Just in case Father Christmas doesn’t deliver lots of brand new cookery books to you on Christmas Day, the lovely folks at Quadrille Publishing have offered me three of their top Quadrille cookery books as a giveaway prize for one of my readers. These will keep you going well into 2013, and will provide you with plenty of inspiration for your cooking in the New Year.
1. James Martin Slow Cooking – Mouthwatering Recipes with Minimum Effort (RRP £20) Quadrille Publishing
Put your hands up if you love James Martin. He’s the cheeky Northern chappie who presents BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and he has a very loyal army of fans. His food is often inspired by British, comfort cooking, the kind of food your grandmother would cook for you. James’ family were pig and cattle farmers, so they would often eat hearty slow cooked stews, such as beef stew with dumplings. Slow Cooking offers a good mix of easy-to-throw-together soups, slow vegetable bakes, fish, one-pots, slow roasts, stews and braises and my very favourite chapters, slow puddings and slow bakes. I would love to lock myself away in a log cabin somewhere for the winter and I’d be very happy if I only had this book to cook from and a stash of red wine. Recipes I immediately want to cook are the Potato and Turnip Dauphinoise, the Miso-Marinated Monkfish, Ultimate Roast Chicken (a recipe based on one by Thomas Keller where the chicken is soaked in brine), the Treacle-Glazed Ham Hocks. To finish, I want to make the Jam roly poly, which has just five ingredients. You’ll love this one.
2. Anjum’s Indian Vegetarian Feasts – RRP £19.00 Quadrille Publishing
I met Anjum Anand at Food Blogger Connect in 2011 and I remember her saying at the time that she was writing a vegetarian cookery book. She demonstrated and served us all her Grilled Courgette Carpaccio, with Chickpea Salsa and Pistachio Dressing, a recipe which features in this book. It was one of those dishes that created an immediate impression and I remember coming straight home to make it. I think this is a really interesting book because it has allowed Anjum to draw upon her Indian heritage and memories of being raised by a vegetarian mother. Anjum’s father ate meat and so Anjum remembers eating both rich, meaty curries as well as vegetable and lentil dishes. Anjum also then married a vegetarian, who came from a generation of vegetarians and so she inherited recipes and advice from her new family, too. Her own children are vegetarian. I also like the fact that Anjum says that many of the recipes are a reflection of the diversity of India’s regional food, but she also includes recipes that have inspired her during her travels. She also adds in recipes that she just likes and cooks at home often, the ones that are ‘hanging by a home-spun cotton thread to an Indian heritage, but are too delicious not to be included.’ An example of that is the very first recipe in the book, a Coconut French Toast, or Anjum’s Mango, Pomegranate, Berry and Coconut Trifle towards the back. I’d love to try the Smokey Spiced Aubergines and Anjum’s Easy Everyday Lentil Curry, most of all. Rest assured, I’ll be cooking my way through this colourful book in the New Year!
3. Tom Kitchin – Kitchin Suppers (RRP £20) Quadrille Publishing
For a very long time, I have wanted to take a trip up to Edinburgh to visit Tom’s restaurant The Kitchin. Tom is a renowned Scottish chef who was trained by Pierre Koffmann, Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse. Tom very quickly received a Michelin star, just six months after opening The Kitchin. I am sometimes wary of books by celebrity chefs, just because I think they often can’t help being cheffy and so the recipes don’t translate well for the home cook. But this book, and I have saved the best to talk about till last, has left me completely smitten. Not only are the recipes homely, comforting and easy to follow, the book reads like a great big Scottish tartan blanket-wrapped hug! In his introduction, Tom says that he and his photographer, Laura Edwards, prepared and photographed all of the dishes in the book, just as Tom would cook them and serve them at home, and I believe him. At the back of the book, Tom thanks his ‘wee boys’ for coming along to photo shoots on Sundays and Mondays. Best of all, for anyone, who, like me, has extreme prop envy (think rustic bowls, a roast saddle of lamb nestled in a big pile of hay and tables graced with thick tartan fabrics) there are some props credits sourced by Polly Webb-Wilson in the back, too. I have already made Tom’s Pears Poached in Chocolate (photo below) and will be off to the pet shop to find some eating hay on which to cook my own saddle of lamb with Boulangere Potatoes laying beneath. A stunning book, well worth adding to your list or buying for the foodie in your life.