Pairings | Books
You might think the last thing you need is another list of this year’s cookery books. but indulge me in this slightly different take - who would you give them to and why would you find them useful.
Most advice on cooking at uni is directed at freshers but the first few months at university is almost certainly the least likely time you’re going to be in the kitchen. You may well be in hall or a block of student flats that have very few facilities, certainly not for making anything ambitious.
i know you’re supposed to run a blog like a magazine. Schedule in topical features and run them when people are looking for that kind of content but this year my annual round-up of cookery books which should usefully have come out at the beginning of December just didn’t happen.
I intended to write this post about a month ago when most normal people do their Christmas shopping but hey, it’s suddenly December 22nd and only two shopping days to Christmas. There are however those who leave their shopping until the VERY last minute (I did most of mine at the weekend) and for you this guide may solve all your Christmas present dilemmas in one go.
Thanks - or rather no thanks - to Covid I’ve spent more time cooking from cookbooks this year than any other I can remember. And actually cooking from a book really separates the wheat from the chaff. Or the the sheep from the goats or whatever.
Cookery books may still be selling like hotcakes but I sometimes wonder why given that so many of the recipes don’t actually work. Unsurprisingly it’s not a subject the publishing industry cares to dwell on but it’s a more widespread problem than you’d think.
I’ve been meaning for a while to review cookbooks in pairs which makes sense unless you’re a total obsessive like me. Most people compare a couple of recently published books and decide which to buy instead of buying them both. This series may help you to make up your mind.
As little as a year ago - can it be that short a time? - it felt as if food writing was in terminal decline. Newspapers and food magazines were dominated by the same old names, generally fostered by a restaurant or TV connection. Some, it was rumoured (choosing my words carefully), didn’t even write their own columns or books.
Two ‘grandes dames’ of the food writing world, Claudia Roden and Paula Wolfert, have new books out - The Food of Spain (Roden’s first book for five years) and The Food of Morocco. So which should you buy?
I can’t tell you how excited I was about A Change of Appetite. To the extent that, impatient with the review copy not having arrived I dragged myself on a fruitless visit to Waitrose to buy it then drove down to Bristol City centre. On a Saturday afternoon. (Locals will know this how insane this is.)
It’s a sign of just how good Sud de France is that it managed to pick up two major prizes last year (an Andre Simon and Fortnum & Mason award) without a single colour photo* or its author, well known and respected though she is in foodie circles, currently being on TV.
It’s almost 20 years ago now since Josh Wesson wrote his first book on food and wine pairing - the ground-breaking Red Wine with Fish: the new art of Matching Wine with Food which he co-authored with David Rosengarten. He then went on to set up the attractive and innovative wine store Best Cellars which groups wines by style
Having eaten Jane Baxter’s food on a number of occasions I was really looking forward to the publication of Leon Fast Vegetarian, the book she’s just written with Leon founder Henry Dimbleby, one of a series of books that has been published by the Leon chain.
There’s always been a significant minority who don’t drink but it’s been growing exponentially, particularly among young adults. Over a quarter of 16-24 year olds - and half the world’s population - don’t drink at all for a variety of reasons - mainly religious and the desire to follow a more healthy lifestyle.
The surprise publishing hit among food books last year was not the record selling Jamie’s 30-minute meals or even the new Nigella but an unillustrated book called The Flavour Thesaurus by an unknown author, Niki Segnit. The book catalogues nearly 1000 flavour combinations which are described in an endearingly quirky way. It’s erudite, original and funny
How often do you find a recipe book that offers a genuinely original selection of recipes inspired by a cooking tradition you’re not even aware of? For those whose shelves are bulging with Italian and middle-eastern cookbooks, Mamushka, by the talented young chef and food stylist Olia Hercules, offers a window into a different culinary world.
If you haven't heard of David Everitt-Mathias I wouldn't be surprised. But ask any leading chef in Britain - including Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal, who have both paid tribute to him in this book - and they certainly will.
A robust, winey stew from Rebecca Seal's mouthwatering new book, The Islands of Greece which immediately makes you want to jump on a plane and fly off there. Top tip about cooking rabbit too.
One of the most intriguing things to find out about chefs is not what they cook in their restaurants but what they feed their family and friends. True, at St John one morphs into the other, but the lunch they held in London this week to celebrate the publication of Fergus Henderson’s new book The Complete Nose to Tail was one I’d have been more than proud to put on for my mates.
This week has been the realisation of a long-held ambition to write a series of e-books on various aspects of food and drink pairing.
If you’re a fellow cheese fan I hope you’ll forgive me blowing my own trumpet and pointing you to my latest book Fiona Beckett’s Cheese Course. Actually I don’t feel too bad about it because at least half its appeal is its quite gorgeous photography (by Richard Jung) and I can’t claim credit for that!
I'm pretty sure most of you don't have a fraction of the half-finished bottles I do in my kitchen but I bet you have one or two. And that you don't want - as with other ingredients - to waste them. The solution, of course, is to cook with them and that's what my new book Wine Lover's Kitchen is all about.
You’d think, wouldn’t you, that most chefs would be pretty good at food and wine matching, not least French chefs. Well, you’d be wrong! I’m constantly shocked by the number of chefs who haven’t the faintest idea what wine goes best with their recipes or indeed, who drink wine at all. (Some of them possibly because they’ve, er hem, enjoyed it a bit too much in the past . . . )
A guest post from award-winning wine writer Jamie Goode who gives his own personal take on Jon Bonné's The New California Wine and the issues it raises.
Everyone I know who’s into food has a soft spot for St John. True, it has/has had its ups and downs but It’s easy to forget just how groundbreaking it was when it opened 19 years ago. And how absolutely right its values still are in terms of serving great ingredients simply,