Say cheese, Gromit! Books to stir every cook’s heart
- The best cookery books of the year include Rick Stein’s Secret France
- Aran by Flora Shedden, the youngest ever Bake Off sem-finalist, made the cut
- Gennaro’s Pasta Perfecto! and Georgina Hayden’s Taverna also best of the year
COOKERY BOOKS OF THE YEAR
COOKERY BOOKS OF THE YEAR RICK STEIN’S SECRET FRANCE
RICK STEIN’S SECRET FRANCE
(BBC Books £26, 320 pp)
Rick Stein’s love affair with France began when he was 16 and he is still under its spell. His new book, all about rustic French cooking, is full of old favourites like croque monsieur, steak frites and apricot tart, plus some more innovative dishes. It’s all as comforting as a bowl of onion soup on a chilly day.
by Flora Shedden
(Hardie Grant £22, 224 pp)
The youngest ever semi-finalist on the Great British Bake Off, Flora Shedden now runs Aran, a small bakery in Dunkeld in Scotland. This classy book has engaging stories about a baker’s life and her favourite recipes, many of them classics with a fresh twist.
Look out for the pea and nettle quiche (you can cheat and use spinach instead), and the decadent chocolate rye cake.
RICK STEIN’S SECRET FRANCE (BBC Books £26, 320 pp) and ARAN by Flora Shedden (Hardie Grant £22, 224 pp)
GENNARO’S PASTA PERFECTO!
by Gennaro Contaldo
(Pavilion £18.99, 176 pp)
This deserves to become a well-thumbed kitchen classic, stuffed with fillings and sauces that few of us will have tried before: bucatini with fresh sardines and wild fennel, cannelloni filled with Swiss chard and a mouth-watering dish with pasta, lentils and mushrooms.
‘There is no limit to the joys of pasta’, Gennaro declares — and after reading this, you believe him.
JAMES MARTIN’S GREAT BRITISH ADVENTURE
(Hardie Grant £25, 256 pp)
The reputation of British food has never been higher, helped in large part by all our great regional produce from meat, seafood and fish to award-winning wines and cheeses.
In this upliftingly patriotic book, James Martin showcases the very best of British produce and the recipes that make our native ingredients shine.
GENNARO’S PASTA PERFECTO! by Gennaro Contaldo (Pavilion £18.99, 176 pp) and JAMES MARTIN’S GREAT BRITISH ADVENTURE (Hardie Grant £25, 256 pp)
FROM THE OVEN TO THE TABLE
by Diana Henry
(Mitchell Beazley £25, 240 pp)
Diana Henry is one of Britain’s best cookery writers: her recipes are instantly appealing and she’s the most elegant of writers.
Her latest book is for the ‘bung-it-in-the-oven’ kind of cook with no time for complicated food preparation.
Packed with hearty, highly flavoured dishes, it’s the perfect winter cookbook for those days when you need sustenance without putting in too much effort.
by Georgina Hayden
(Square Peg £25, 304 pp)
Georgina Hayden’s parents owned a Cypriot taverna in London and she writes that ‘food is the soundtrack to my family life’.
This charming book has chapters on Breakfast, Meze, Fish, Meat, Vegetables, Side Dishes, Baking and Sweets, each recipe accompanied by a homespun anecdote. It’s as invigorating as a dip in the Med.
FROM THE OVEN TO THE TABLE by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley £25, 240 pp) and TAVERNA by Georgina Hayden (Square Peg £25, 304 pp)
by Sabrina Ghayour
(Mitchell Beazley £26, 240 pp)
Both vegetarian food and Middle Eastern cuisine are hugely on trend at the moment, and this appealing book is a clever fusion of the two.
With savoury dishes including aubergines in tomato and tamarind sauce and puddings such as beetroot halva tart, Iranian-born Sabrina Ghayour proves that vegetarian food can be exotic, colourful and full of flavour.
by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar and Naved Nasir
(Bloomsbury £26, 400 pp)
Dishoom, with branches in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, specialises in fragrant, surprisingly light dishes inspired by Mumbai’s cosmopolitan cafes.
This splendid book is both a loving tribute to the city and a sumptuous guide to Dishoom specialities including okra fries, chicken berry Britannia and the celebrated house black daal. An irresistible book for any lover of Indian food.
BAZAAR by Sabrina Ghayour (Mitchell Beazley £26, 240 pp) and DISHOOM by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar and Naved Nasir (Bloomsbury £26, 400 pp)
by Ella Risbridger
(Bloomsbury £22, 288 pp)
Ella Risbridger began cooking in earnest while in the depths of depression, and Midnight Chicken is both a chronicle of her life — ‘I stopped dieting when I went mad’, she says cheerily — and a collection of wittily idiosyncratic recipes like ‘marital harmony pasta’, and ’emergency risotto’.
Life-affirming, funny and sad, this is a splendidly written ‘list of things worth living for’.
BISH BASH BOSH!
by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby
(HarperCollins £20, 288 pp)
The Bosh boys, who call their dishes ‘plant-based’ rather than vegan, have aimed their second book squarely at the fast-food generation with lashings of wraps, tortillas, stir fries, curries and faux burgers.
Despite some unfamiliar ingredients like jackfruit, tofu and tapioca flour, the recipes are easy to follow. As the authors would say, this is a bangin’ book.
