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on 22 June 2011
.. to review this book.

OK - the basic facts first. It is a beautifully produced, solid, heavy book that feels good in the hand. 300plus pages, lots of illustrations, easy to use. Maybe too many illustrations and header pages and chapter breaks for my taste - a lot of space that could have been used for Hopkinson's writing is devoted to "design and presentation" - but that's a very personal view.

The organisation is very much Hopkinson's and - given that it is produced to accompany a television series - structured - I guess - around that. It doesn't fit together entirely naturally when simply approached as a book.

But this are all trivial quibbles. The recipes appear excellent, interesting, slightly different and well explained. He writes so well as anyone who had used one of his books before will know - the personal comments add to the simple recitation of recipes - and there are lots of useful hints and advice on technique etc along the way. There are recipes here that I have seen elsewhere but he has an individual take on them - and takes plenty of time to explain the processes - that makes them unique. The vegetable, the lamb, and the fish dishes are all outstanding - to read about anyway!

Will I be cooking from it? - yes - tomorrow with the aubergine dishes with which he begins the books. I have all his books - this may not be the best but it is up there with them. Certainly worth purchasing - particularly at Amazon's current price. Not that it seems to need a positive review - judging by the sales ranking at the time of writing Amazon must be selling a copy every five minutes. Good!!! A lot of happy cooks I think.

Part 2. I have now cooked a couple of recipes from the book. Piedmontese peppers and an aubergine dish. I had a little difficulty with interpreting the instructions (or maybe I am simply not as skilled and experienced as the author!) The problem was more about the technique than anything else - when I cut my peppers I couldn't get them the way he described them.

My wife says - forget it, they are absolutely delicious. And they were. But I think this may be an occasion to not just get the book but also to watch the TV series - there are techniques that I don't know and watching the expert would be really helpful. But early days. And I did love dinner!
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on 6 August 2011
I am rarely prompted to write a review of any book I've read, whether it's fiction or non-fiction, but I really love this book. I have a lot of cookery books and many of them lie dormant on the shelves, some have one or two favourite recipes which I come back to again and again and just one or two are spattered with love and constant use. Simon Hopkinson's The Good Cook, whilst still fairly pristine, is one of the latter. I have already made several of the recipes: Piedmontese Peppers; beurre blanc; the parpadelle with porcini; panzanella; rhubarb crumble with Jersey cream and tandoori chicken. (In fact three of these have been made twice now!) Without exception they have been absolutely delicious and I am keen to try many of the other recipes in the book. The rice pudding looks fantastic...and how wonderful to see it pure and unadulterated just as my grandmother made it with its nutmeg skin! In the TV programme Simon comes across as someone whose enthusiasm for eating and cooking is feel as if you could have him round for a cup of tea while you make something tasty together. (Although I am not quite such a perfectionist, I suspect!) Buy this book if you love cooking for won't regret it...and neither will they!
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on 3 August 2011
I couldn't think of a more apt title for a book by Simon Hopkinson. He is a joy to read. I can't think of another food writer who manages to convey so vividly his love of food and cooking. However, although it's a beautiful book and the recipes are all inspiring and wonderful, it is not a working book. It would be difficult to take it into the kitchen if you needed to follow a particular recipe. That, however, is down to the publisher. With the tv programme this book will get a lot of publicity. For those unfamiliar with his work this will be a good introduction. A lovely book by an under-rated chef and writer.
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on 12 December 2011
Simon Hopkinson loves food and he knows how to cook it. "The Good Cook" is the result of over 40 years' experience and is based on Simon's belief that a good cook loves eating as much as cooking.
Some of the greatest modern British Chefs and a couple of my Friends have worked under the guidance of Simon.
Great chefs like Bruce Poole, Phil Howard & Tom Reins to name just a few.
Simon has great understanding of how the ingredients you choose and the way you cook them will turn a good recipe into a great dish. That a cheap cut of meat cooked with care can taste as nice as a choice cut prepared by indifferent hands. Structured around Simon's passion for good ingredients (Anchovy and Aubergine, Cheese and Wine, Smoked and Salted Fish, Ham, Bacon and A Little Pig) and written with Simon's trademark perfectionism and precision, this is a book that you will cherish for life
Happy reading
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on 17 July 2011
This is a fantastic book.
I have been watching the tv series and am completely won over.I will soon be purchasing 3 more copies for each of my children.
When will the dvd be in store ???
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on 15 August 2011
What a fantastic cookery book! Beautifully presented and easy to use, i.e. pages lie flat when in use. All the recipes are 'do-able'. My husband has suggested I start at page 1 and just continue.
Can't wait for the DVD to come out.
Simon Hopkinson is the Chef's cook and has been a well kept secret for many years.
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on 26 August 2011
I bought this book after watching a couple of episodes of the TV series on BBC. I find this a very refreshing book. I'm a big fan of Gordon Ramsey and Jamie Oliver etc, but in a market flooded with books from the likes of these guys it's great to see a new face - well new to me anyway, I believe the author has been a successful food writer for many years. What Simon Hopkinson does best I think is to show that you don't need a huge long list of fancy ingredients to create a fabulous dish. Simple (most of the time but not always) and straightforward is the order of the day here. Good food made with great ingredients.

OK, some of the recipes certainly are not of the everyday cooking variety, but I've now tried a few recipes from the book. Some of the descriptions of what to do in a recipe step can be a little loose and you do have to just go with it and interpret as best you can. It's not a book I'd recommend to a beginner.

BUT there are a couple of recipes in this book that make me so glad I bought it and it's worth buying the book for the Baked pappardelle with pancetta and porcini dish alone. Absolute heaven on a plate! I'm not joking, and the Parmesan Biscuits.... can't stop making those.

All in all, great and I hope we'll see some more from the author in future.
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on 16 July 2011
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on 10 March 2012
This book has quickly become one of my favourites. Quite simply, this is because it contains recipes which I actually want to cook and which I find inspiring.
I love the chapter headings; Big Cow, Little Cow, Potato and Pulse. This is uncomplicated food, uncomplicated presentation; letting ingredients speak for themselves. Gossip around a kitchen table and Homemade Tandoori Chicken. Mussels with Gewurztraminer and Cream, perfect for a weekday supper as it takes lass than fifteen minutes from start to finish. And a big thank you to Simon for telling me about Italian cotechino sausage, the best instant meal ever.
There are some recipes I will never make, such as Beef Tripe with Spring Onions and even my local Waitrose does not often have teal but these are small quibbles. However, the Smoked Haddock pilaf with Ginger and Coriander is now a family staple and Irish Creamed Shrimps on Toast my private heaven!
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on 15 January 2014
Beautiful cookbook, which sizzles with great easy to do recipes...

I came across Simon on the TV programme...His relaxed style and passion for cooking, eating and passing on chef tips are fabulous...

I've made several of the recipes which have all turned out beautifully (sticky toffee pudding, Piedmontese Peppers, smoked haddock pilaf)...
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