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

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. 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

      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: yamalam

        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.

      2. 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

          Last year we did both books over the two months.

          1. re: MMRuth

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

            1. re: newfoodie

              Yup, both books spread over the two months.

        2. 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

            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

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

              1. re: MMRuth

                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

                  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.

                  ~TDQ

                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    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

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

                    1. re: greedygirl

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

                  3. re: MMRuth

                    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. Hi:

                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. 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

                    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

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

                      ~TDQ

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          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...

                          ~TDQ

                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                          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

                            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.

                            http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-Opti...

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

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              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

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

                                1. re: oakjoan

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

                              2. re: MMRuth

                                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

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

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    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

                                      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

                                        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

                                          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

                                            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

                                              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

                                                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

                                                  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

                                                    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

                                                    Yes, all of mine have both as well.

                                                2. re: oakjoan

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

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

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

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      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

                                        Here are some recipes from SH's new cookbook, The Vegetarian Option:
                                        http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life...

                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I just finished eating a fabulous souffle from that book.