MIDNIGHT CHICKEN by Ella Risbridger (Bloomsbury £22, 288 pp) and BISH BASH BOSH! by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby (HarperCollins £20, 288 pp)
SIZZLE AND DRIZZLE
by Nancy Birtwhistle
(Daisa & Co £30, 427 pp, available from nancybirtwhistle.co.uk)
Winner of the 2014 Great British Bake Off, ace baker Nancy Birtwhistle is also something of a domestic goddess. Her down-to-earth cookbook has more than 100 recipes and clever household tips.
Ingeniously, you can scan a code with your mobile phone and up pops a video of Nancy making each dish. Worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake.
TIME TO EAT
by Nadiya Hussain
(Michael Joseph £20, 256 pp)
Everyone loves Nadiya and this family-friendly book about ‘time smart’ cooking is aimed at busy parents just like her who want to cook good, healthy food but have limited time to do it.
There’s plenty here that even the pickiest child will love, from one-tray peanut chicken to slow cooker mushroom lasagne and three-cheese crispy pancakes. Approachable and fun.
SIZZLE AND DRIZZLE by Nancy Birtwhistle (Daisa & Co £30, 427 pp, available from nancybirtwhistle.co.uk) and TIME TO EAT by Nadiya Hussain (Michael Joseph £20, 256 pp)
by Marcus Wareing
(HarperCollins £20, 288 pp)
He may be one of Britain’s best-known chefs and a revered judge on MasterChef: The Professionals, but Marcus Wareing is resolutely unpretentious.
With chapters on using leftovers, and home baking with kids, this is full of dishes that won’t break the bank, plus tips to help you cook like a professional. A delicious book.
by Meera Sodha
(Fig Tree £20, 304 pp)
With its vegan and vegetarian recipes ‘from Bangalore to Beijing’, East has been getting rave reviews from those who want meat-free meals with loads of flavour, and much of it is gluten-free as well.
Meera Sodha’s dishes, such as herbed wild rice with coconut and lime, chilli tofu, and blackened sweetcorn with miso butter, make this an inspiring collection of appealing recipes.
MARCUS EVERYDAY by Marcus Wareing (HarperCollins £20, 288 pp) and EAST by Meera Sodha (Fig Tree £20, 304 pp)
THE JOYFUL HOME COOK
by Rosie Birkett
(HarperCollins £20, 272 pp)
Writer and broadcaster Rosie Birkett loves seasonal produce and unusual ingredients.
In this exuberant book, full of tempting food combinations, she champions the forgotten skills of smoking, brining, fermenting and foraging and urges us to try unfashionable foods like buttermilk, whey, fregola and buckwheat.
Be bold, she declares, because cooking is ‘one of the most enriching and creative things we can do for ourselves’.
ONE MORE CROISSANT FOR THE ROAD
by Felicity Cloake
(Mudlark £14.99, 288 pp)
Part travel book, part food memoir, Felicity Cloake’s cycle ride through France in search of her favourite dishes — and the perfect croissant — is a joyful read.
From cassoulet, ratatouille and quiche lorraine to tarte tatin and cherry clafoutis, this is a light-hearted, Lycra-clad tour around ‘the greatest hits of French cuisine’.
THE JOYFUL HOME COOK by Rosie Birkett (HarperCollins £20, 272 pp) and ONE MORE CROISSANT FOR THE ROAD by Felicity Cloake (Mudlark £14.99, 288 pp)
PINCH OF NOM
by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone
(Bluebird £20, 272 pp)
The two authors, both professional chefs who struggle with their weight, wrote this book to showcase ‘delicious, light recipes that don’t feel like diet food’.
Their hearty dishes are cunning variations on stir fries, kebabs, pizzas, roasts and snacks, all with about half the calories you’d expect. Their huge fan club is proof this is just what many dieters have been waiting for.
by Elly Pear
(Ebury £22, 272 pp)
Green — ‘inspired by world cuisine but always with an eye on the local greengrocer’ — includes more than 100 vegan and vegetarian recipes.
Divided into Weekday, for when you’re in a hurry, and Weekend, when you have more time to cook, it’s attractive and colourfully presented, with some great flavour combinations and easily sourced ingredients. One of the best of this year’s plant-based cookbooks.
PINCH OF NOM by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone (Bluebird £20, 272 pp) and GREEN by Elly Pear (Ebury £22, 272 pp)
CHETNA’S HEALTHY INDIAN
by Chetna Makan
(Mitchell Beazley £20, 208 pp)
Chetna Makan writes that many people think Indian food is ‘greasy, oily and basically unhealthy’.
Inspired by her mother’s cooking, she sets out to disprove this, with chapters on salads, vegetables, lentils and grains, flatbreads and rice, meat and fish, chutneys and pickles, and sweets.
A warm and endearing book, full of good ideas for family meals.
VEGAN ONE POUND MEALS
by Miguel Barclay
(Headline £16.99, 208 pp)
For his fourth book of One Pound Meals, Miguel Barclay tackles this year’s biggest food trend — veganism.
Most of the recipes use store cupboard favourites like pasta, pulses and rice, with a scattering of more unusual ingredients such as polenta, udon noodles and bulgur wheat.
Sensible and straightforward, this is a great book for cash-strapped students who want to cook cheap but healthy meals.
CHETNA’S HEALTHY INDIAN by Chetna Makan (Mitchell Beazley £20, 208 pp) and
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