Books

All I want for Christmas is 19 different chocolate brownies

All I want for Christmas is 19 different chocolate brownies: But if that’s not for you don’t worry — there’s a feast for everyone in the year’s most moreish cookbooks…

  • Constance Craig Smith picks out the top cookery books you need this Christmas
  • UK-based writer has selected books from top chefs including Tom Kerridge
  • Other favourites are Mary Berry, Prue Leith and Yotam Ottolenghi 

COOKERY 

This year’s best Christmas cookery books come from a huge amount of brilliant chefs including Mary Berry (pictured)

MORO EASY by Sam and Sam Clark (Ebury £30, 320pp)

MORO EASY

by Sam and Sam Clark (Ebury £30, 320pp) 

Founders of the London restaurant Moro, the Clarks spent lockdown writing this collection of uncomplicated recipes. 

Shot through with the flavours of Spain and North Africa, their dishes range from imaginative snacks such as goat’s cheese and roasted red onions, to suppers including fried monkfish with lemon and garlic. 

ONE by Jamie Oliver (Michael Joseph £28, 309pp)

ONE

by Jamie Oliver (Michael Joseph £28, 309pp) 

Dedicated to ‘the art of minimal washing up’, all Jamie’s recipes can be made in one pan or tray, from honey-roast chicken to sesame-seared salmon to aubergine pie. 

TWO’S COMPANY SIMPLE

by Orlando Murrin (Ryland Peters & Small £20, 176pp)

This celebration of fuss-free cooking for two is written in a warm and witty style. Recipes range from meals made with everyday ingredients, such as a savoury bread pudding or cornflake chicken, to the more luxurious peppered duck breast or a veal goulash. 

COOK AND SHARE  

by Mary Berry (BBC Books £27, 301pp) 

She may have written over 70 cookbooks but Mary’s recipes still hit the spot every time. Her food is hearty yet sophisticated, from a roasting tin spiced chicken to hispi cabbage noisette and a showstopping chocolate truffle dessert, all presented with reassuringly uncomplicated instructions. 

-Constance Craig Smith picks out the top cookery books you need this Christmas. UK-based writer has selected books from top chefs including Tom Kerridge

THE MAGNIFICENT BOOK OF VEGETABLES 

by Alice Hart (OH Editions £26, 240pp) 

This colourful book is packed with ideas for appealing meat-free dishes. Some are simple, such as baby beets with yoghurt and herbs, while others are elaborate enough for a dinner party centrepiece, like hasselback celeriac parcels or teriyaki cauliflower and sticky rice bowls. 

BLISS ON TOAST by Prue Leith (Bloomsbury £14.99, 189pp)

BLISS ON TOAST

by Prue Leith (Bloomsbury £14.99, 189pp) 

A number of these 75 toast recipes are definitely on the snacky side, but there are also sumptuous concoctions like figs, blue cheese, thyme and honey on a toasted bloomer, or roast lamb with gremolata on fried ciabatta.

MEAT-FREE MEXICAN 

by Thomasina Miers (Hodder £25, 255pp)

Thomasina Miers believes that Mexican food is ‘the most magical of cuisines’. Her dishes include tacos, tortillas, chillies, beans and plenty of zingy salads. 

BAKE IT SLICE IT EAT IT by Tom Oxford and Oliver Coysh (Hardie Grant £15, 160pp)

There are mouth-watering puddings too, like a molten dark chocolate cake and a coconut and lime rice pudding. 

BAKE IT SLICE IT EAT IT  

by Tom Oxford and Oliver Coysh (Hardie Grant £15, 160pp) 

The authors of this decadently calorific book hate lurid icing and glittery sprinkles; their passion is for ‘knockout flavours and banging textures’. 

Brownies are a speciality — there are a whopping 19 different brownie recipes here — along with unusual bakes like sea buckthorn cheesecake and gooseberry and elderflower cake. 

THE WEEKEND COOK by Angela Hartnett (Bloomsbury £26, 282pp)

THE WEEKEND COOK

by Angela Hartnett (Bloomsbury £26, 282pp) 

Angela Hartnett’s cooking style is refreshingly unpretentious. Her recipes, designed for leisurely get-togethers with friends and family, are refined yet achievable and she writes in a cheerily encouraging style. ‘Keeping it simple is the key to successful entertaining,’ she says wisely. 

