            I hope we can now move on from this part of the discussion - particularly as its a "Second Helpings" recipe and not one from the book under review. I've nothing more to add to this authenticity saga..

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                              MMRuth Apr 3, 2008 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                              Thanks - that was what I was "getting after". And I agree completely with your sentiment and will also recuse myself from it!!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                                                                                                                                oakjoan Apr 3, 2008 11:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Oooh, MMR! You beat me to my favorite saying: "Well, recuuuuuuuuuuse me!"

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                greedygirl Apr 4, 2008 02:08 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Hopkinson has a recipe for Maryland Chicken in the book he wrote with Lindsay Bareham, The Prawn Cocktail Years.

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