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The Vegetarian Option Hardcover – Illustrated, 2 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849491836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849491839
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 2.5 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Bury, Lancashire, Simon Hopkinson left school at 17 to begin a career as a chef. He opened his first restaurant, the Shed, near Fishguard, just before his 21st birthday. In 1983 he launched himself on the London restaurant scene, becoming chef at Hilaire in the Old Brompton Road. He swiftly found himself one of the most acclaimed young chefs in the business and his friendship with Terence Conran led to the opening of Bibendum in the restored Michelin building in 1987. He retired as a full-time chef in 1995 to concentrate more on writing. As well as Roast Chicken and Other Stories and Second Helpings of Roast Chicken his books include Gammon & Spinach, The Prawn Cocktail Years (written jointly with Lindsey Bareham), Week In, Week Out, The Vegetarian Option and The Good Cook. His critically acclaimed cookery writing has won him the André Simon award, and the Glenfiddich Award three times.

Product Description

Review

"His last cookery book knocked Harry Potter off the top spot...now Simon Hopkinson has turned his attention from roast chicken to vegetables..... Absorbed, comforted, excited... Hopkinson delivers in his clear, unshowy, kindly prose." - The Times Magazine, 3rd October 2009 -- The Times Magazine, 3rd October 2009

"Packed with recipes for innovative vegetarian fare." - House & Garden October 2009
-- House & Garden October 2009

"A brilliant notion. It's vegetarian cooking but not in vegetarian spirit... these recipes work admirably without meat."
--Metro (London), 26th November 2009

Simple, Practical and Seasonal --the Guardian, 29/03/10

Full of practical recipes and mouthwatering dishes, this cookery book will become your life saver
--Prima, 1st June 2010 --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Simon Hopkinson's first book Roast Chicken and Other Stories has been voted the Most Useful Cookery Book of All Time in a survey of food writers, chefs and restaurateurs in Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine. In 1978 he became the youngest chef to win an Egon Ronay star before moving to Hilaire on Old Brompton Road in London in 1983. His friendship with one particular customer, Terence Conran, finally led to the opening of Bibendum in 1987 where he worked as a chef until 1995 when he retired to concentrate on writing. His other bestselling books include Roast Chicken Second Helpings, Gammon and Spinach, The Conran Cookbook, The Prawn Cocktail Years and, most recently, The Good Cook.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Marand TOP 100 REVIEWER on 31 May 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was initially put off this book owing to the number of low star reviews but then I came across a copy in Waitrose and after spending a few minutes leafing through it resolved to buy it.

It is worth noting that the fly leaf states that the book was not written exclusively for vegetarians. I therefore don't really understand some of the criticisms leveled at this book, particularly with regard to the inclusion of a recipe for chicken stock, and the use of ingredients such as Worcestershire sauce (in any event there is a Vegetarian Society approved version). A vegetable stock recipe is also provided and the recipes themselves merely say 'stock' leaving it up to the cook to decide which is used. Similarly, many of the cheeses in recipes are not vegetarian friendly but we have the option to use veggie alternatives (he acknowledges this in the introduction and even mentions the name of a vegetarian substitute for Parmesan). Given that the intended audience isn't exclusively vegetarian I don't have a problem with any of this, even as a strict vegetarian of more than thirty five years standing.

I am also somewhat bemused by criticism that the recipes wouldn't provide enough protein if you cooked exclusively from this book. Really, how likely is it that someone would cook from just one cookbook and eat nothing else? In my view there is more than enough cheese, eggs, cream and so forth - if anything I would worry about the amount of saturated fats in the recipes rather than be concerned about inadequate nutrition or protein!

When flicking through the book before I bought it I was attracted to some of the more visually striking dishes, for example spinach mousse with Parmesan cream or beetroot jelly with dill & horseradish cream, which would be good dinner party fare.
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84 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Morena VINE VOICE on 23 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While waiting to receive this, I had a look at the reviews here for the author's previous book. Uh-oh. While generally positive, there was a lot of talk of obscure, expensive ingredients, and an inflexible approach. I hoped that The Vegetarian Option would not be like that.