THE ITALIAN PANTRY

by Theo Randall (Hardie Grant £26, 256pp) 

Formerly head chef at London’s River Café, Theo Randall’s recipes are built around ten key ingredients in Italian cookery, including tomatoes, porcini mushrooms, pine nuts, polenta, Parmesan and ricotta.

THE ITALIAN PANTRY by Theo Randall (Hardie Grant £26, 256pp)

From a wild nettle and dandelion frittata to aubergine and courgette lasagne and a delicious honey, chocolate and chestnut torte, this is splendid comfort food with a Mediterranean twist. 

NISTISIMA 

by Georgina Hayden (Bloomsbury £26, 304pp) 

Drawing on the food that’s eaten on days when no meat, dairy or fish is permitted by the Eastern Orthodox Church, this book’s dishes come from countries as diverse as Greece, Cyprus, Armenia and Jordan. The highlights include mushroom and caramelised onion pilaf, sweet and sour leeks and broad bean falafels. 

SUPPER by Flora Shedden (Hardie Grant £22, 224pp)

SUPPER 

by Flora Shedden (Hardie Grant £22, 224pp) 

Whether you call it supper, dinner or tea, the evening meal is most pleasurable one of all, according to Flora Shedden. 

From a light supper of roasted ricotta, broad beans and courgettes, to more abundant salted beef with shallots and spiked mayo, or lemon sole with samphire, this is elegant food worth taking your time over.

RECIPES FROM LE ROUZET 

by Cathy Gayner (Age Unlimited £16.99, 190pp) 

REAL LIFE RECIPES by Tom Kerridge (Bloomsbury £26, 255pp)

Written by a talented cook who divides her time between England and France, this delectable collection of French recipes with an English twist has been a big word-of-mouth success. 

Standouts include chicken stuffed with tapenade, celeriac remoulade with prawns, and scallops with chorizo. The puddings are scrumptious too. All the profits from this book go to charity. 

REAL LIFE RECIPES

by Tom Kerridge (Bloomsbury £26, 255pp) 

Tom Kerridge is a Michelinstarred chef but he still relishes simple food. Many of these recipes use everyday ingredients and can be rustled up in half an hour or prepared ahead of time. Standouts are the sausage traybake with honey mustard glaze, fridgeraid soup and a self-saucing cherry and chocolate pudding. 

COOKNG 

OTTOLENGHI TEST KITCHEN: EXTRA GOOD THINGS by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury £25, 255pp)

by Jeremy Lee (4th estate, £30, 405pp) 

Unusually for a cookery book, this is also a really good read. Lee writes lyrically about his distinguished career as a chef, his favourite family dishes and how to choose the best produce. 

The book is divided into quirky chapters including pies, chard, blood oranges and artichokes; there’s a whole section on how to make, and use, differently flavoured breadcrumbs.

OTTOLENGHI TEST KITCHEN: EXTRA GOOD THINGS

by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury £25, 255pp) 

MEZCLA by Ixta Belfrage (Ebury £26, 287pp)

Ottolenghi is notorious for his love of obscure ingredients, but — hooray! — they are kept to a minimum here (gochujang, anyone?). Instead you’ll find plenty of enticing recipes, which can be taken to the next level with home-made sauces, salsas, chutneys, oils and sprinkles — there’s one for each recipe, and you can use them with other dishes too. 

MEZCLA

by Ixta Belfrage (Ebury £26, 287pp) 

Subtitled ‘recipes to excite’, this book lives up to its billing. The food is a fusion of Italy, Brazil and Mexico — the title is the Spanish word for ‘mixture’ — with lots of big punchy flavours. 

Highlights are the red curry sweet potato gratin, a sausage and charred citrus traybake and a gloriously gooey sticky banana and chocolate cake. 

AMMU

by Asma Khan (Ebury £26, 288pp) 

Part memoir, part cookery book, these are the recipes that Asma Khan’s mother, her Ammu, cooked for her family. From quick snacks like fried vegetable skins, to more substantial dishes such as chicken biryani, spiced leg of lamb or Bengali milk pudding, you can almost smell the spices coming off the pages. This is a delightful book. 

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