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We pick our cookbook of the week, plus reviews and favourite recipes.

8 December 2018

The Country Kitchen by Jocasta Innes


Author of  the Pauper’s Cookbook, kitchen bible of impecunious flat-dwellers throughout the UK in the 70s, Jocasta Innes was also a fount of information on rural traditions of cooking, storing and preserving. Here, her son Jason Goodwin reveals the background to Jocasta’s The Country Kitchen, first published in 1979. Below, two recipes from the book […]

3 December 2018

Eight great cookbooks to take you into 2019


Spices, senses and simplicity figure large in Christopher Hirst’s selection of the best cookbooks to accompany you into the New Year Fortnum & Mason: Christmas & Other Winter Feasts by Tom Parker Bowles (Fourth Estate, £30) With Christmas cookbooks from Nigella, Delia, Jamie, Gordon and Elizabeth David possibly jostling on your shelves, how much do […]


12 November 2018

Home Cooks from Abroad


New recipe collections from Cuba, Venice, Palestine and Germany Chosen by Christopher Hirst The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis (Phaidon, £24.95) Like so many born in this troubled land, Reem Kassis lives abroad. During high-powered jobs in New York and London, she promised herself, ‘I would never return to the kitchen’ but has come to […]

30 October 2018

Bish Bash Bosh! – Vegan Remix


The unstoppable rise of Bosh!, the Vegan bestseller It started with a single online recipe (for healthy sushi cake; three million views on Facebook), posted on Youtube in 2016 by Henry and Ian, friends from school in Sheffield who wanted to eat vegetarian but couldn’t find any decent recipes. They hit on the idea of […]

29 July 2018

The Hidden Hut


Erstwhile Cornish snack-stand, now a restaurant so hot that tickets for its 600 covers sell out almost as soon as they are released, The Hidden Hut has done for Cornwall what El Bulli once did for Catalonia. But even if you’re one of the lucky 600 to gain admission, finding the Hidden Hut is another […]

5 July 2018

Summer Cookbooks


Christopher Hirst explores a few literary fruits from the sunny season The Book of Ices by Mrs A.B.Marshall Mrs Marshall (1855-1905) was the Nigella of her day. This slender but still-useful work of 1885 will tempt modern ice-cream addicts with such fashionable temptations as sorbet of apricots, cucumber ice-cream and rose-water ice. Nesselrode Pudding on […]

16 June 2018

Crunch time favourite


Foie gras? Sure, it tastes quite good. Horrible way to make a snack, but it does melt on the tongue. Lobster? Fine, but fiddly. Truffles? Well, yes, they’re Ok, when they’re grated and sprinkled over home-made pasta, but only if there’s plenty of parmesan. According to writer and broadcaster Christina Patterson, there are times when […]

11 May 2018

The Sportsman by Stephen Harris


The Winner of the 2018 Fortnum & Mason Cookery Book of the Year is a constant delight, says Christopher Hirst At an early stage in the 20-odd course tasting menu at The Sportsman at Seasalter in Kent, you encounter a dish that explains why this unassuming pub on the shoreline was declared UK’s Best Restaurant […]

20 December 2017

Books of the Year: Anna Jones


Christopher Hirst selects his favourite cook books of 2017 6. A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones Fans of Anna Jones’s 2014 bestseller A Modern Way to Cook will need no urging to snap up her new volume of imaginative vegetarian combinations, The Modern Cook’s Year (Fourth Estate, £26). As the title suggests, this […]

18 December 2017

Books of the Year: Rose Prince


Christopher Hirst selects his favourite cook books of 2017  5. Dinner & Party by Rose Prince My review of Rose Prince’s latest book Dinner & Party (Seven Dials, £25), as full of confident good sense as her previous works, requires an admission of association with the author. As a friend of Rose, I have frequently […]

