Cooked Books #9 Roast Chicken and Other Stories, Second Helpings by Simon Hopkinson

Roast Chicken and Other StoriesThis isn’t by any means a new book. In fact I’ve just checked and it was first published in 2001, which is now 15 years ago.  This book is a follow on from the original and highly acclaimed ‘Roast Chicken and Other Stories’, Each chapter  of this book is based around a key ingredient., which is a style of cookery books I quite like (Nigel Slater does this particularly well).  The chapters range from Almonds to cocoa, from  Lobster to Pancakes, from Tarragon to Tongue and everything in-between.  These aren’t necessarily all quick recipes to prepare which is perhaps why, until the last month or so at least, I hadn’t delved into it as much as I might.  The recipes are however, mostly entirely satisfying.  The chicken pie for example is quite involved and takes  time and love to make it.  It is however, a delicious pie and a pie which you realise is absolutely worth the investment when you sink your teeth into the short, short crust pastry and the luxurious, rich chicken sauce.  Although not featured here I have made this on a few occasions when I’ve got time to spare.

For the sake of this review I cooked my way through red kidney beans baked with chorizo, garlic and olive oil; Mrs Pringle’s kofta curry; smoked haddock chowder and pear and ginger sponge.  And very enjoyable it was too.

  1. Red Kidney Beans baked with Chorizo, Chilli, Garlic and Olive oil. 

This recipe is made with dried kidney beans, something I have never bothered with before.  I cook chilli regularly but always use tinned kidney beans. All the soaking, and washing and cooking that dried beans demand always seems like a bit of a faff.  I have to say though, I was seduced by the packet dried kidney beans I bought for this recipe.  They are rather beautiful.  Glossy, deep red nuggets.

This is a bold Spanish dish, warming and hearty, but not necessarily typical spring food.  However I cooked this after a particularly blustery, rainy cycle ride home, and the rich stew served with a glass of red wine and a crisp green salad went down very well indeed, whilst the addition of mint added a little  hint of summer.  I did have to be a bit organised with the bean soaking ; and the dish itself although very easy to make, required an hour to cook.  So although at first glance it looks fairly instant, it does take a little forward planning.

2.  Mrs Pringle’s Kofta Curry

Like most house holds, (of the meat eating variety), we love a meatball and we love a curry so the combination of the two makes for a very pleasing supper indeed.  The little meat balls are made from lamb mince and are a lovely combination of warming spices; cumin, turmeric, chilli, garam masala, and coriander.  These are all spices I keep in my store cupboard which means this very easy to make without thinking too hard about what I might need.  The sauce is made with tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, fresh mint, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.  It is mild but full of mellow flavour.  This was a particularly good Friday night dinner and a good culinary start to the weekend.

3. Smoked Haddock Chowder

Smoked Haddock is a food I associate with my child hood.  ‘Yellow fish’ as we called it bought from the fish stall at the local market and then poached in milk was a regular accompaniment to Basil Brush on a Saturday night.  Chowder I associate with San Francisco, which is the only place I have eaten it, served in a sour dough bread bowl as I remember.  This is soothing, to make and also to eat.  Salty bacon, soft fleshy fish, chunks of firm potatoes and a milky, creamy sauce make for ultimate comfort food.  To spice it up a little a few drops of tabasco go a long way and prevent it from becoming too much like a nursery supper

4.  Pear and Ginger Sponge

This was probably the favourite recipe I made from this book.  I love the combination of pears and ginger, and I would probably name ginger as one of my favourite flavours.  I made this  as pudding for a Sunday lunch  with friends.  It went down very well.  It’s really just a sponge version of tarte tatin and very easy to make.  The sponge was light but firm enough to hold its own with all the juice and syrupy goodness from the pears and ginger.  This is one I shall certainly make again.  Served with cold single cream or a tangy crème fraîche = perfect.

Pear and Ginger Sponge

This book shall spend a little less time on my shelf and a little more time getting splattered with ingredients as I cook more regularly from it.

Images, Changing Pages


    • May 20, 2016 / 6:43 am

      Thanks Karen. Its a good way of making me use books which have sat on my shelf for a while unloved!

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