Posts Tagged ‘cookery books’

My Most Well Worn Cookbooks

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

I don’t know whether it is when you really learned how to cook that determines what are your favourite books, or whether some books are just better than others.  However, I noticed recently how I still keep on going back to a few cookery books that I have simply had for ages.  They are really well worn, with the stains of tried and tested dishes on really special and popular recipes.

For me, the classics that I still find irreplaceable are: “Floyd on France“, “Floyd on Britain and Ireland“, Sophie Grigson’s “Meat Course“, a few books by Maddhur Jaffrey’s “Indian Cookery”, and then I use Elisabeth Luard’s “European Peasant Cookery”, Reader’s Digest “Farmhouse Cookery”.  Then for Christmas and other special occasions, I turn to – Claire MacDonald’s “Celebrations” and Delia Smith’sChristmas” for inspiration.

I’ve got stacks of cookery books, but were I to go to a desert island these are the books that I would take with me, plus perhaps some books by Ray Mears, so I would be actually be able to build a shelter, forage for food and practise my survival skills.

What books could you not live without?

The Best Christmas Cookery Books

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

As part of our occassional series on our favourite books, I thought I would give you some of my favourite cookery books for the festive season. 

The first one is a secret, and we all have these, because it’s the family recipes that have been handed down from mother to daughter and now (in the age of equal opportunities) to sons as well.  And those recipes will largely stay a secret, so sorry!

Other cook books include:

My favourite has to be “Celebrations” by Claire Macdonald of Macdonald as it’s stuffed full of fantastic recipes and meal plans for everything from Christenings to Funerals and has a great countdown to Christmas and New Year.  My copy, which was given to me by my mother-in-law, has pages falling out of it now as it has been well thumbed.  Claire Macdonald also is a favourite because she has been so very kind to Steenbergs over the years, and for that I thank her from the bottom of my heart.

Next is a posthumous work of Elizabeth David’s called “Elizabeth David’s Christmas” and as always is erudite and inspiring.  I find the section on Poultry and Game the best and most luscious of all, especially her classic rendition of “Pork and chestnut stuffing” and also her “Cassoulet of Turkey” is a wonderful way to deal with turkey that’s different from the usual slam it in the oven.

Then, although she is not one of my favourites generally is “Delia Smith’s Christmas” by (yes you’ve got it) Delia Smith.  I think she is really good in this book on Canapés and Nibbles, especially liking her “Savoury cheese palmiers with ham and anchovies” which have been a family staple for Christmas Eve now for at least 10 years.  She also has a really useful countdown to Christmas.  The rest is okay.

All of these are available via

Claire Macdonald:

Elizabeth David:

Delia Smith: