Customer Review

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality from start to finish, both in presentation and with the recipes detailed within, 19 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Hix Oyster & Chop House (Hardcover)
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Length:: 1:23 Mins

First off, what needs to be mentioned is the sheer quality of this beautifully presented cookbook. Yes its stylish `modern' appearance and glossy full colour pages give it an instantly impressive look. But beyond that is the excellent binding and durable feel to the book. It simply breathes quality, which gives an accurate presentation of the dishes detailed within.

From the rather thorough (and dare I say self-indulgent) six page introduction, the book dives head first in with its speciality - that of Oysters. Here we see a little introduction and background on each type of oyster, then on to clear instructions of how to properly shuck an oyster, to finally two classic and contemporary `Hix' dishes containing this signature ingredient (Oyster Stew and Oyster Mary).

Oysters out of the way, the book then kicks off with ten pages offering up various delicately fine `Bar Dishes' (canapés basically). From Vegetable Crisps, to Quail's Egg Shooters, to Pork Crackling with Bramley Apple Sauce, these recipes for glorified finger-food are as intricately constructed as they are devilishly tempting. The chapter finishes with a double-page on `drinks' which is basically their recommendations on a few local drinks and cocktails.

`Starters' follow, with sixteen pages containing a total of ten recipes (most recipes are joined by a full page colour photo of the finished dish). Again, the recipes are reasonably ambitious for the average cook, leaning more towards dinner parties than for a normal fancy family meal. Here we see the delights of Shaved Asparagus and Fennel with Aged Caerphilly, Fried Duck's Egg with Spider Crab and Sea Greens, or the rather delectable Mutton Scrumpets with Wild Garlic Mayonnaise.

`Salads' are next up. Another sixteen pages dedicated to this particular dish. The first two pages deal with how to make a variety of dressings such as Pickled Walnut Dressing, Mimosa Dressing, or indeed the simplicity of Honey and Mustard Dressing.

The next sixteen pages are given over to `Soups'. Twelve different recipes in total, ranging from Summer Vegetable Broth, to Smoked Haddock and Leek Broth with Poached Quail's Eggs, to Jellied Tomato Soup with Crayfish and Wild Fennel. Once again the book quickly dives into the luxurious and extravagant rather than the more simplistically traditional.

`On Toast' is the next chapter on the agenda. Posh or not, it's a staple British tradition to eat things on toast. With eight pages dedicated to `on toast' recipes, you really can't go wrong. We've got the likes of Red Mullet On Toast with Crushed Broad Beans and Peas, Dorset Crab On Toast, and Wood Pigeon On Toast with Wild Mushrooms. This really is a far cry from good old baked beans on toast!

Now on to `Fish'. Here we see fourteen pages detailing a whole variety of fish dishes; some somewhat simplistic, whereas others are more involved and extravagant. Here we see such recipes as Scallops with Ramsons and Wild Boar Bacon, Griddled Squid with Broad Bean Relish, and Monkfish Cheek and Fennel Pie.

`Meat' follows. This chapter begins with twenty-two pages dedicated to the various different cuts of meat. Each one is given their own descriptions, dishes to use them in, with their individual pros and cons. This really is one of the highlights of the book. Not only is this helpful for the following recipes, but also for day-to-day cooking and shopping at your local butchers. Following on from the `cuts' section, are twenty-six pages of recipes involving the various meats with the different cuts. Once again, from the simple to the intricate - the recipes are as varied as the rest of the book. One element still remains constant though - that of quality throughout.

Next up is a chapter dedicated to `Sides'. Ten pages in all, giving you recipes such as Scrumpy Battered Onions, Baked Parsnips with Lancashire Cheese and Straw Potatoes (Fancy French Fries basically).

Finally the book ends with `Desserts'. Surprisingly twenty-two pages are given over to this final course, detailing sixteen different dishes, from Sloe Gin Jelly Shots, to Chocolate Mousse, to Venezuelan Black and Cider Brandy Truffles.

All in all this delightfully presented cookbook makes for an ideal gift for any culinary enthusiast, or for those who are somewhat more ambitious within the kitchen. The recipes are obviously aimed at more sophisticated dining than an average weekday family meal. But for quality dishes with that traditional British undertone, this book really does this well.

The cookbook contains full colour pages throughout its 192 high gloss pages.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Sep 2010 07:52:17 BDT
Great review. Really informative.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Sep 2010 09:00:12 BDT
Chris Hall says:
Thanks very much! Glad you found it helpful! :)

Posted on 23 Sep 2010 20:12:39 BDT
Paolo Sammut says:
This is really one of the best reviews i have seen on Amazon. Thank you

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Sep 2010 09:02:17 BDT
Chris Hall says:
Compliments indeed! Cheers M.P. Sammut. I'm glad people have found it so helpful.

Posted on 25 Dec 2011 03:06:42 GMT
Liz Thomas says:
This an excellent review, extremely well written and composed. Very helpful and has certainly convinced me to put the book on my wishlist -- purchase will have to wait, I've already overrun my Christmas quota!

Thank you for the trouble you took.

Best wishes
Liz
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Location: Cardiff, Wales

Top Reviewer Ranking: 90