Constance Craig Smith picks the best cookbooks of the year

RAMSAY IN 10 by Gordon Ramsay (Hodder £25, 256 pages)

cooking art

Rick Sten at home

by Rick Stein (BBC £26, 320 pages)

Rick Stein admits he enjoyed being shut up, and the opportunity it gave him to cook for his family.

This beautiful book is studded with anecdotes and memories accompanying dishes like seafood pancakes, pork slow-cooked in milk, and hummingbird cake he had on his 60th birthday.

Lockdown, he says, taught him that food plays a huge role in “we all cheer up.”

Ramsey at 10

by Gordon Ramsay (Hodder £25, 256 pp)

Can you really make lasagna pudding, curry, or sticky toffee in just ten minutes?

While Ramsay admits that he cooks faster than most people, he shows that fast and delicious food is achievable for anyone.

Based on his popular YouTube insurance series, this is a great book for hurried chefs and the list of “cheat” ingredients, like porcini powder (ground dried mushrooms) is a find.


by James Martin (Quadrill £22, 224 pages)

Sicily by Ben Tisch (Bloomsbury £26, 304p)

Sicily by Ben Tisch (Bloomsbury £26, 304p)

James Martin calls butter ‘yellow gold,’ and this unabashedly indulgent book ranges from fancy snacks like the French toast—which includes a calorie-cutting half block of butter—to dishes like grilled crab with lemon butter. and peppers and desserts like brown butter cake with bourbon butter glaze. But don’t try to use any substitutes for butter: ‘It’s not a food,’ Martin trembles.


by Ben Tish (Bloomsbury £26, 304p)

After decades of Arab rule in the ninth century, Sicilian cuisine still reflects Moroccan influences, with saffron, pistachios and pomegranate appearing in abundance in the region’s dishes.

This delightful book savors the food of the Mediterranean’s largest island, from arancini – saffron-scented rice balls – to pasta with almond cream and fresh lobster, as well as baked sweets and ice cream.

Mouthwatering treatment.

SUGAR, I LOVE YOU by Ravneet Gill (Pavilion £20, 208 pp)

SUGAR, I LOVE YOU by Ravneet Gill (Pavilion £20, 208 pp)

sugar i love you

by Ravneet Gil (suite £20, 208 pages)

Pastry chef and Junior Bake Off judge Ravneet Gill advised readers to “dispense with the sugar and have fun.” This lively and colorful book features cakes, cookies, and unusual desserts: highlights include miso, caramel, chocolate tart, semolina bread, and unbaked white chocolate cheesecake.

There’s plenty here for baking beginners, as well as more complex challenges, like intricate pastries.

short cooking

by Rosie Reynolds (Hardy Grant £15, 160 pages)

If your heart sinks at the prospect of cooking another family meal, this is the book for you.

All of these recipes can be prepared quickly and feature ingenious shortcuts, like super-fast béchamel sauce, vegetables cooked with their skins on, or mashed shortbread used as a crumbly topping.

Being a chef can be the only thing that wean us off from fast food.

two company

by Orlando Moren (Ryland Peters & Small £18.99, 176 pages)

Most recipes are designed for four or six people, but this friendly, chatty book is aimed at those who cook on a smaller scale “in a mood of relaxation, fun and companionship.” Maureen, a former Masterchef semi-finalist, showcases contemporary European cuisine, with some Mexican and Asian influences.

From cowboy chilli con carne to chocolate lava pudding, these are uncomplicated dishes perfectly suited for a deux-style dinner.

Vietnam by Owen Lo (Hardy Grant £22, 224 pages)

Vietnam by Owen Lo (Hardy Grant £22, 224 pages)


by Uyen Luu (Hardy Grant £22, 224 pages)

This charming book declares that the key to Vietnamese cooking lies in ‘balancing sweet, sour, salty, umami, bitter and hot’.

It requires few special ingredients – although high-quality fish sauce is a must – and there are plenty of soups, vegetables, roasts, pasta dishes, and salads that pack a punch but don’t take long to prepare.

Lu says Vietnamese cuisine is happy and cheerful, and this book proves it.

A to Z of pasta

by Rachel Rudy (The Fig Tree £25, 352 pages)

There are up to 600 different shapes of pasta, from the familiar ravioli and pasta to the more obscure rigatoni and cavatelli.

Rudi, a longtime Italian resident, includes 50 types of pasta and sauce recipes that work best with each type.

Also an affectionate guide to Italy, its regions and culinary history, this beautiful book shows just how diverse and varied pasta can be.

desperately want

by Ed Smith (Quadrille, £25, 256 pages)

Ed Smith, city barrister turned chef, orders his recipes according to flavors, ranging from “fresh and fragrant” and “chili and spicy” to “curry-spiced” and “cheesy and creamy.” His inventive dishes, such as Swedish sage and cheddar gratin or haggis wonton with chili oil, often require a fair amount of skill.