17 December 2017

Books of the Year: Cora Millet-Robinet


Christopher Hirst selects his favourite cook books of 2017  4. The French Country Housewife by Cora Millet-Robinet, translated by Tom Jaine This year’s academic laurels go to Tom Jaine’s splendidly comprehensible translation of The French Country Housewife by Cora Millet-Robinet (Prospect, £32), first published in 1845 though Jaine has translated a revision of 1859. Obviously […]

13 December 2017

Books of the Year: River Cafe


Christopher Hirst selects his favourite cook books of 2017  3. River Cafe 30 by Ruth Rogers, Sian Wyn Owen, Joseph Trivelli and Rose Gray Celebrating the 30th year of the celeb-magnet restaurant, River Cafe 30 (Ebury, £28) is the most beautiful cookbook of the season. Containing contributions by chef-patronnes Ruth Rogers and the late Rose […]

11 December 2017

Books of the Year: America, The Cookbook


Christopher Hirst selects his favourite cook books of 2017  2. America: The Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz Most big cookbooks covering the cuisine of one country, such as Silver Spoon (over 2,000 Italian recipes) or Spain: The Cookbook (1,080 recipes), are as terse and utilitarian as phone directories but America: The Cookbook by Gabrielle Langholtz (Phaidon, […]

10 December 2017

Books of the Year: Nuno Mendes


Christopher Hirst selects his favourite cook books of 2017  1. Lisboeta by Nuno Mendes From Nuno Mendes, chef/patron of the Spitalfields restaurant Taberna do Mercado, the passionate, impressively wrought Lisboeta (Bloomsbury, £26) presents you with the steamy temptations of one of the world’s great food cities. I defy anyone to read a few pages and […]

22 November 2017

Corsica by Nicolas Stromboni


Corsica is an island, a mountain, a plain and a succession of partitioned valleys… sitting in the middle of Mediterranean’ writes Nicolas Stromboni, author of this impressive book on Corsican food and culture. Since he not only lives in this paradise, but also looks after the largest wine cellar on the island, Stromboni can be […]

19 June 2017

Eat Naples and Smile


Christopher Hirst reviews The Silver Spoon: Naples and the Amalfi Coast Filleted from the original Silver Spoon, a daunting 1,600-page omnium gatherum of Italian food, this tempting 50-recipe selection conveys the colour, potency and brio of Naples and adjoining areas. Unlike its austere parent, this volume bristles with tempting photos of both food and locale […]

13 April 2017

Gather Cook Feast by Jessica Seaton


Latest in the seemingly endless flow of foraging-based cookbooks, Gather, Cook, Feast consists of ‘recipes from the land and water by the co-founder of Toast’. If you’re a bloke, Toast might suggest one of the cappuccino-and-snacks chains that the urban English find so irresistible. But you’d be wrong. Toast is, somewhat surprisingly, a woman’s clothing/homeware […]

28 February 2017

Coming Back to Claudia


Christopher Hirst reports on his joyful rediscovery of Claudia Roden’s Food of Italy… A few weeks ago, a friend brought us the welcome present of half a pound of white crabmeat from Guernsey. Very nice – but it was Christmas so this treat disappeared into the freezer. Coming across it by chance, I realised there […]

20 December 2016

Christmas Cook Books Part 2


The eccentric, the weird and the wonderful… by Christopher Hirst The huge popularity of cookbooks means that rather unusual approaches can appear on the market. Often they can provide more satisfaction than more conventional works. The second part of Bread & Oyster’s 2016 round-up includes Aussie fish, British puds, Israeli bread and Swedish campfires. River […]

5 December 2016

The Cook Book Season


The Most Tempting Cook Books of 2016 reviewed by Christopher Hirst From a good crop, I found myself most tempted by the Fortnum & Mason Cook Book. Snack followed snack in greedy profusion. It looks great as well. How did F&M manage to combine humour with luxury in its promotional material over the years?  Anyone […]

