Kitchen bibles

Size is the theme of this year’s cook­ery books, sev­eral of which out­weigh the Bi­ble. This is fine for quan­tity of recipes and pho­tos, but you’ll need a lectern to use them, says Les­lie Ged­des-brown

Country Life Every Week - - Books -

Fort­num & Ma­son: The Cook Book

Tom Parker Bowles(4th Es­tate, £30) At last, an English cook­book of which to be proud. No men­tion of kale or quinoa, but steak-and­kid­ney pud­ding, pot­ted shrimps and boiled egg and sol­diers. Tom Parker Bowles is a breezy writer with no pre­ten­sions, which makes this a most en­joy­able read. An ex­cel­lent present for a chap. tomato soup with added wrist­watches? As you might ex­pect, it’s good on cock­tails, such as Dorothy Parker’s Cham­pagne Punch.

Recipes from the Woods

Jean-fran­cois Mal­let (Phaidon/larousse, £29.95) I thought for­ag­ing for food was just a pass­ing fad un­til I read this. It in­cludes veni­son, pheas­ant and par­tridge, all avail­able from my su­per­mar­ket. Black­ber­ries and herbs are not a prob­lem, although wild mush­rooms are (why, when Ital­ian green­gro­cers have bas­kets­full?). The recipes are so be­guil­ing and the beau­ties of au­tumn in the pho­to­graphs so evoca­tive that I’m con­verted. And I love the tar­tan cover—i have a jacket to match. How­ever, the dishes are se­duc­tive: how about parsnip-and-ap­ple soup with gin?

Brindisa: The True Food of Spain

Monika Lin­ton (4th Es­tate, £29.95) Ev­ery­thing you need to know about Span­ish food from a writer who has spent 28 years find­ing out. Jamón, olive oil and cheese are all ex­haus­tively ex­plained. Good recipes, too, such as ap­ple gaz­pa­cho, braised chard stalks and an­chovies served in their colour­ful tins. It’s a big book and re­quires a good tapas for energy be­fore lift­ing. idea of vis­it­ing the old French colonies and prov­inces to see how they had been in­flu­enced by Gal­lic cui­sine. She gets around. Not just the Provence and Pondicherry of the ti­tle, but Viet­nam, Guade­loupe and La Réu­nion. In a sin­gle book, we have In­dian, East­ern, Caribbean and, rather sur­pris­ingly, Nor­man dishes. The de­sign­ers have made the most of the vari­a­tion with at­mo­spheric pic­tures.

Land of Fish and Rice

Fuch­sia Dun­lop (Blooms­bury, £26) The writer spe­cialises in au­then­tic Chi­nese dishes that the be­gin­ner can con­tem­plate with­out panic. She in­cludes ap­pen­dices on in­gre­di­ents and equip­ment, adding that most are avail­able in Chi­nese su­per­mar­kets. As many towns can sum­mon such a shop, we can now find lo­tus roots, lily bulbs and sil­ver-ear fun­gus. Go on, give Bud­dhist roast goose (with­out a goose) a try.

River Cot­tage A to Z

Hugh Fearn­ley-whit­tingstall and the River Cot­tage team (Blooms­bury, £40) You need a lectern to cope with this mon­ster, whose ‘team’ in­cludes writers Mark Di­a­cono and Gill Meller (see above). It’s not ex­haus­tive—i keep hop­ing some­one will write about Urfa and Aleppo chill­ies—but has lots of new ways with old favourites—as it should at more than 700 pages.

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