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**November/December 2009 COTM: Simon Hopkinson & All About Braising**

yamalam Oct 17, 2009 12:02 PM

The Holiday COTM winners are in!

Roast Chicken and Other Stories, by Simon Hopkinson
All About Braising, by Molly Stevens

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  1. yamalam RE: yamalam Oct 17, 2009 12:15 PM

    What are your thoughts on organizing the threads for these re-visits? Last year, we just used the old threads and added on, right? Did that work well, or should we try something different this year?

    4 Replies
    1. re: yamalam
      Caitlin McGrath RE: yamalam Oct 17, 2009 12:19 PM

      I think using the old threads is the way to go. That allows all the information to be collected in one place, which I think is important in the long term, and also makes it easy for present users to revisit and learn from the experiences people posted about the first time around.

      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
        MMRuth RE: Caitlin McGrath Oct 17, 2009 01:13 PM

        Yes, I agree.

      2. re: yamalam
        LulusMom RE: yamalam Oct 17, 2009 01:46 PM

        I'm really thrilled! And yes, I think we should just do the same thing we did last year - add on to the old threads.

        1. re: LulusMom
          yamalam RE: LulusMom Oct 17, 2009 01:49 PM

          Sounds good!

      3. n
        newfoodie RE: yamalam Oct 17, 2009 01:11 PM

        I apologize if this information has been stated elsewhere, but are both books for November and December? Or will it be one book per month?

        3 Replies
        1. re: newfoodie
          MMRuth RE: newfoodie Oct 17, 2009 01:13 PM

          Last year we did both books over the two months.

          1. re: MMRuth
            newfoodie RE: MMRuth Oct 17, 2009 01:15 PM

            Great, All About Braising is already in transit to my branch of the NYC Library!

            1. re: newfoodie
              yamalam RE: newfoodie Oct 17, 2009 01:48 PM

              Yup, both books spread over the two months.

        2. MMRuth RE: yamalam Oct 17, 2009 01:40 PM

          I'm so excited about doing Hopkinson again! I don't have All About Braising, and didn't participate that month, but will take a look at it. My husband when through the entire new book by Hopkinson (The Vegetarian Option) and said it looks just fabulous. And he isn't a big vegetable fan - cooking from Vegetable Harvest could have cost me my marriage, if I hadn't quit half way through the month!

          8 Replies
          1. re: MMRuth
            greedygirl RE: MMRuth Oct 17, 2009 02:25 PM

            Can you tell me more about The Vegetarian Option please. Haven't had a chance to get to a bookshop yet to have a look. :-)

            1. re: greedygirl
              MMRuth RE: greedygirl Oct 17, 2009 02:33 PM

              I haven't seen it yet - husband arrives in a couple of hours. Or are you teasing me? (grin)

              1. re: MMRuth
                MMRuth RE: MMRuth Oct 18, 2009 05:29 AM

                Well, it is a beautiful book (photos), and Hopkinson's wonderful voice comes through, as always. Lots of delicious looking recipes. Unlike Wells' Vegetable Harvest, Hopkinson doesn't stint on butter, olive oil, cheese, cream, etc.

                1. re: MMRuth
                  The Dairy Queen RE: MMRuth Oct 18, 2009 05:34 AM

                  Photos? That's a departure for him, no? (I've only seen Roast Chicken...)

                  That is my one recollection of cooking from Hopkinson, is that he really loves his fats. But, who can argue against the deliciousness of fats? I was hard core on Weight Watchers last time we did Hopkinson and I actually had some decent success in cutting some of the fat down in order to participate. I'm a little less intense right now than I was then, but I will probably continue to shave here and there this time around, too. It is possible to use less fat (though very difficult to completely eliminate it and still stay true) if you're timid about (delicious) fats.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    MMRuth RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 18, 2009 06:04 AM

                    Week In, Week Out, which hasn't been published in the U.S., is a large book with gorgeous photos as well.

                  2. re: MMRuth
                    greedygirl RE: MMRuth Oct 23, 2009 04:32 AM

                    What did you think of the recipes you tried, MMRuth? Should I be asking Santa for a copy of this book?

                    1. re: greedygirl
                      MMRuth RE: greedygirl Oct 23, 2009 04:52 AM

                      Yes - so far so good. Will try to post over the weekend about it.

                  3. re: MMRuth
                    greedygirl RE: MMRuth Oct 18, 2009 06:52 AM

                    I'm just impressed that you have this book in your hot little hands before I've even had a chance to look at it! ;-)

              2. The Chowhound Team RE: yamalam Oct 17, 2009 01:43 PM


                We've changed the title of this thread a bit - from "Roast Chicken and Other Stories" to "Simon Hopkinson" - because, as we discovered last time, having the title of this book in the thread title led to lots of false positives for those searching for roast chicken recipes.

