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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting selection of recipes
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...
Published on 31 May 2011 by Marand

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh no! I thought as I read the introduction to the 'fennel and celery' chapter. 'Another pretentious vegeterian cookbook!'
Oh no! I thought as I read the introduction to the 'fennel and celery' chapter. 'Another pretentious vegeterian cookbook!. I mean why are so many vegeterian books massively up their own holes?

When a chapter starts with 'It was with enormous pleasure that, on two occasions, I was priveleged to lunch at the table of Lulu Peyraud, at Domaine Tempier in...
Published on 8 Dec 2009 by Ms. A. L. Woodward


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid cook book, 22 Oct 2009
By 
Grr "Gumbo" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
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I'm not a veggie. Heck, I'm nearly a carnivore but as a result of my partners influence I have taken to eating a lot of vegetarian meals in recent years. It never really occured to me to pick up a cook book solely dedicated to Vegetarian food as I was quite happy with the several stock recipes we've been using and the existing books on my kitchen shelves all have a few vegetarian dishes in them as well.

That said, I am glad I picked this up. There are some delicious sounding ideas in here which has certainly got me thinking! No more will my vegetarian guests at Dinner parties be saddled with either Stuffed Squash or Ravioli!

The lay out of the book is very good, each chapter is broken down into a set main ingerdient so it's easy to find a recipe geared to what you've managed to pick up from the shops. The recipes themselves vary from the compex and fiddly to the very simple indeed so there is a good variety of options for chefs of differing levels of skill and time available. I've thus far only made two of the dishes - the Beetroot Jelly with Horseradish was to die for! - and both have turned out well. I expect that I will often refer to this book in the future for more things to try.

The photos of the food look handsome for the most part, I was a little bit perplexed that some of the more complicated meals don't have photos when some of the easiest do. The visual reference is often a help. A minor quibble though.

Overall, whilst I would not describe this as totally essential for evey kitchen - it is unquestionably a very decent cook book and is worth a punt on.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh no! I thought as I read the introduction to the 'fennel and celery' chapter. 'Another pretentious vegeterian cookbook!', 8 Dec 2009
By 
Ms. A. L. Woodward (Huddersfield, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
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Oh no! I thought as I read the introduction to the 'fennel and celery' chapter. 'Another pretentious vegeterian cookbook!. I mean why are so many vegeterian books massively up their own holes?

When a chapter starts with 'It was with enormous pleasure that, on two occasions, I was priveleged to lunch at the table of Lulu Peyraud, at Domaine Tempier in Bandol,...' my hackles rise, big time!

However, I thought, I am going to do this properly and you can't review a cookbook without trying out some of the recipes. At the risk of sounding up my own hole now I've been experimenting with fennel recently having replicated with some success a dish called Boureki that I had on holiday in Crete. So off I went to try my hand at Simon Hopkinson's Cream of Fennel with Garlic Butter recipe.

I managed to find all the ingredients at my local Sainsburys and the soup itself was very simple to make, consisting basically of two onions, a fennel (I added a courgette as my fennel was a bit under the recommended weight once I'd chopped off the dodgy bits) and a potato.

Well I have to say the soup was absolutely delicious and the added hint of zing in the garlic butter (a pinch of cayenne pepper and 3-4 drops of tabasco) was a touch of genius. I was very proud of my soup and was very pleased to inflict it on members of my family.

So overall, if you can overlook the twaddle there are some little gems in this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing take on vegetables - but not really vegetarian, 26 Oct 2009
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This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
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Written by a non-vegetarian, this book offers a refreshing take on vegetarian food. I know I'll put it good use - but overall I did have some mixed feelings about it. I'll try to unpick them in this review and explain why.

Things I like? A lot. Physically, this is an attractively produced, slender hardback book with a pale green dust jacket. The recipes are clearly written and easy to follow, and I liked the short narrative text at the beginning of each section. The book is broken down into groups of ingredients - so, for instance, the section on carrots and parsnips contains a range of recipes involving those vegetables. There are some delicious ideas in here - the carrot salad with coriander & green chilli is absolutely wonderful, and the next recipes that I'm keen to try out are the beetroot jelly with dill & horseradish cream (yum!) and the gratin of chicory with mustard sauce. There's a good balance in this book between simple dishes and recipes that involve a lot more effort and ingredients. There's a wide range of culinary influences at play here, from mainstream British to French, Indian, Asian. The ideas are exciting and full of flavour. There's a nice balance between tried and tested classics, and new and exciting ideas.

With that said, some things about this book definitely did not sit well with me.

There are good pictures throughout, but I was disappointed to find that these did not accompany every recipe (I do like being able to get a sneak preview and see what the end product is meant to look like).

As a vegetarian, I did find that the tone of this book rather off-putting. I must say I don't think it's very clever to write a vegetarian cookbook and then alienate your main audience with a recipe for chicken stock and some poorly-judged comments about vegetarianism that could be read as disparaging. I know that this is not just a cookbook for vegetarians, which is brilliant - but clearly they are your main market here! I would be quite unhappy if a relative bought this book and got the impression that 'less fussy' vegetarians would be happy to eat food made with chicken stock, or pork gelatine, or Worcestershire sauce (which contains fish).

