Roast Chicken and Other Stories - Simon Hopkinson

I received a copy of this rather popular cookery book at Christmas... and it's surprisingly odd. It's a recipe book, but it's centered around 40 ingredients, with a little blurb and set of recipes on each. Occasionally he puts in paragraphs praising favourite chefs. It comes across as a strange approach. Moreover, the author provides a Nigel Slater-esque introduction about the pleasures of simple, honest food (such as the roast chicken of the title), before presenting some of the most complex recipes I've ever seen. Ok, my experience of complex recipes is limited, but still....

Then there's offal. How he loves his offal. How he loves to wave his love of offal at the squeamish of us. From brains to tripe, it's there. Thumbs up to goose liver pate, too, as tastiness beats cruelty. Perhaps I'm being a bit unfair, but it seems a little relentless in places.

So, is it any good? It's received a number of awards, and I do think it deserves the recognition it's got. It's original, and makes you think about the ingredients. There are some great-looking recipes in there. So far, the chocolate tart I've made is... yum.

Posted 2006-01-09.