While Lindsey Bareham was helping Simon Hopkinson put together his best-selling book, Roast Chicken and Other Stories, the two of them began to reminisce about hotel and restaurant dishes they had grown up with and always loved; those Cinderellas of the kitchen that we abandoned in our quest for the wilder shores of gastronomy. Classics such as Duck a l'Orange, Weiner Schnitzel, Moussaka, Garlic Mushrooms and, of course, Prawn Cocktail, have all been slung out like old lovers but when made with fine, fresh ingredients and prepared with care and a genuine love of good eating, these former favourites should grace the most discerning of tables.
The Prawn Cocktail Years sets out to rehabilitate the food we once loved and found exciting. In so doing, the authors take us on a cook's tour of the legendary post-war hotels and gentlemen's clubs with their Mulligatawny and Shepherd's Pie, to the bistros of Swinging London where Paté Maison and sizzling Escargots excited the braver palate. Then there were the first Italian trattorias where Saltimbocca and Oranges in Caramel were the order of the day and the 'Continental' restaurants with their exotic offerings of Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Kiev and Rhum Baba. Recipes for all these old favourites have been brought back to life as well as those classics that were once described as the Great British Meal - Prawn Cocktail, Steak Garni with Chips and Black Forest Gateau. Cooked as they should be, this much derided and often ridiculed dinner is still something very special indeed. The prawn cocktail years are staging a comeback . . .