So, I am addicted to MasterChef Professional. I can't decide whether I like it better than the usual Masterchef, but I am enjoying being incredibly scathing when the contestants can't do something simple like joint a chicken (like I can ..cough cough ahem) or cook their green beans properly. I am also mildly obsessed by CHEF Michel's rolling eyes and Gregg Wallace's unlikely dimple. Anyway - what that led onto was thinking about my favourite cookbooks, and the writers who I rely on again and again to do something interesting from the organic veg box. So in that vein here are my list of most loved and stained cookery books:
Anna Del Conte - Applecake and Artichokes - this book is lovely and my favourite discover from it is a warm salad of cauliflower with a pinenut and anchovy dressing. Worth it for that alone.
Nigel Slater - Real Fast Food got me through uni, then my little bro stole my copy. A lovely colleague replaced it for me and I haven't let it out of my hot little grasp since. This book, and Appetite are the regular weekday dinner inspirations - lentils with spinach and lemon and everyday soup being top stained pages. His roast chicken is the husband's favourite way to do a roast and I'm certainly not complaining.
Simon Hopkinson and Lindsey Bareham - Roast Chicken and Other stories. A slender volume, and very partial to offilish items, but some favourites including my chosen way to do roast chicken, as well as vinegar chicken which is an elegant fast dinner.
The Times Calender Cookbook - Katie Stewart. This one is out of print, but was one of the first cookbooks I used as a child. The falling apart paperback that my mother owned, was swapped for her mother's hardback when her mother died and I actually wailed when I discovered the paperback had been sent to Oxfam. The following Christmas I was given a hardback copy of my own and it has been in solid use ever since. Great for simple classic baking and general childhood nostalgia.
Rick Stein's Food Heroes - a few really loved recipes - our favourite is Lamb Naverin - a very good dinner party special.
English Food - Jane Grigson - the best recipe for yorkshire pudding I've ever used. Worth it for that alone, as well as the fascinating historical recipes.
That's all for now - but do let me know what recipe books you can't live without - or what you think of Gregg Wallace's patented fork technique...