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November/December 2009 COTM: Simon Hopkinson [Apr 08 revisited]

[We've taken the liberty of posting the "master thread" with links to the various threads for this COTM. Oakjoan - you are welcome to email us if you want us to add/replace text!]

FISH and SHELLFISH (Anchovy, cod, crab, hake, etc.) - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505098

MEAT - LAMB, PORK, RABBIT, STEAK and VEAL - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505162

BRAINS, KIDNEYS, LIVER, SWEETBREADS and the rest of the OFFAL - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505099

CHICKEN and GAME BIRDS (Grouse, etc.) - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505103

VEGETABLES (Asparagus, Cepes, Eggplant, Endive, Garlic, Parsley,etc.) - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505105

OLIVE OIL, EGGS and CHEESE - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505106

SWEETS (Custard, Cream, Chocolate) - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505107

SAFFRON - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505108

Here's the link to the earlier discussion thread on this book:


Since that thread is already long and the month has just begun, it may make sense to continue discussion here, so that the thread doesn't become unwieldy. Lots of great tips there though for those who haven't seen it yet.

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  1. Yay - we can get started. Here are the links that Gio, TDQ & I found on line:



    Jeremiah Tower's Montpellier Butter

    Old-Fashioned Egg Sauce

    Salade Nicoise:

    Anchovy and Onion Tarts


    Roast Chicken:

    Grilled Breasts of Chicken with Provencal Vegetables and Aioli



    Petit Pot au Chocolat

    Milk Chocolate Malt Ice Cream


    Coriander and Coconut Soup


    Rice Pudding
    This recipe varies a bit from the U.S. one, which calls for 3T butter, ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup short grain rice, 3 ½ cups whole milk, ½ vanilla bean, ½ cup heavy cream, pinch of salt – instructions look the same – use 275 degrees for oven.

    Eggplant Baked with Herbs and Cream


    Salad of grilled aubergines with garlic cream dressing and basil

    Nasu dengaku – Grilled Eggplant with Sesame – Recipe is quite different from the one in the US book though.



    Ouefs en Meurette


    Roast Grouse:


    Roast Leg of Lamb


    Potato Purée with Parsley

    Parsley Salad
    Ingredient list only in link – coarsely chop olives, mix in parsley, onions, capers and garlic. Chop anchovies (small pieces), mix w/ lemon rind, lots of black pepper, olive oil, mix w/ other ingredients, add lemon juice to taste, add thin slivers of Parmesan. In the book there is a recipe for biscuits to serve with the salad.

    Piedmont Roast Peppers

    Note, the book calls for dif. Amounts – 4 garlic cloves, 8 ripe tomatoes, 16 canned anchovies, drained, ½ cup olive oil, doesn’t mention basil, though that sounds like a nice addition

    Pork Pieces and Bacon Bits

    Prosciutto with Warm Wilted Greens


    Poached Salmon with Beurre Blanc

    Salmon in Pastry with Ginger and Currants


    Roast shin of veal


    Devilled anchovies

    Prawn Cocktail

    New Potatoes with Caviar

    Salad of raw cepes with Parmesan and olive oil

    Salad of Green Beans with Anchovies

    Chili Crab Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

    Duck Soup - Ingredient List in a post further down the thread

    Scotch Broth

    Salmon with sorrel sauce

    Jansson's Temptation

    Smoked Haddock with Spinach and Chive Butter

    Sea Trout in Champagne Sauce

    Ray With Potatoes And Red Wine Vinaigrette - Original recipe calls for using Skate

    Scallops Grilled in the Shell:

    Roast Quail With Butter And Lemon

    Pot roast chicken:

    Quail with Peas:

    Roasted leg of rabbit with bacon and mustard sauce

    Duck a l’Orange

    Coronation Turkey – scroll down

    Grilled Veal Kidneys With Creamed Onions And Sage

    Cold ham soufflé with Cumberland sauce

    Sirloin Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce

    Apple and Horseradish Sauce – Nice with porkchops, so putting it here

    Summer Vegetable Stew With Watercress and Mint - Vegetarian

    Stuffed aubergines

    Fried Eggplant with Chilli and Salad Onions - Vegetarian

    Tomato Curry:

    Flamiche - Leek/Pastry Pie

    Leek Pie - Vegetarian

    Sticky Italian Rice With Herbs, Mozzarella And Parmesan - Vegetarian

    Mushroom Cannelloni - Vegetarian

    Garlic Mushrooms - Adapted from a book written w/ SH

    Cepe Fried With Potatoes, Garlic And Parsley

    Zucchini Custards With Pimiento Sauce - Vegetarian

    Fried zucchini with skordalia - Vegetarian

    Fagioli E Fagiolini Con Basilica

    Clementine granita with "Mandarine" cream – made this granita - wonderful

    Coffee Granita

    Coffee Ice Cream

    St Clement's cream

    White coffee ice-cream “For the finale, Simon bought along his own delicious coffee ice-cream. The recipe was given to him by the Cipriani Hotel in Venice and is a sworn secret, so I've come up with my own version.”

    French Toast with Apples - I got a message about a security problem with this site

    Pink Grapefruit Granita

    Pain Perdu aux Pommes - in French

    Hot Strawberry And Almond Pie

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Wow--that's a a lot links, MMR, thank you so much for organizing and posting them for us!


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Loads 'o' Links! I don't think we've ever had so many! And for such a small book.

        Good work guys!

        1. re: oakjoan

          There are loads more at www.independent.co.uk - his book Week In, Week Out is based on his columns in that paper, but I got tired! Searching in the life style section for Hopkinson and recipes before 2003 is the best way to find them.

    2. Quick question - I've made a couple of recipes from this book (and several of his others) since I got them in December. Wondering if it would be useful for me to cut and paste my comments about those on these threads, or if that is too outside the COTM "experience"? Just let me know!

      3 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        I think that's a great idea. It would be wonderful to have them all in one place since that's where we're most likely to look for them from here on in.

        1. re: JoanN

          Thanks - all I needed was a little push. I've done a couple, but for future reference, here's my old thread about cooking from this books, which includes comments and reports from you and other posters:


        2. re: MMRuth

          This will definitely help. Thanks so much for all the extra work you do. And, as always, thanks to Oakjaon too.

        3. Just found this while googling for a recipe - it's a list of all the recipes in the book, for those who don't have it and might be interested.


          1. I'm glad this book got chosen as I probably would have never checked it out on my own. I was happy to see that my library has two copies so picked one up last week. First impressions: this is a charming little book with an engaging author and delightful illustrations. I found myself chuckling a few times at Hopkinson's opinions and stories.

            The recipes are short and sweet which make them very approachable, but it will be interesting to see if there's enough detail for me and if the recipes do really work. I appreciate his inclusion of organs/offal, but probably won't delve into that. He doesn't skimp on the butter, oil or cream, so I may cut back to suit my taste. Recipes I've bookmarked to try, although I'll realistically just get to a few this month:

            anchovy and onion tart
            asparagus soup
            roast chicken (of course!)
            poulet saute au vinaigre
            cilantro and coconut soup
            garlic and sorrel soup w/ parmesan croutons
            olive oil mashed potatoes
            crisp parmesan crackers (served w/ a dry martini as he suggests!)
            slow-braised pork belly w/ soy, ginger and garlic

            2 Replies
            1. re: Carb Lover

              Look forward to your participating! I've loved the poulet saute, the olive oil mashed potatoes (if you have or can get some fruttato - do try it with that - amazing) and the crackers. Another poster, I think on my thread about the book in December, highly recommended the pork belly dish, but I've not tried it yet.

              I'd been meaning to post a couple of thoughts on this thread with "tips" from my cooking so far, so this is a good opportunity.