The other thing I want to point out is that this cookbook shares a lot of the problems that I see when picking the 'vegetarian option' in a restaurant. It is not written by a vegetarian, and this really does show - the recipes are not for complete meals that include a full protein (nutritionally essential in order to maintain a healthy vegetarian diet). They are more like side dishes than main meals in this respect. And there's a heavy reliance on cream, cheese and milk - again, people who are vegetarian will know that these are not the staples of healthy everyday food at all.

In many ways this is a brilliant cookbook and I'm giving it four stars for its content, as a general cookbook. But I'm disappointed in it as a vegetarian cookbook. I'd suggest that it should have been called 'The Vegetable Option' rather than 'The Vegetarian Option'...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plenty to cook, 22 July 2013
By 
ED (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
Can't wait to start cooking. The recipes seem easy and tasty. Good for the summer days now that the sun is shining!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little uninspriring, 17 July 2013
By 
V. Chadwick "mousie" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
As much as I love "Hoppie" this book as a typical meat eaters attempt at being a vegetarian.
Some good recipes but most with very high fat levels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a look / some great ideas, 16 July 2013
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This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
Makes vegetarian cooking exciting and visual.Would recommend it.Try some new dishes that you wouldn't usually try.A good priced book, arrived in good time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good practical non-carnie guide, 14 July 2013
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This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
stuffed with recipes for simple food given an exciting twist. at last some recipes for two easily prepared and executed achieving great results. Mr Hopkinson you are an inspiration!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to be a Vegetarian to enjoy this, 17 Oct 2009
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
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Quite often I choose a Vegetarian dish in a restaurant because it looks more appetising than the normal carnivore options.

Meat and fish are becoming very expensive in the shops these days and most weeks we only use them a couple of times, so this (2009 edition reviewed) book seemed to be a good choice.

The introduction is useful, and I recommend it is read first for one to gain the full benefit from the rest of the book. The presentation is immaculate throughout, with a clear layout in sections grouping related recipes, type just big enough for relaxed reading, while still managing to keep to one or occasionally two recipes per page.

Each recipe has a clear title, a block of the larger text describing the method, a side column listing the ingredients, and a footnote with some comments, alternatives, thoughts, random extras. Pictures of appropriate size are only added when relevant, allowing the maximum room for the text. The contents table and separate index work well and are useful.

Not all of the recipes are to my taste, but there are quite a few new to me that look very appetising and I can't wait to try them. Several more are very familiar, and we found ourselves agreeing he was offering the best way to do them. For example, his way of making a clear bouillon is so simple but so tasty; essentially, one cooks it in a sealed preserving jar, and this has the advantage one can do a batch and keep some sealed jars of it for a reasonable time.

Sometimes the grammar suffers from long sentences and strange punctuation, and it makes more sense when read out aloud. But that is my only quibble on the presentation. Generally, it easy to read and anything but boring.

So why only four stars? There are some brilliant recipes here, and several are new and exciting to all four of us who cook in this house, but quite a few are distinctly unappealing. However, other more truly vegetarian gastronomes may well have different tastes from us.

On balance, this is an excellent book both on presentation and content, and well worth a careful study.

You might also want to consider The Seasoned Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer and Prue Leith's Vegetarian Cookery Book for a greater variety of more useable recipes.

Addendum. 28th November 2009.

After the first three standards I cooked before writing the review, we've now tried a different new recipe approximately every two days. All have worked as promised in the book and turned out to be delicious, and each was easy. However we've not plucked up enough courage to try any of the unappealing ones! So my opinion of the book is unchanged - definitely worth a try.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Vegetarian delights, 21 Oct 2009
By 
J. Aitken (Glasgow Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
Simon Hopkinson's latest oeuvre, The Vegetarian Option, seems to me a cookbook about interesting ways to cook vegetables not necessarily meant for the vegetarian market. I found that many of the recipes were delicious alternatives which would appeal to those of us who still like to eat meat and fish and welcome a change now and then. In this I think Hopkinson is not out there waving a strictly vegetarian flag but rather suggesting that there are all kinds of good things to eat and vegetables can be most satisfying on there own. The book is finely illustrated and the recipes are easy to follow and, perhaps most importantly for the ordinary cook, have simple seasonal ingredients which are easily found in the shops.

In short I found much to enjoy in this book and will return to it again and again for meals in the future. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A vegetarian cookbook from a master, 6 Nov 2014
This review is from: The Vegetarian Option (Hardcover)
Simon Hopkinson is probably one of the best cookery writers of our time not only for the professional cook but also for the likes of a novice like many of us. His tips on how to perform various tasks are straight forward and in many cases like bolts of lightning so simple and logical that you wonder why no one else has mentioned them or thought them up.

This book on vegetarian cooking does not fail in providing many wonderful, deliciously simple recipes for both vegetarians and non vegetarians alike. It has been a long time for there to be great cookery writers who deal with vegetables so wonderfully and now there are two Simon Hopkinson and Yotam Ottolenghi. The only truly amazing fact is that neither of them are vegetarians! I only hope that Simon follows in Yotam's footsteps and brings out a second vegetarian cookbook.
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The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson (Hardcover - 2 Aug 2012)
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