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Cookbooks you’ll fall in love with…

‘More than just a mantra, “cook, eat, repeat” is the story of my life’ . Nigella’s new book is an utterly delicious combination of recipes, essays, and ideas. It’s so much more than just a recipe book … it’s Nigella’s love affair with food and family. There’s fancy(ish) … beetroot, rhubarb and ginger soup, and pasta with clams and bottarga; comfort … marrowbone mince, and lasagne of love; simple … a fish finger sandwich with old-school bread, a squirt of Japanese mayo and hot sauce and iceberg lettuce is her go-to meal when she’s harried, hungry and has no time to cook. And after a busy day, or to kick off a cocktail party – a mean, green, dirty martini. Cook, Eat, Repeat … a foodie joy!

Not only is pork one of the most versatile meats, it’s one of the leanest, healthiest meat proteins and – hugely important in our current economic climate – offers the best value for money. Oink! by Billy Forssman, with contributions from local food celebs, is a celebration of pork’s wide range of flavours and textures. It’s all about the smell of bacon sizzling (best wake-up call ever), about Sunday roasts with perfect crackling and weekend braais. The Perfect Pork Cookbook … scrumptious.

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What with the lockdown, then the festive holidays, some of us have a little extra weight we’d like to lose. And if you’re a banting fan, and one of the many who bought the popular Banting 7 Day Meal Plans but wanted more vegetarian options … here we go. Banting 7 Day Meal Plans Vegetarian, has 100 great recipes, and the authors, Rita Venter, Natalie Lawson and Kim Blom, show you it is possible to follow a low-carb, banting or keto lifestyle while observing the choice to not eat meat.

We’d eat Italian every night if we could … and it would be jolly easy with The Vegetarian Silver Spoon cookbook, crammed with classic and contemporary Italian recipes. From snacks and small plate ideas to pizzas and soups, pastas and crêpes, veggie tarts and grains to sweet, sweet desserts, this book is just page after page after glorious page of heavenly Italian dishes – all of which are vegetarian, some dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan, too.

 

Oh … we do love a pie. Comfort food at its best. And let’s face it, we’re all needing a little comfort these days. The Pie Room boasts as being the definitive pie bible from self-confessed pastry deviant, chef and London’s King of Pies, Calum Franklin, who guides you through the techniques and tools you need to perfect pastry, then presents a whole host of delicious recipes … sweet and savoury. There are light options for us to make now in Summer (the Moroccan chickpea and feta pie is delish); child-friendly family meal options (mac ‘n’ cheese pie, anyone?); and showstoppers (the venison and bone marrow suet pie is a proper show-off meal). Also loads of old faves … think the ultimate sausage roll, hot pork pies, vol-au-vents, lamb hotpot and more. Great puds – the fig, honey and pistachio clafoutis is a winner, as well as side dishes and sauces. Yum, yum, yum.

 

A TABLE FOR FRIENDS is the most delightful book. It celebrates the joy of eating with friends and family, with loads of simple but wonderfully inviting recipes. Skye McAlpine says her table is always filled with family, friends and whoever she can persuade to join her for lunch or dinner – squeezing more of them than really comfortable around the table in their kitchen … which is exactly how she likes it. She shares her secrets to her stylish but relaxed way of hosting … writing about low-effort starters, laying the table, washing up (don’t do it until the next morning) … and all her recipes include her suggestions on what to serve with each dish. Lovely no-fuss, unpretentious food (she has ‘a really good green salad’, and ‘a really good tomato salad’ ) … and there’s everything from last-minute late-night dinners to large and festive celebratory gatherings. If we had to select just one, this would be our top cookbook choice. Brilliant.

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