Friday 28 November 2014

Cook book Christmas gift guide

After last week's cookery book clearout it's time to think about filling those spaces on the shelves. This year the shops are full of offerings from some familiar names plus some standout debut collections of recipes. I've been scouring the shops to find out what is out there and here's my Christmas cook book shopping list.

Paul Hollywood aka The Silver Fox or The Silverback Gorilla shows it's not all about bread and dough in his latest book all about British Baking. The styling is very similar to his last two books with lots of blue and treated wood backgrounds. This is culinary baking tour of Britain with familiar Cornish Pasties to the more obscure Sussex Churdles.

As you can see on the cover these are all new recipes. Too many of Mary's 'recent' publications have simply been some of her old, classic books given a new cover and a different name. Whether you are a novice or an experienced home cook there is something new for everyone to learn. Mary guides you through each recipe and there's a choice of dishes for every course of a meal. These are recipes for everyday with easy to get hold of ingredients.

The latest in the Great British Bake Off tie-in titles. Many of the recipes are by the much unheralded Linda Collister. Expect a vast selection of recipes following the themes featured in the series plus some of those bakes which got our mouths watering. Remember Norman's Farthing Biscuits or Martha's Dark Chocolate and Almond Liqueur Savarin? You'll find them in here.

Yes – it's Ruby smiling because she is doing what she loves most by rolling up her sleeves getting into a bit of baking. As a student she never had all the fancy equipment the other contestants had access to and shows you how to bake with the basics. From a breakfast of Pain au Chocolat to a midnight feast of Dill and Mustard Choux Bites Ruby will take you through the entire day. If you like a bit of a ramble to go with your recipe this is the book for you.

For many people Rachel Allen's Cake is the definitive baking book. Since then some of her books have rather lazily contained duplicate recipes from previous books but now she's back with a whole tome of brand new recipes. Written in her trademark easy to follow style this covers cakes and pastries to puddings and sweets. Her recipe for Coconut and Lime Ice Cream will have you yearning for warmer days.

If you struggle for inspiration as to what to cook for your fussy brood each night then check out Nadia's latest collection of family friendly recipes. Save on the washing up with her one-pot meals or get organised and make ahead to put in the freezer. There are meals in this book you will be making again and again.

If you loved spending your Friday evening in front of the TV in the company of Mr Kerridge you won't be disappointed by this tie-in book. There's some fancy twists on some old classics such as Monkfish Scampi and Chicken, Bacon and Pistachio Pie all accompanied by a dazzling array of photographs.

Love watching cookery programmes but the only thing you can cook is a ready meal? It's time for Lorraine to teach you. Whether you are hosting a cocktail party, making a midweek meal or a full-blown dinner party let Lorraine guide you through it.

He's been around the world and back again in search of exotic cuisines but Rick Stein's first love has always been fish. I will warn you this is an 'updated' version of some of his classic books including Seafood but with a few new recipes thrown in. So if you have those books already shake a fist at it and move along. If not it will have you heading for the coast to pick up the catch of the day.

Yes, he is trendy and yes he is aspirational but Yotam Ottolenghi's books deserve more than being left on the coffee table. His Plenty book got vegetarians around the world excited and now there's Plenty More. If you thought boiling a vegetable was the only to cook it think again. There's recipes for roasted, grilled, blanched, simmered, sweetened and baked vegetarian dishes. It's not just about vegetables with recipes for fruit, grains and pulses.

The cheeky, bearded chappies have been off on their mean machines again in search of oriental cuisine. If you're tempted by a Friday night takeaway take a look at this book. This isn't your usual Chinese cookbook as the guys have travelled from Hong Kong to Thailand to Japan and South Korea. A lot of the ingredients you will find in your local supermarket but for the authentic touch you'll need a visit to a specialist Asian shop.

If after reading through this list of books you are feeling a little bit bloated then perhaps this final book from the Hemsley sisters is the one for you. Hailed as the healthy cooking breakthrough of 2014 The Art of Eating Well gives you individual recipes plus suggestions on how to put them together for a variety of three course menus. If you are not converted to clean living by these siblings you may never be.

What cook books are on your Christmas list? Have you got a favourite from 2014?

Linking up with #TheList with Aby at You Baby Me Mummy and Hannah at Mum's Days.
Mums' Days

All photographs in this post are my own – yes I took them in the shop on my mobile. Affiliate links are included in this post because if I don't get bought these books I'm going to have to buy them myself.


  1. I want them all! Asks Santa #thelist

    1. There's many more I want in addition to this list!

  2. Finally made it!! And this post didn't disappoint.

    I'm enjoying the heavy bake-off influence but what is with the simultaneous flour throwing/sprinkling for Mary and Paul?! Haha!

    I have to say I need health food from my cook books - I don't know why but finding out how to make a piece of kale taste good makes me I recon I would pick Plenty More and the Hemsleys (why did they need to name it twice??) but maybe a bit of Ruby on the side as I don't have any fancy equipment either and I recon she could teach me a thing or two!

    Thanks for linking up to #Thelist! xx


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