1 September 2016

Not quite a topping guide…


After chewing his way through ‘the experts’ guide to the best pizza places in the world’, Christopher Hirst is still hungry for information At first sight, Where To Eat Pizza edited by Daniel Young looks an impressive effort. Designed like an old-fashioned street directory and running to 576 pages, it claims to be a ‘comprehensive […]

24 August 2016

Stirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden


Like an army of benign invaders, the UK food scene is rapidly being taken over by Jamie Oliver protégées. Latest amongst the Oliver cohorts is Georgina Hayden, a member of his food team who works as a cook, food writer and stylist. This, her first book (‘A new modern classic – a simply stunning cookbook’, […]

9 August 2016

Flavour by Ruby Tandoh


  Notorious on Bake-Off and a subsequent powerhouse off it, Ruby Tandoh (aged 24) has already produced a book and a slew of cookery columns for Elle magazine and Guardian Cook. Her second book, sub-titled Eat What You Love is a plea to follow your instincts when it comes to food, and is organized by […]

19 July 2016

Feeding Friends by Terry and George


Fun-loving child of an incongruous union between an ex-chef and a male-model, Feeding Friends is a collection of 100 recipes designed for entertaining. Terry learned his trade at Gavroche while George, who had founded the band One Night Only, aged 12, pounded the Burberry cat walks. A chance encounter led to a series of pop-up […]

14 July 2016

Polska, new Polish cooking by Zuza Zak


  For a start, this is a beautiful book, jacketed in red and white cut-out pictures of fruit and flowers, bird and fishes – it looks like a piece of middle-eastern embroidery. Inside, it’s filled with gorgeous photographs of Polish life and food. It’s written by Zuza Zak, a Polish TV producer and food blogger […]

1 July 2016

Low and Slow, How to Cook Meat by Neil Rankin


  ‘If you’ve ever cooked a steak medium-well instead of medium-rare, a chicken that ends up dry and tasteless, a stew that’s stringy or a rack of ribs that’s fallen off the bone… then this is the book that will make your life that little bit better…’ Thus Neil Rankin, a major player in London’s […]

25 June 2016

The Kitchen Shelf by Eve O’Sullivan & Rosie Reynolds


Rather like the cost-per-wear fashion theory that inspired the idea of single, relatively expensive food items that made three of four different meals, the authors of The Kitchen Shelf have also used a fashion analogy to explain a culinary thesis. Theirs is the notion of a capsule wardrobe – if you have a basic, perfectly […]

24 April 2016

It’s All Easy by Gwyneth Paltrow


Bite back the words, yes, it’s all easy if … you’re a multi-millionaire with a rock-star ex, and approach this book with open-minded, Zen-like calm. Although she’s been much derided for her use of ingredients costing the monthly salaries of several British nurses, Ms Paltrow, with her ‘cohort’ Thea Baumann, does have some interesting, even […]

22 April 2016

Around the World in Salads by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi


The Caldesis run restaurants, a cookery school and have produced several cookbooks. This latest focuses on salad – not the limp variety featuring mild combinations of lettuce, cucumber and tomato, but vibrant leafy, fruit and veg feasts. Inspiration for the project came when Giancarlo was diagnosed as diabetic and gluten intolerant and ‘we had to […]

19 April 2016

Real Food Projects by Kate Walsh


Aka the ‘stirrer’ in her native Sydney, Kate Walsh is a trenchant advocate for the slow and real food movements. She believes that the best way to change people’s attitudes to food is to send them back to the kitchen – hence this book. Real Food Projects contains 30 different kitchen skills – ranging from […]

17 April 2016

Ducksoup Cookbook by Clare Lattin and Tom Hill


Duck Soup, a tiny slice of space located, with comedic precision, barely five steps along from the Groucho Club in Soho, is the kind of neighbourhood restaurant one yearns to find while on holiday, but never does. And here it is, bang in the middle of London. It’s so small that there’s a considerable danger […]