Danny is a food adventurer, home grower, supper club host and writer of the entertaining and quirky epicurean blog, Food Urchin. When Danny is not busy digging holes to pit-roast lamb or hanging marrows in tights to make rum or foraging for snails in his garden to throw into paella, he is often left in charge of a pair of cheeky twins; with sometimes disastrous results in the kitchen. A former nominee for Best Food Writer at The YBFs Danny has decided that one day, he might just write a book about food.Read More
This is one of the first cookbooks I bought and remains to this day, one of my favourites. All of the recipes (and I have tried most of them) work so well, bringing together a simple and harmonious blend of predominantly Spanish, North African and Middle Eastern flavours. A great step towards using exotic ingredients and techniques, without getting your knickers in a twist.
Another early purchase, found in at the back of a WH Smiths many moons ago and dipped into forever after. It feels perhaps a little dated now and lacks a certain credibility but this book introduced me to the likes of kimchi, rendang and Thai Som Tam. And this was way back in the 90s. (The late 90s).
Author Stefan Gates is responsible for me digging a huge hole in my back garden, filling it with wood and then setting fire to it (and then very nearly setting my fence and whole garden on fire) for the purposes of cooking a whole lamb, in the ground. A great sense of fun and adventure can be found in this book but it can get you into trouble. Especially if you try out the flatulence experiment.
I love this book - it is my go to when I am stuck for ideas for dinner. Which means to say that I don't use it as I should. The book meticulously lists what to buy, cook and eat over the year, taking in the seasons and a huge world of ingredients, all in an effort to make your kitchen more efficient and less wasteful. But I just ignore that and dip in willy-nilly because the recipes are so good.
One day, I will go on a jaunt down the Canal du Midi, just like Uncle Rick and experience all the glorious food that southern France has to offer. But for the time being, I'll have to rely on this particular cookbook to conjure up the experience at home. Namely Bouillabasse, Cassoulet and Provencal fish pasta. Unless I sell a kidney or something. I could get there sooner then.
Lots of food lovers revere Simon Hopkinson but hand on heart, I only discovered him when I found a copy of this book in a charity shop. With captivating preludes on specific ingredients, his style is warm to read without being too cloying. His recipes really work too. I am a particular fan of his olive oil mash.
I got this book around the same time that I started growing food in the garden and then at the allotment becoming quite engaged by the message of seasonality and sustainability inside; despite having no hair. Lots to read about regarding provenance and lots of recipes, the best of which is a simple courgette sauce for pasta and brushetta. Which is great for gluts.
This came to my attention via a recommendation on Twitter. Think the person in question thought I'd appreciate the suggestion of cucumber and strawberry soup, which is a very Roald Dahl sort of recipe. A combination of memoir and favourite family dishes that were enjoyed at Dahl's house in the country and it really is all lovely, quirky and charming. As you'd sort of expect.
A new cookbook amongst an ageing collection, Diana Henry's latest is excellent for when I come home from picking the kids up and if I want to get something tasty on the table and quick. Not that everything is easy to make but results so far have been utterly delicious. I also really enjoy Diana's conversational style of writing.
For someone who continually harps on about offal all the time, this had to be included in my list. Not that this book is only about cooking the less delectable (but no less delicious) bits and pieces, Fergus Henderson's simple approach brings out the best in even the most mundane sounding of dishes, such as mince and tatties. Plus he stole my heart with that bone marrow and parsley salad.