Luckily, so far I have found it very usable! The recipes I have tried have, without exception, come out just as they ought to, and you can buy almost everything you really need at Tesco. It's not like the Nigella books where I find that recipes are often structured around one hard-to-find ingredient. My favourite success was the pilaf rice, made by a method so surprisingly simple and fairly fast that I wondered whther it would really work. It made me proud - fluffy and dry and fragrant! As a chef, he seems to be keen on simple but innovative methods - hence the inclusion of gnocchi alla Romana, a milk and semolina gnocchi bake recipe, different to the kind we usually see in recipe books (though a legit gnocchi recipe all the same).

I am also pleased to see that Simon Hopkinson includes recipes to make up your own store-cupboard base ingredients or condiments, such as green paste, garlic butter, ginger syrup, sesame paste, a garlic creme fraiche puree, a masala paste and a curry "essence"... Very handy - you can make up large quantities and keep them for another time. Many of them are used in more than one recipe in the book. Don't be put off by the idea of making everything from scratch, though - I left out the green paste for the pilaf rice and added cardamom instead; it was still delicious, just different.

In terms of influences, the recipes range from traditional English, French, Greek, Italian, Indian, Chinese, and many more, as well as comfort food like macaroni and cheese.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Graham Bentley on 9 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought this after seeing Simon's recent TV programme. I really loved his attention to detail in the programme and was impressed he had a book dedicated to vegetarian recipes. Being a vegetarian, despite how amazing a 'normal' recipe book looks, it is not worth buying for only a handful of recipes that are vegetarian, so it is nice to find a book where all the recipes, apart from one (!?!?!? for chicked stock) is veggie friendly. And I would recommend to a non-vegetarian too. A lot of these recipes are side dishes that would compliment many a meaty feast, but all are fantastic on their own, or as part of a ensemble.
The recipes are mostly French influenced, with some Asian touches and dishes here and there.
We have made around a dozen dishes from the book so far and all have been great. The book is a good size and the recipes are very well written and easy to follow, nicely laid out in complimentary pairs of ingredients. Some are really charming in their simplicity, some need a bit of patience and attention, but all have been worth it.
Looking forward to cooking many more recipes out of this book - several have been ear-marked already.
Recommended purchase for any food lover, and a big thanks to Simon Hopkinson for a great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
We should all, for various reasons, be eating far, far less meat than we do. For me, as for many people, the stumbling block to achieving this has always been finding a good range of decent recipes. Simon Hopkinson here presents the latest attempt to create vegetarian meals for non-vegetarians. (Looking at what many other reviewers have written, they seem to have missed the point altogether - it's made clear in the book that it is not intended as a book for vegetarians, rather it's trying to offer some vegetarian options which might tempt meat-eaters.)

This book considers a range of different types of dishes, categorised by ingredient: vegetables, herbs, pasta, pulses & grains, rice, eggs and fruit. There are some real basics - I'm not sure that we really need to have recipes for cauliflower cheese and macaroni cheese - apart from being a bit bland these kind of dishes are somewhat passé.

There are plenty of more sophisticated and contemporary offerings though. There are some snacks or party food items, such as purple sprouting broccoli with sauce courchamps and cheese fried parsnip strips with romesco sauce. There are some dishes good for everyday meals such as soupe au pistou or puy lentil salad with piquant vegetable vinaigrette. And then there are some restaurant style items which could be presented as part of a sophisticated dinner party menu, for example tomato jelly with goat's cheese and basil, spinach mousse with Parmesan cream, and beetroot jelly with horseradish and dill cream.

Not an outstanding book overall, but it's a step in the right direction for encouraging us to create more meatless meals. I'll certainly be trying out a few of the recipes in here.
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