                Happy Cooking!

                1. Gio RE: yamalam Oct 17, 2009 07:22 PM

                  Well OK.... this is good. I have both books and now have to do some planning. At least I don't have to buy more exotic ingredients that will languish in the pantry for a few months.
                  Rose water anyone?

                  Many thanks Yamalam!!

                  26 Replies
                  1. re: Gio
                    cpw RE: Gio Oct 17, 2009 07:58 PM

                    Today I was cleaning the pantry and discovered orange blossom water and I can't remember which recipe or cuisine I bought it for. Anyways I have given myself one month to use it or not.

                    1. re: cpw
                      The Dairy Queen RE: cpw Oct 18, 2009 05:12 AM

                      I'll bet the orange blossom water was for Ottolenghi.


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        MMRuth RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 18, 2009 05:19 AM

                        Or maybe Arabesque?

                        1. re: MMRuth
                          The Dairy Queen RE: MMRuth Oct 18, 2009 05:27 AM

                          That's a good guess, too.

                          Here's a good thread on using up rose water and orange blossom water. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6380...


                        2. re: The Dairy Queen
                          Gio RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 18, 2009 06:05 AM

                          Right , I bought the rose and orange waters for the Ottolenghi month and only used the orange water. I have no idea how to use them now. I *did* like that Ottolenghi book, though.

                          Ever since MMR has been sighing over Hopkinson I now have the urge to get his other books. In fact I just pre-ordered the Vegetarian book from Amazon and expect to get the second Roast Chicken book too. I read his interview at the Telegraph web site and am very intrigued....

                          1. re: Gio
                            MMRuth RE: Gio Oct 18, 2009 06:12 AM

                            One that I don't have is The Prawn Cocktail Years, though I've perused it several times.

                            "Full colour cookbook sets out to rehabilitate food we have once loved and found exciting by adding good fresh ingredients to former favourites such as spaghetti bolognese, chicken kiev and even coq au vin. "

                            Also, I didn't realize that The Vegetarian Option was going to be so readily available in the U.S. One thing that is odd is that the book is 20 pounds in the U.K. (the copies my husband got had a 4 pound discount), and on Amazon they show the list price as $24.95, and the discounted price $16.47.


                            Edit - this explains it - "Hardcover - April 1, 2010" is the availability date!

                            1. re: MMRuth
                              greedygirl RE: MMRuth Oct 18, 2009 06:19 AM

                              I have the Prawn Cocktail Years - it's great fun, and I've made the prawn cocktail several times as it's a bit of a guilty pleasure (that everyone likes!).

                              1. re: greedygirl
                                oakjoan RE: greedygirl Oct 18, 2009 12:20 PM

                                gg: What in the world does the prawn cocktail have in it to make it a guilty pleasure? Whipped cream?

                                1. re: oakjoan
                                  greedygirl RE: oakjoan Oct 23, 2009 04:30 AM

                                  Nah, it's just considered a bit naff and seventies, but everyone secretly really likes it, I've discovered.

                              2. re: MMRuth
                                Gio RE: MMRuth Oct 18, 2009 06:22 AM

                                I've pre-ordered from Amazon in the past and many times the delivery date was much sooner than the stated availability date. I can wait.... there's so much to do in the next few months.

                                1. re: Gio
                                  MMRuth RE: Gio Oct 18, 2009 06:37 AM

                                  I wonder if this one will have U.S. measurements.

                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                    Gio RE: MMRuth Oct 18, 2009 06:49 AM

                                    That's really not a problem for me. I've cobbled together a conversion chart of my own and along with the inclusive charts in "Jean Anderson Cooks" I can do the conversions quickly as I read through a recipe. I don't know why some people get thrown by the difference in measurements. I look at it as another learning experience. Gotta keep the brain cells active!

                                    1. re: Gio
                                      MMRuth RE: Gio Oct 18, 2009 07:04 AM

                                      I shoul really do that myself - I tend to use the scale and measuring cups, but it would be easier if I had a little cheat sheet.

                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                        LulusMom RE: MMRuth Oct 18, 2009 08:48 AM

                                        I have a printed out cheat sheet, but I still find the process a bit daunting sometimes. But Gio is right - gotta keep those brain cells active.

