TV cook (he’s not a chef he points out) Simon Hopkinson first came to fame through his BBC One show The Good Cook in 2011. Throughout his career Hopkinson has been a well-respected food critic and writer having released a series of critically-acclaimed books including the best-seller Roast Chicken and Other Stories. His latest series Simon Hopkinson Cooks aired on More4 throughout the summer and now Hopkinson has released a book containing all of the recipes for the show.
Simon Hopkinson Books is an impressively classy affair split into 12 chapters. Each chapter contains a set of recipes focused around specific meals or occasions giving you plenty of food for thought (pun intended). At the start of each chapter there’s a page detailing the full menu covered within it along with an introduction from Hopkinson about the menu. We like the way the book’s structured offering you full meal plans rather than individual or themed recipes like may cook books.
On first glance many of the recipes may seem familiar but once you dig into the ingredients you’ll notice that Hopkinson puts his own spin on them. Offering suggestions for drinks and side dishes as well as mains and desserts, the menus are bulging with ideas. Most occasions you’ll need to cater for are covered here from the Sunday Roast through to Easter Day there is lots of choice. Of course you don’t need to stick to the occasions the menus are designed for but they do utilise ingredients of the seasons.
It’s the attention to detail that we particularly liked about this book. Rather than just simply telling you to serve a dish with a choice of vegetables, Hopkinson actually gives you handy recipes to enhance your everyday veg options too. We really liked the twist of stewing carrots and peas in mint and butter when serving with a chicken pie and Hopkinson’s recipe for buttered parsley pilaf is the perfect accompaniment to any fish related dish.
Whilst seasonally it may not be appropriate at the moment we especially liked the Summer Lunch menu which offers a perfect mix of flavours. Hopkinson offers up a suggestions of vegetable, meat and fish dishes truly offering something for everyone. Our favourite parts of the menu are the tasty, but rather naughty, Pork Rillettes and the unexpectedly delicious tasting Basil Ice Cream that rounds the menu off. It’s just one of many examples where Hopkinson complements a variety of flavours in his menu.
What is so lovely about this book is how it looks. The design is gorgeously simple but it looks rather fancy and decadent. The photography is simple and stylish whilst the recipes are beautifully laid out on the page. The whole book just feels really classy and combined with the fantastic recipes it’s definitely a more sophisticated affair than many cook books.
Simon Hopkinson Cooks is a book suited to the more discerning cook offering a selection of sophisticated recipes that are sure to impress your dinner guests. The level of difficulty of course varies but what this book really shows you is how to impress with your presentation and combining food ingredients in an unusual way. Simon Hopkinson Cooks is definitely the perfect gift for any mum who loves to cook or any friend who enjoys throwing a decadent dinner party.