              1. Some recipes, like the poulet, took longer than I thought - saute sounds quick to me, but I think the whole thing took about 1.5 hours.

              2. In some cases, if I'm making something new to me, I've done some poking around in other books - like how to use the leaf gelatin for the Bavarois. Sometimes his methods seem unorthodox - the hollandaise for a salmon recipe - a couple of lines vs. two pages in MTAFC - but it worked out perfectly and was easy.

              3. Soups - his recipes tend to make very "dense" soups, and I've thinned them out a bit at the end with more liquid.

              4. Salt - as I'm sure you saw, he doesn't say how much to use - I'm still working on salting appropriately, and salt, taste and salt some more, etc., and sometimes it really "pops" the flavors in his dishes.

              1. re: Carb Lover

                i had gone through the book to see if there were any recipes i wanted to try and didn't find a one...but i must have missed the entire parmesan section, because those crisp parmesan crackers and the parmesan fritters sound yummy...i may just cook something out of this book yet...:o)

              2. Just a note - we've changed part of the titles of the threads - from "Roast Chicken" to "Hopkinson". We realized that the title could cause a lot of "false postives" for those searching for roast chicken recipes.

                Happy Cooking!

                1. I bought this book sight-unseen based on the mouth- watering posts by MMRuth and reviews I'd read. Then I got a little nervous as some people described hard to find ingredients or undoable recipes. But I have to say, I had a LOT of fun cooking from this book. I marked 28 recipes to try, and got to 11 of them during the month. Only 1 catastrophe (the roast onions) and 1 bomb (the choc. st. emillion), but the other things ranged from pleasant to absolutely spectacular (that basque fish soup and rabbit - or chicken for me - in rosemary cream).

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Not surprisingly, I really enjoyed continuing to cook from this book. My only regret is that I didn't get into the offal beyond chicken livers, but next time I make it up to Arthur Ave., I'm going to buy some tripe and give it a whirl. Almost everything I made turned out very well, aside from the garlic soup, and the recipes were all ones that I'd make for "company", in addition to making for us again. The salmon w/ the ginger and currants is a real stand out for me, and I love his easy way of making hollandaise. Also really liked the crepes with asparagus and the mussel soup w/ saffron. I need to go through and cull some vegetarian recipes to make this month, to supplement Flexitarian!

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      I still have plenty to try too, and hope to do that some month when there isn't a CotM that I'm loving. I agree that most of these recipes are company worthy. And of course for me it was a really big deal to get that pastry made. I wouldn't have attempted it without this push.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        Thanks for reminding me about the tarts - didn't get around to making any of those yet - nor any of the Lucques ones, for that matter!

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          The salmon with hollandaise is the top of my try list right now. And then there are those cepes tarts ... and the chocolate ones ...

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            . . . and because I'm still trying to take off a few pounds (or at least keep off the ones I've already taken), I haven't begun to explore this book in the way that I hope to. I have some sweetbreads in the freezer that are waiting for me. And I, too, want to try the tripe . . . and the kidneys . . . and . . . and . . . .

                  2. Hmm, I wanted to love this book, but it just didn't do it for me. I enjoyed the anecdotes, but the recipes either seemed too simple (like something I already cook not even using a recipe) or too fussy. Not that I mind working at recipes, but somehow, his didn't generally appeal enough to me. It strikes me that I felt similarly about the Elizabeth David book. Oh well, different strokes!

                    So I've returned Hopkinson to the library and am concentrating on All About Braising instead, which I totally love.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                      I know exactly what you mean. I love my little Hopkinson "Roast Chicken" and "Second Helpings" books--for the sweet illustrations, the charming anecdotes, and even the lovely paper in these editions. But the recipes just don't inspire me, probably because they are mostly very basic. These could, however, be useful and reassuring little books for beginners.

                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                        "The most useful cookbook of all time." That's what Britain's Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine said in 2005 about "Roast Chicken and Other Stories" after surveying English food writers, restaurateurs and chefs.