                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                          oakjoan RE: LulusMom Oct 18, 2009 12:24 PM

                                          Lulu's Mom: I find it daunting as well. The measurements for a cake, e.g., don't come out to round number U.S. measurements. They can be something like 1.6 cup or .7 Tablespoon... It'd be fine it all measurements were weights, but they're not, and it'd be pretty irritating to pour a small amount of vanilla into a cup to be put on the scale.

                                          I think I'll just have to finally get "foreign" measuring cups and spoons. I plan to do this next week so I can make the Olive Oil Apple Cake in Ottolenghi! For the 3rd time!

                                          1. re: oakjoan
                                            greedygirl RE: oakjoan Oct 18, 2009 12:32 PM

                                            We don't have measuring cups though - just weights. And the difference in American vs British tbsps is so small that I've never found it a problem.

                                            1. re: oakjoan
                                              MMRuth RE: oakjoan Oct 18, 2009 01:12 PM

                                              I do just weigh everything on the scale - other than tsps and Tbs - or use my Pyrex measuring cups that have ML marked on them. I'm making two dishes for tonight from my new book, and have done no math in getting the ingredients ready.

                                              1. re: MMRuth
                                                greedygirl RE: MMRuth Oct 18, 2009 01:24 PM

                                                Oh yes, I forgot that you probably need a pyrex jug. Mine has both fl oz and ml on it. (Be sure to report back on your new book, btw!)

                                                1. re: greedygirl
                                                  Caitlin McGrath RE: greedygirl Oct 18, 2009 01:56 PM

                                                  As far back as I can recall, Pyrex measuring cups have always had both, so there's no equipment burden for Americans there.

                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                    oakjoan RE: Caitlin McGrath Oct 19, 2009 10:34 PM

                                                    Caitlin: Unfortunately, I have a tres chic set of measuring cups that I got as a gift which are nesting and only have the gross measurements - 1/4, 1/3, etc. Turns out they are tres useless. Pyrex here I come.

                                                  2. re: greedygirl
                                                    MMRuth RE: greedygirl Oct 18, 2009 02:31 PM

                                                    Yes, all of mine have both as well.

                                                2. re: oakjoan
                                                  LulusMom RE: oakjoan Oct 18, 2009 01:58 PM

                                                  Right ... its the baking that makes me nervous. Other stuff I'm not so worried if its slightly off.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                    greedygirl RE: LulusMom Oct 19, 2009 02:43 AM

                                                    LulusMom - what is it about the scale that you find difficult to use?

                                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                                      LulusMom RE: greedygirl Oct 19, 2009 09:51 AM

                                                      It is electronic and digital. I am of an earlier age (at least mentally) and find it hard to even figure out how to turn it on.

                                      2. re: MMRuth
                                        Gio RE: MMRuth Nov 1, 2009 09:15 AM

                                        Here are some recipes from SH's new cookbook, The Vegetarian Option:

                                        1. re: Gio
                                          MMRuth RE: Gio Nov 1, 2009 10:01 AM

                                          I just finished eating a fabulous souffle from that book.

                              3. k
                                Karen_Schaffer RE: yamalam Oct 17, 2009 09:17 PM

                                How fun! I haven't cooked from either of these, so I'm looking forward to it. I didn't vote because I was curious to see which the people who had participated in the original COTMs wanted to come back to. It was clear that Braising would be in, and I was hoping that Hopkinson would be the second.

                                Regarding the pantry, yeah, I'm wondering what to do with the leftover belachan and candlenuts! Maybe try a different Indonesian cookbook, because as charming as Cradle of Flavor was, most of the recipes just didn't wow me.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                  oakjoan RE: Karen_Schaffer Oct 17, 2009 09:43 PM

                                  I'm looking forward to these books. I didn't participate in the All About Braising month a while ago and am interested in giving Hopkinson's another go. I hardly cooked anything from it the first time around.

                                  1. re: oakjoan
                                    The Dairy Queen RE: oakjoan Oct 18, 2009 05:02 AM

                                    Same here.I wasn't participating when we did the Braising book, but wish I had been. I did cook a fair amount from Hopkinson and am delighted to revisit it.


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                      yamalam RE: The Dairy Queen Oct 19, 2009 01:15 PM

                                      Me too! I just need the weather to cooperate. Current Phoenix temp is 92...not quite braising weather, groan.

                                      I have started loaning out my favorite cookbooks, my brother got Batali, my stepmom got Bon Appetit Y'all, my recent college grad niece got Alice Waters, all with notes and post-its on my favorite recipes and a clause entitling me to rescind them at any time. Any day now I'm waiting for a "Can you believe how rude" post about me on the Not About Food thread but I do have room for Braising and Hopkinson now!

