Top positive review
248 people found this helpful
Where to begin..
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!