The Truffler: Simon Hopkinson, Jason Lowe, organic food, Yo! Sushi sandwich

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Imagine The Independent's award-winning cookery writer Simon Hopkinson cooking for you from his new recipe book Roast Chicken and Other Stories; Second Helpings. We can suggest the next best thing: lunching on dishes from his collection at London's glorious Bibendum restaurant, and a signed copy of the book, both for less than you'd normally pay. Simon Hopkinson is founding chef, co-owner and closely involved director of Bibendum, and from Monday 19 November for two weeks – until Sunday 2 December – the restaurant's lunch menu will be £20 rather than the usual £28. Every day, there will be the chance to try a selection of irresistible, timeless dishes such as cos lettuce hearts, cold curried prawns and eggs, or beetroot, egg and herring salad; buttery risotto with vermouth, herbs and spring onions; pumpkin gnocchi with butter and sage; braised pork belly with fennel, and almond and blueberry sponge. As well as all these (not at once, alas), diners will be able to buy signed copies of Roast Chicken (published by Macmillan) for £15. The published price is £20. Book this special Simon Hopkinson lunch at Bibendum, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3 (020-7581 5817).

* Jason Lowe, whose pictures make Simon Hopkinson's recipes in The Independent Magazine even more alluring and have also proved irresistible to those awarding prizes for food photography, has an exhibition in London. Lowe doesn't just photograph food, he's a familiar figure at the farmers' market in Islington of a Sunday. Although the exhibition is called "Landscapes", it includes shots of spaghetti (on the ground with chopsticks – a take-away that went tragically wrong?), a blender, and someone eating a fried egg. See, sniff, salivate, admire, enjoy, buy them even at Fior Photo, 53 Exmouth Market, London EC1 (020 7278 8202). The gallery is open from Wednesday to Saturday from 11am to 5.30pm; the exhibition lasts until December at least. While you're there, Exmouth Market has other more edible attractions. The acclaimed restaurant Moro is over the road and next to it at number 32 is the new Spanish food shop Brindisa (020-7713 1666), which is exquisitely furnished with cheeses, oils, hams, yoghurts, turron and sauces. Brindisa is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 6pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to 5pm. One further incentive to head for Exmouth Market: stalls of French produce will be setting up there on Thursday, 22 November for a three-day French market.

* Organic food is inevitably more expensive than non-organic. It usually costs more to produce food less intensively, demand outstrips supply and much of it is imported. But if we think we have to pay a premium to eat organic, we should count ourselves lucky compared to the French. My dear, the prices on the Côte d'Azur. A 1 kilo punnet of organic potatoes – that's about eight medium-sized spuds – was 19.95FF – a couple of quid. This was exactly the same price as 10 kilos of ordinary potatoes. Hope you appreciate this important research by moi into the price of organic produce in Europe.

There's some disagreement in the Truffler household as to whether Sainsbury's Yo! Sushi sandwich is Yuk! or Yum! I tend towards the former, but can't deny it's a pretty radical departure on the lunch front. Picture a triangular slab of compacted rice with seaweed around the two non-hypotenuse sides, and filled with either egg mayonnaise, tuna and sweetcorn, and smoked salmon and low-fat soft cheese, or a more authentic (and, at £2.95, 35p more expensive) version where the rice is filled with egg and eel, teriyaki chicken and spinach, and salmon with red pickle. You! decide whether it's appetising or not.

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