                                2. greedygirl RE: yamalam Oct 18, 2009 09:00 AM

                                  Dear Dr yamalam

                                  I regret to inform you that I've just been looking at the old threads for All About Braising and I think I may have to forget my groaning book shelves and buy it. I am beyond help.

                                  Hopeless Cookbook Addict.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: greedygirl
                                    Gio RE: greedygirl Oct 18, 2009 05:34 PM

                                    Dear Ms Greedy Girl,
                                    That's not your real name, now, is it? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Just go out and buy the damn book. You'll be glad you did.
                                    Everlastingly yours,
                                    Simon Ruth-Stevens

                                    1. re: Gio
                                      dkennedy RE: Gio Oct 19, 2009 08:04 AM

                                      I am so excited about the November/December choices. I just ordered one from Amazon, the other from my local library (for once, it wasn't already taken!) so I am good to go. Meanwhile, I am going to look up the old threads and get a head start!!! Happy early holidays to all of us COTMers.

                                      1. re: dkennedy
                                        yamalam RE: dkennedy Oct 19, 2009 01:19 PM

                                        Here a link to the COTM archive, which then links to Hopkinson and Braising, for head start purposes:)

                                    2. re: greedygirl
                                      yamalam RE: greedygirl Oct 19, 2009 01:07 PM

                                      Dear HCA,

                                      In these uncertain times, one thing is certain: ikea bookshelves are cheap!

                                      -The Doc

                                    3. always_eating RE: yamalam Oct 24, 2009 01:24 PM

                                      Oh, I'm excited about the choices! I just took out Simon Hopkinson's Roast Chicken & Other Stories from the library this week, without ever seeing this thread, so I think it means I have to cook from it & participate in COTM. Just flipped through the book and it looks wonderful. Can't wait to read it & use some of the recipes.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: always_eating
                                        Gio RE: always_eating Oct 24, 2009 05:41 PM

                                        Welcome to COTM always_eating! I hope you enjoy this adventure as much as I do. The discussions are insightful, informative, often hilarious, and that's apart from the reports themselves. There are some very clever cooks here but don't be intimidated... it's all fun and great eating.

                                      2. greedygirl RE: yamalam Oct 25, 2009 07:52 AM

                                        I received my copy of All About Braising yesterday. Haven't had time for a proper look yet, but it did come with a very handy laminated conversion chart which I don't really need but some of you would just love it! I thought it was a nice touch and that more publishers should do it.

                                        1. Gio RE: yamalam Nov 2, 2009 05:04 AM

                                          So where are the Chapter headings already??
                                          I have posts to make and reports to mis-type. LOL

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: Gio
                                            MMRuth RE: Gio Nov 2, 2009 05:12 AM

                                            I think we just go back and use the old threads:

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/505153 - Hopkinson

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/330177 - All About Braising

                                            1. re: MMRuth
                                              Karen_Schaffer RE: MMRuth Nov 2, 2009 08:27 AM

                                              Yes, but surely someone is going to sticky the links to the top of the Home Cooking page, so we don't have to go find them, right?

                                              I read through the Hopkinson book and have marked a few recipes to try, but I fear I find it rather uninspiring personally. Even reading through the past threads (which I did search out last night) failed to inspire me. Ah well, Braising is waiting for me at the library, and I suspect it will be more my sort of cookbook.

                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                The Dairy Queen RE: Karen_Schaffer Nov 2, 2009 08:32 AM

                                                My library has 3 copies of braising and they are all out. I tried to buy a new one on Amazon about 2-3 weeks ago (when it was clear to me that it would be one of the choices this month) and they still haven't shipped it. I then ordered a used copy and am waiting for that to arrive. Sheesh!

                                                My plan/hope is to see if any of these Stevens recipes can be adapted to the slow cooker. Such a hard time of year for me to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but I could really use some elevated crock-pot ideas!


                                                1. re: Karen_Schaffer
                                                  LulusMom RE: Karen_Schaffer Nov 2, 2009 09:05 AM

                                                  Agreed ... can't we sticky those posts? Or have links to them on this thread?

                                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                                    yamalam RE: LulusMom Nov 2, 2009 09:51 AM

                                                    They are there now, I've asked the mods to retitle them to make it clearer, sorry for any confusion!

                                                    1. re: yamalam
                                                      Karen_Schaffer RE: yamalam Nov 2, 2009 10:01 AM


                                                      1. re: yamalam
                                                        LulusMom RE: yamalam Nov 2, 2009 10:13 AM

                                                        Thanks a million!

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