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4.7 out of 5 stars23
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 7 September 2006
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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on 20 January 2014
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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on 28 February 2007
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 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 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.:

'Black Forest Gâteau
Along with rather sad oranges in caramel, wilting profiteroles, gaudy sherry trifle and too-much-apple-in-it fruit salad, 'B.F.G.' remains the bully of the sweet trolley.
It's always there isn't it, in the most prominent position, shoved in your face almost.
And will Madam be having cream with that?
Yes, of course she will, we all do, poured from that silver-plated jug and drowning the already creamy black wedge into submission............'

Recipes are well laid out with a clear list of ingredients and method, and include:

* Steak Garni and Chips
* Scampi with Tartare Sauce
* Chicken Maryland
* Tournedos Rossini
* Peach Melba
* Toad-in-the-hole
* Spotted Dick and Custard
* Jam Roly-Poly
* Chicken Kiev
* Rhum Baba
* Cornish Pasty
* Treacle Tart
* Steak au Poivre
* Lobster Bisque
* Quiche Lorraine
* Beef Stroganoff
* Duck a l'Orange
* Sirloin steak with Red Wine Sauce
* Syllabub

Sumptuous full colour photography throughout, sometimes double page spreads - not of every recipe but one can forgive that for a book of this calibre .....and the book stays open at the required place which isn't achieved by all publications!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 February 2009
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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on 22 January 2013
Actually having written the title of this review - I wish many more 'professional' chefs had a copy of this book.
This really is the best book for staple recipes, which anyone who wants to produce top notch food needs to own. Rarely do I get a recipe book (& believe me I get a lot) where I have found each & every recipe to be excellent. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 29 January 2014
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 forest gateau! Then buy this and enjoy. As it says, these recipies can't have been so unbiquitous for no good reason - they are fantastic and delicious - perfectly balanced and very enjoyable
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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. We all love it.
The recipes I have tried are delicious. The chilli cone carne is the best I have ever tasted, although I still make it with mince. The beef stroganoff is easy and absolutely gorgeous. I have tried many of the recipes and I love them all.
If this food is old-fashioned and outdated, I don't care as, in my opinion, it is much more enjoyable to cook and eat than the 'new' cuisine with ingredients that are almost impossible to buy!
If you like good tasty food, buy this. The recipes are fool-proof and everyone I have tried has worked wonderfully.
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on 27 October 2011
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. Why add to good reviews, well why not, I bought this as I loved reading The Evening Standard and Lyndsay was the Cookery Writer then, her recipes worked and I have the yellow cuttings safely scanned these days... Oops sorry ... this book was published and I got my copy straightaway and read it on the train home that night and no it was not a late train and I didnt need a Big Mac but I laughed at the comment in review above, thank you.... my poor family suffered the Do you remember your First BFG? and you can guess the rest, it was a dinner party discussion point of months the "Do you remember your first Prawn Cocktail, Steak Garneeee (sic) and BFG ?" I loved the memories it evoked for me of meals out as a child with my Parents at a local Taverna in Newbury I was no more than 8 and its those memories of having Canelloni and Lasagne and Crepes Suzettes, and at home I remember Consomme (which was not quite me at 8) and Sole Veronique, Tomato Salad and Vinagrette Veg with dreaded chopped egg and ruddy parsley and gorgeous Oranges in Caramel; these are all here along with a favourite of today Saltimbocca pork is gorgeous escalloped if you prefer not to use or simply dont like (Rose)Veal its a book of memories, beautifully written, today it would lack photos for some, but I have those photos in other books and magazines from the time so I enjoy the read....I am going to get a bottom drawer copy for my God Daughter, she loves reading and cooking and Calamari Fritti, and Gammon and Pineapple probably my fault. I have added a link to The Taste of Mey a recently published book that is another book of the same genre again beautifully produced and there is a review on that too on Amazon, take a look at that if you love this book. That has the infamous Oeufs Drumkilbo or Eggs Drumkilbo in it, The correct recipe too with only 4 diced hard boiled egg, see earlier noteon diced eggs but it works....God Daughter gets that book too, she likes Eggs Drumkilbo even with gelee on top,my fault again. I am going to do the Pork Pie Recipe from TPCY, it contains the Jelly bit which Delia's doesnt, I bet it works. A Taste of Mey: Recipes and Memories Inspired by the Castle of Mey
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on 12 July 2009
How fashionable it is now to laugh at England' first, timid attempts at opening its doors to world cuisine. Many of the recipes here are delicious, even if dated, and are bound to make a comeback. This is a charming book, easy to read and follow, and a great excuse to have prawn cocktail, steak diane and a wonderful black forest gateau!
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on 29 April 2016
I have wanted this book for sometime and am delighted to have it. All the recipes I remember as a young cook are there and with the current trend for retro dishes it is really good to have them in my hand again
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