OTTOLENGHI Test Kitchen: SHELF LOVE by Nour Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury £25, 257 pp)

OTTOLENGHI Test Kitchen: SHELF LOVE by Nour Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury £25, 257 pp)

Crave is a book for confident chefs who are eager to try something new.


Nour Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury £25, 257 pp)

Known for his love of esoteric ingredients, Ottolenghi insists Shelf Love only uses items you likely have in your store cupboard. As usual, it has an original method with pulses, vegetables and grilled meats, and there is also a selection of sumptuous desserts.

With tips on ingredient substitutions and how to prepare dishes ahead of time, this is Ottolenghi’s most handy book to date.


by Claudia Rodin (Ebri £28, 320 pages)

In her latest book, 85-year-old superb food writer Claudia Roden navigates the kitchens of Italy, France, Turkey, Egypt, Spain and Morocco. Five years in writing, Med is a beautifully produced cookbook and engaging travel magazine.

Roden’s dishes positively burst with zest and color, and from their saffron-spiced rice to the classic French lemon tart, this is the sunniest of the books.

One bowl, bowl, planet

by Anna Jones (4th Estate £26, 336 pages)

Anna Jones’ elegant vegan food has earned her a loyal following.

Fresh and enticing recipes, such as Halloumi-Lemon Pie, Caramelized Onion, Green Pepper and Pistachio Bread, or a wonderful Baked Dahl can be cooked in a single pot, skillet or griddle.

There’s a lot of focus here on reducing food and plastic waste: This is, she says, “a way of eating that helps the planet.”

VA VOOM VEGAN CAKES by Angela Romeo (Ryland Peters & Small £16.99, 144 pp)

VA VOOM VEGAN CAKES by Angela Romeo (Ryland Peters & Small £16.99, 144 pp)


by Angela Romeo (Ryland Peters & Small £16.99, 144 pages)

Making a melt-in-your-mouth cake without eggs, butter, or milk is quite a challenge, but this great book shows how it can be done.

It’s filled with over 50 vegan and bakery cakes, from rose petal chocolate cake to gin and tonic tray, and there’s a recipe for eggless meringue using aquafaba, the liquid from chickpeas, in place of egg whites. A book that delights even non-vegetarians.

cooking book

by Nigel Slater (4th Estate, £30, 512 pages)

Reading Nigel Slater is like meeting up with an old friend. Few cookery writers draw you into their lives in exactly the same way.

This great book, a compilation of his most popular recipes, is packed with clever ways with chicken, easy stews, and healthy salads plus classic pudding.

Nothing here is too complicated, because Slater’s motto is “Let’s make something good for dinner and enjoy ourselves.”


by Matt Thibaut (Quadrill £22, 224 pages)

Chef Matt Tebbott, presenter of BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, believes that weekends are all about entertaining meals, whether it’s brunch, a family barbecue or Sunday brunch.

His recipes include many different cuisines, so you’ll find Alpine-style stuffed bread, American Cobb salad, Cape Malay lamb curry, and apricot tart. This is a fun and relaxing cooking for people who enjoy experimenting with different tastes and flavours.

FINCH BAKERY by Lauren and Rachel Finch (DK £20, 239 pp)

FINCH BAKERY by Lauren and Rachel Finch (DK £20, 239 pp)

Finch Bakery

by Lauren and Rachel Finch (20 DKK, 239 p.)

The Finch Sisters, the social media stars who run a bakery in Lancashire, have made their name with treats like string cake, red velvet muffin sandwiches, and their iconic layered muffin tins.

Their first book guides you through making scones with eye-catching cream and playful taste combinations — lemon blondes and berries, anyone?

A cookbook for young bakers who want to make cakes on Instagram.

From the vegetable patch

by Cathy Slack (Ebury £25, 287 pp)

Kathy Slack is a food writer and enthusiastic vegetable grower who manages to combine both of her passions in this wonderful book, with chapters built around everyday produce like zucchini, beans, kale, tomatoes, and pears.

From pea and paneer curry to beetroot cheesecake with green chutney, the recipes positively burst with freshness. An inspiring guide for anyone who wants to get more fruits and vegetables in their diet.

smoke chase

By Sarit Bakker and Itamar Srulovic (wing £26, 243dpi)

The authors run Honey & Smoke, a popular London restaurant specializing in grilled Middle Eastern food, and believe that grilling gives the food a unique flavor.

Chasing Smoke is not only an amazing original cookbook, but also a travel story dealing with the kitchens of Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Egypt and Greece.

The recipes are clearly explained, and although they may sound weird, they don’t require a lot of fancy ingredients.

To buy any book on these pages For a 10% discount visit www. or Call 020 3176 2937

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