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The Prawn Cocktail Years [Hardcover]

Lindsey Bareham , Simon Hopkinson
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.00
Price: 16.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Nov 2006

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 . . .


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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: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,345 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

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
188 of 193 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate British Cookbook 7 Sep 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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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Prawn Cocktail, Steak and Chips & Black Forest Gateau .........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 (M&S) 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.
Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, great food 24 Feb 2009
By A. Byrnes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I cannot really improve on what other reviewers have said. I ordered this for myself last year and enjoyed the idea of it so much that I immediately ordered one for my parents. We had huge fun, the three of us, cooking out of it over Christmas 2008. For my money it would have been worth the asking price for five or six of my favourite recipes. How could duck a l'orange ever have fallen out of favour?

Some of the recipes have long lists of ingredients in order to ensure authenticity and precise flavours, which might be an issue for some people (I am single so I would only cook many of the recipes out of this book for friends or family gatherings).

Most of the recipes, although by no means all of them, are accompanied by photographs, which I find invaluable for getting an idea of how something that I am preparing is supposed to look when it is cooked.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic! Thank you -
This book is a total joy - if you secretly love prawn cocktail, grew up understanding that a lasagne was where it was at - and have been hanging out for a really good - black... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Julia M. Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I'm a great fan of Hopkinson, I have most of his books, this is another great addition to my collection. Recipes turn out well.
Published 9 months ago by Shirley
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for the serious home cook (& the odd professional!)
Actually having written the title of this review - I wish many more 'professional' chefs had a copy of this book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jane
4.0 out of 5 stars OK
Not the best SH book I have read, tone is a little humpfy in parts. Maybe co-authoring does not suit him or perhaps I just like prawn cocktail too much...
Published 15 months ago by Arem
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are a child of the 60s this book has our food memories in one...
I have read many reviews and this one has a good selection, Thank You Alice and Toodle Pip who say pretty much all, as do the other 5 star reviewers. Read more
Published on 27 Oct 2011 by lis247
2.0 out of 5 stars Chips
It's a pity such a well touted book has errors.
As an example on page 11 the recipe for "chips" instructs one to half fill a chip pan and heat the oil to 375F/190C cook chips... Read more
Published on 7 Oct 2010 by Taprobane
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent recipes
I don't know how I managed without this. An excellent cook I met at work recommended it to me as being one of his favourites. I ordered few copies for mum and sister. Read more
Published on 20 Sep 2009 by love reading
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia
How fashionable it is now to laugh at England' first, timid attempts at opening its doors to world cuisine. Read more
Published on 12 July 2009 by U. A. Higham
4.0 out of 5 stars the prawn cocktail years
Nostalgic trip through the culinary delights of the early sixties and beyond, reminding us of times before the explosion of tastes and recipes now available to all.
Published on 23 Mar 2009 by Mr. Richard Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars The Master...
Simon at his best, going back to basics and showing us all that 80's dishes were popular for a reason. A Must have for any amateur cook!!
Published on 1 Feb 2009 by Mr. G. De Wet
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