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The Prawn Cocktail Years Hardcover – 2 Nov 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (2 Nov. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718149807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718149802
  • Product Dimensions: 24.7 x 19.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Here they all are, fresh as paint, as if they'd never been away. Why did we let them go? Neglected, derided, dismissed as hopelessly naff, in what dismal Midlands eateries have they been waiting out the years of shame? No matter, they're back. Prawn Cocktail, Steak and Chips and Black Forest Gateau are the signature dishes of The Prawn Cocktail Years, a bravura collection of favourite restaurant dishes from the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies--years when Britain was learning to eat out. How evocative the recipe titles are (the authors describe a Proustian moment when the memories came pouring out): Coquilles St-Jacques, Sole Veronique, Beef Stroganoff, Mixed Grill, Swedish Meatballs, Wiener Schnitzel, Chicken Maryland, Crepes Suzette, Peach Melba and Profiteroles. Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham remind us firmly that although these may not chime with present food fashions (or prejudices), they were loved in their time and should be again, because when well made they are very good dishes indeed. They need no apology or special pleading.

The time machine of The Prawn Cocktail Years visits a number of favourite establishments over the years: the Fifties Hotel Dining Room, the Gentleman's Club, the Continental Restaurant. It looks into the coffee-bar madness that was Expresso Bongo (unexpectedly, perhaps, offering Cornish Pasty and Sausage Rolls for refreshment here), the Sixties Bistro, the Tratt-Era and Chez Gourmet; and returns us to the present burning to throw out our sun-dried tomatoes and lemon-grass and get down to making a good Fish Pie and Brown Bread Ice-Cream. Readers of a certain age, as they say, will be thrilled to see these old friends again; younger readers may care to discover what we ate before cooking became the new rock 'n' roll. --Robin Davidson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Simon Hopkinson was born in Bury in Lancashire where his love of good eating was established at the kitchen table. He left school at seventeen to begin a career as a chef and by the age of 21, he had started his own restaurant. In 1987, he opened Bibendum in London with Sir Terence Conran where he worked for 8 years before retiring to concentrate on writing. He has since written columns for the Independent, The Sunday Times and Sainsbury's Magazine and is the author of four books, including the bestselling Roast Chicken and Other Stories.

Lindsey Bareham is best known for her daily after-after work recipe column in the Evening Standard, which she wrote for eight years. Currently she writes the weekly 'Cheat's Dinner Party' column in the Sunday Telegraph Stella magazine and contributes a monthly recipe column to Saga magazine. She has written ten cookery books, including In Praise of the Potato, A Celebration of Soup, The Big Red Book of Tomatoes and Just One Pot. Her most recent book, The Fish Store, is a collection of recipes and stories, inspired by her holiday home in a Cornish fishing village.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 196 people found the following review helpful By Alice Barnett on 7 Sept. 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the only cookery book I have worn out through repeated use (the first edition). I looked for a replacement a while ago and a second hand one was going for £50 - that's how unwilling people who own this book are to part with it!

Every recipe merits it's own 10 page rave - from the unashamedly posh Savoy Hotel's Omlette Arnold Bennet, the Tournedos Rossini with it's foie gras and black truffle fit for royalty, the Victorian breakfast kedgeree right out of the last days days of the Raj, Jam Roly Poly 'Dead man's leg' pudding beloved of public schoolboys (and lords) everywhere, real cornwall cornish paasty, and the rather eccentric sounding brown bread ice cream.

The real icing on the cake (pardon the pun) though is the writers' style - this is a book to read even when you are nowhere near the kitchen, even when you're eating a big mac. Each recipe has as its introduction a brief but fascinating history of where it originated, how it became 'British', and how it won its place in the canon of culinary history.

The recipes are listed by the establishments that made them famous - The fifties hotel dining room, the Gentleman's club, the Italianate 'Espresso Bongo' coffee bars the cropped up in Soho in the 60's and many others - giving you the choice to dine like a lord, a cornish miner, or a mod or rocker.

This is the cookbook of Britain - if you're not a native Brit it's time to treat your tastebuds in a way you never thought possible coming from these isles. If you are a Brit - it's time for a journey through your culinary birthright.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Holt on 20 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the days before the world was infested with "foodies" - what a thoroughly obnoxious word that is - entirely appropriate - food didn't go in and out of fashion. What was good was made over and over again, and served in varying quality from back street cafes to expensive hotels. And that was the problem. People remembered the hundreds of thoroughly bad Prawn Cocktails or Black Forest Gateaux at the expense of the few really excellent ones. In this book, the winning team of Hopkinson and Bareham revive the glories of '50s, '60s, and '70s British cuisine. With loving care they resurrect well over 120 of Britain's favourite post-war dishes. Each dish is deconstructed, researched, and reassembled to give the authors' "perfect" version of Chicken Chasseur, Cauliflower Cheese, Welsh Rabbit, Taramasalata, Cheesecake, Chilli con Carne, Profiteroles ..... This can give surprising results - Chilli con Carne with chopped lemon cooked into it - surprisingly good, although I did vary most of the other ingredients depending on what I had. But that's half the fun of cooking 'standards' - there is no right way. Along the way, you will find a deal of informative chat about the dishes and slightly too many very good pictures - but that's just my bias. In fact, like most of Hopkinson's books, this is ok just to read - forget the cooking for a while.

Be warned, as well as some great dishes, you will find things you hate in here. But try them just the same. My wife has a serious dislike of Quiche Lorraine, but agreed to try the version in this book. She ate it all and enjoyed it, but we won't be having it again for a while - it's very calorie-heavy! Give this book a try, it's great fun and if you're too young to remember the dishes in it, you're in for a real treat - good food is not an invention of the current crop of TV chefs - it's always been there.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer of AMAZON-UK! on 28 Feb. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Prawn Cocktail, Steak and Chips & Black Forest Gâteau.........back in fashion, and on the menu!

Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham have written several individual books between them, but this one has that.....well.....je ne sais quoi!
It just beckons one to open the seductive looking black cover and reveal the collection of favourite restaurant dishes from the 50s, 60s and 70s, revisited with nostalgia and a fair bit of pride.

For me the book arrived at a time when I was desperately seeking, dare I say a new 'shop-bought', 'Marie Rose Sauce', as my favourite had been given an up-to-date 'tweak' with the addition of pink peppercorns! (Yuck)!
As I sampled the vast array available, most were too lemony, too mayonnaisey or simply too bland.......so the answer....well.... good old DIY.

And with the help of the 'Prawn Cocktail Years', it is actually incredibly easy to achieve just the right balance for your own sauce.
The mouth-watering 'Prawn Cocktail' photograph on page 15, and in the images above, is enticement enough to encourage the purchase of this marvellous book, which opens up to a wealth of forgotten or 'not culinary correct' recipes.

272 shiny high quality pages, split over chapters:

1. The Great British Meal Out
2. The 50s Hotel Dining Room
3. The Gentleman's Club
4. The Continental Restaurant
5. Expresso Bongo
6. The 60s Bistro
7. The Tart-era
8. Chez Gourmet

with introductions for the September 2006 edition as well as the original in February 1997, plus a recipe index and a general index.
Each chapter opens with text, often humorous, as does the narrative within the recipes, e.g.
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