It’s that time of the year again, my desk is piled high with new cookbooks, pre-Christmas publications, all shiny and glossy and very tempting.
First out of the traps in early September was Jamie Oliver’s Veg. I’m a big fan of Jamie’s and felt a deep sympathy as he faced a whole slew of challenges earlier in the year. He has bounced back in a variety of ways – look out for his YouTube cooking slots and this new book is another must have.
Another of my food heroes, is the indomitable Fergus Henderson. The Book of St John written with his long time business partner Trevor Gulliver celebrates 25 years of the iconic ‘meaty‘ restaurant that pioneered ‘nose to tail’ eating and happily coincides with the Year of the Pig. Pitty, witty, and structured to mirror the practises and rhythms of St John Kitchen, from butchery to stocks, braise and brine, but St John’s on St John’s Street in London is not just about meat, there’s also an extensive repertoire of fruit and vegetable recipes, all new and a whole chapter on puddings. Lick your lips – steamed syrup pudding, sherry trifle and lots of treats for the eleven o clock biscuit tin, as well as a seed cake and a glass of madeira (Fergus’s favourite tipple), and finally a whole chapter dedicated to feasting… An irresistible publication with gold-edged pages – a very special present.
In the midst of the pile, are two shiny hardbacks written by two Ballymaloe Cookery School Alumni. James Ramsden, food writer, podcaster, chef, owner of three restaurants including Michelin-starred Pidgin in Hackney. James’ 4th book, Let's Do Dinner is jam packed with tasty tried and tested recipes.
Nothing chefy here, just lots of yummy dishes to enjoy that can be prepared ahead for family and friends, so you don’t find yourself racing against the clock at the last moment – lots of really tempting super cool recipes to enjoy with pals around the kitchen table.
The second book, a first for Rachel Goenka from India who did the 12 Week Certificate Course at Ballymaloe Cookery School in 2011, before returning to her native Mumbai where she opened her restaurant The Sassy Spoon. This debut book, Adventures with Mithai, is already a best seller in India and reflects her love of baking. Here again, there are many stunning photos of creations you’ll really want to bake.
A cookbook makes a brilliant present that keeps on giving – so lots to choose from.