                        That excerpt is from the introduction to the book. When I cooked from this book when it was the sole COTM there were a few recipes we enjoyed but I just couldn't understand that praise. And, after my recent 2nd Roast Chicken fiasco I'm concentrating on AAB too.

                        1. re: Gio

                          I've never thought of the British as hyperbolic, but that claim surely qualifies as supreme hyberbole, perhaps the most hyperbolic statement of all time ; )

                      2. re: Karen_Schaffer

                        While I think the whole "most useful cookbook of all time" business is head-scratching, I do love this little book, and made many great things from it. The rabbit with cream and rosemary, the smoked haddock and curry soup, the basque chiorro, the anchovy and onion tarts - all of these were stand outs. I did, however, ruin a pan with the roast onions. I wish I had more time to cook this month, but unfortunately I don't, so haven't really gotten to the batch of recipes still on my to try list.

                        Still and all, I can see your point, especially given the hyperbole that came with the book's publication. But I think there are some real gems in it.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Since I was (and am) such a huge fan of his, I'll try to moderate my thoughts. I agree that it is not the most useful cookbook of all time. I was completely enchanted by his writing. One thing that I found from cooking from his books is that I tried things I'd not made before - simple maybe, but new to me. Like the crepes - which are now my favourite vehicle for leftovers. His amazingly simple and successful recipe for Hollandaise Sauce. In his latest book, I made the mac and cheese - I had quibbles with it, but now make macaroni and cheese, withy my own twists, which I'd never made before. (Not that I need more pasta and cheese in my diet.)

                          To my mind, some of his very simple recipes are deceptive, because the end result is so fabulous. And, some of his more complicated ones are well worth the trouble. Though not in this book, his duck soup (using a carcass) and the Champagne Sea Trout are two of my very favorite dishes ever.

                          Edit - And, yes, I also wasn't a huge fan of his roast chicken recipe. The roast potatoes, on the other hand ... and the mashed potatoes with olive oil, and the ones with saffron, delicious.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Consider me a huge fan as well. But no matter how much I love this book (and the second helpings one) and no matter how charming I find the writing, I do have to admit that there are definitely more useful cookbooks. I was so thrilled when I made the pastry for the tarts, but ... reading his instructions wasn't as helpful as if I'd made pastry dough before. But (and this is a huge point in his favor) he was the one who enticed me to make that pastry, and to put those olives and anchovies and onions on it (and get HUGE praise from my husband). I think the trick with this book is to go beyond the obvious (no roast chicken, no roast onions, and for me, no asparagus vinaigrette which was just eh) and delve into the more british/euro oddities (to us at least).

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              Yes, I do think one has to have a basic (not so basic?) cooking background to use his book successfully (and by that I don't mean that posters who don't like it don't), and I think that makes it not the most useful book ever.

                            2. re: MMRuth

                              I have to say, I haven't found his recipes to be that inspiring, but everything I've made from the book has been delicious. It may not be the most useful cookbook of all time, but given how skinny it is, there's certainly room for it on even my heavily-laden bookshelves.

                              I do confess, though, I cut back a lot on the quantities of fat his recipes call for. Still, delicious!


                              1. re: MMRuth

                                I'll have to give his hollandaise sauce a try. If it is good AND simple, that one recipe would make the book more than worth the investment (although I don't begrudge the modest investment in these books even if the recipes don't seem to inspire me; there are all kinds of reasons to love cookbooks, imo).

                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                  This discussion is one of the main reasons I love Chowhound. Where else could we get this give and take, this intensity of feeling.....about COOKBOOKS! I do have several friends who seriously cook and love to talk about it, but they never heard of Ottolenghi or Hopkinson or Rose Carrarini (unless I told them). Here, after a while, one gets to know the regular posters and their likes and dislikes and so doesn't have to start from the beginning each time.