The festive season has crept up on us again this year. With Christmas just around the corner, the gift of a cookery book is something most budding home chefs look forward to. In this review, we try and bring you the best of the best books that have just been released in time for Christmas.
These are in no particular order, but just a great selection of cookbooks that we think are worth buying. Some of them are by celebrity chefs, however others are just some great cookbooks that couldn’t be left off the list.
The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria
With El Bulli having the reputation of the world’s number one restaurant you would expect this book to contain complicated recipes, so it was refreshing to see that all the recipes contained in this book are simple and easy to follow. Every recipe contains a step by step detailed grid of pictures to follow along with.
Each recipe is shown with numerous step-by-step full-colour photographs, and conversions on how you can prepare a meal for a small or large group – for 2, 6, 20 or 75 people. I like the fact that it also teaches the basics of cooking right down to boiling an egg. My favourite recipes are the Catalan Style Turkey and the Mussels with Paprika.
Hawksmoor at Home: Meat – Seafood – Sides – Breakfasts – Puddings – Cocktails
The Hawksmoor restaurants located in London Spitalfields and Seven Dials pride themselves on preparing and cooking great British ingredients. They are renowned for the culinary magic that they create with beef. Apart from being known for their steaks, they also prepare some of the best seafood and traditional British puddings along with their award-winning cocktail list.
The book takes you through the stages of making sure that you have a good piece of meat as well as educating you on the breed and livelihood of cattle. It also includes preparation techniques and the science behind achieving that perfect steak. With mouth-watering pictures and a touch of humour throughout, this book has become my new favourite cookbook!
Being a massive carnivore, I am instantly drawn towards any cookbook that is based around meat. However I have to say that this cookbook is a definite all-rounder, there is everything in there – not just meat. This is definitely one for the kitchen shelf!
My favourite’s recipes are the IPA short ribs and the Marathon pudding.
Heston Blumenthal at Home
He is known as the master of his craft for combining science and cooking to create innovative delicious food. In this book Heston Blumenthal explains what the most effective techniques are and why they work. Heston’s instructions are precise and easy to follow with lots of helpful tips. Each chapter is introduced with an explanation of Heston’s approach to cooking.
Before opening this book, I was expecting it to be very similar to his cooking shows on TV. They are normally extremely complex and contain ingredients that aren’t easy to come by. However, this book is easy to follow with standard ingredients and nothing is overly difficult. I like the fact that Heston uses technology to create consistently great dishes. He challenges the orthodox methods that most people are used to when it comes to cooking, and if you are looking for something a little different to add new cooking skills in the kitchen – then this is the book for you. His restaurant, the Fat Duck, holds three Michelin stars and was voted the best Restaurant in the world in 2005 – this book is definitely worth a try, you might learn something new!
Although there are loads of recipes in this book, I have to say I enjoyed the way he brought science to cooking something as simple as the perfect roast potato!
Christmas with Gordon
I am a big fan of Gordon’s cookbooks – he always delivers great exciting meals that are usually easy to follow. However, I have a couple in my collection already and was wondering if this could deliver something new. I wasn’t disappointed when this book arrived- this is a great cookbook with loads of great recipes. However I would say that this book isn’t for faint hearted, as some of the recipes are a little tougher to follow.
Gordon breaks down the entire Christmas meal process and gives his personal tips and tricks. With Christmas around the corner, this might be the perfect gift to give someone who is going to be preparing a feast on the big day!
Galvin: A Cookbook Deluxe
This book has been written by Chef’s Chris and Jeff Galvin. They are two Michelin starred chefs (and brothers) that own some of London’s finest French Restaurants, including Galvin at Windows. This book contains some great classic French dishes, but the recipes are quite complex and some require specialist ingredients that may be hard to come by. With this in mind, I would recommend this book if what you are looking for this Christmas is a challenge!
Jamie’s Great Britain
Another Jamie Oliver Cookbook…….? That’s the first thing I asked myself when I saw this title. I expected to see pretty much the same recipes and graphical feel that most of his other books contain. I wanted not to like it…..but instead I found myself enjoying this book with every turn of the page. It is literally packed with 400 pages of great recipes!
Jamie tries to capture the essence of British food today by combining the old with the new. He includes some traditional British die hard recipes such as Bubble an Squeak, he brings a modern twist to some classics such as Beef Pie, and he has some dishes originally from around the globe that are these days known and loved by us all as British staples.
My favourite recipe would have to be the Easy Essex Haggis. If you are looking for a reliable book with some great British recipes, pop down to your local store and have a read – I think this book might surprise you.