Published 7 May 2021
by Lisa Markwell
CODE’s editor Lisa Markwell talks us through spring’s best food books
As you might expect if you’ve been to Max’s Sandwich Shop or bought the previous book, this is quite gonzo. But this themed collection of recipes for “sixteen fictional picnics” is, at its heart, truly creative and with some clever recipes. I love the idea of a Vegas Legends picnic and Halley and Benton’s take on fast food is just dreamy. There are also essential hacks which take the pain out of prepping a whole bunch of food and carting into a field. Break out the blankets and get involved…
£16.99, Hardie Grant
You may argue that some of the chefs chosen as emerging are already pretty well known – Neil Borthwick, Tomos Parry, Josh Niland – but there’s no doubting that this weighty tome from Phaidon is a terrific collection of talents. What makes it really interesting is that the choices are truly global and so – when travel is back – this gives a brilliant tick-list for restaurants to visit all over the world, where brilliant chefs are creating stunning food – and there are plenty of recipes too.
The generosity of chefs during the pandemic is well known, and this book, which has been out for a little while, is just one example. 54 big-name chefs share the food they cook at home for family and the results are really delightful – as Jason Atherton says, “think butties and mash, not soils and emulsions”. Angela Hartnett’s apple pie is as heartwarming as it is delicious. The proceeds from Chefs At Home all go to Hospitality Action so the book is well worth buying.
£26, Jon Croft Editions
Clad in the signature Fortnum & Mason eau de nil, this book is in conjunction with the celebrated “grocers” down on Piccadilly. Parker Bowles is now well established as a collaborator, and brings wit and charm to the collection of teatime recipes. If you’re thinking crustless cucumber sandwiches and Victoria sponge, think again. The dishes include rather more modish-matcha layer cake and baked brill with lobster and champagne sauce.
£20, Fourth Estate
Yasmin Khan brings everything that food touches into this, her latest book. Politics, history, geography, culture… it’s all there in this book on the eastern Mediterranean region. Many of the recipes are inspired by and a celebration of the migrants and refugees who have moved to and around the area so it’s an eclectic and delicious range of dishes on offer. However the real power of Ripe Figs is in it writing, which lets the reader know just how much we should respect and support those in need, to whose food heritage we owe so much.
This book has had a lot of love already on social media by friends and admirers of the Bristol-based chef. And rightly so, it’s a beautifully shot recipe book with the kind of imaginative and just-cheffy-enough recipes that will appeal. I loved the look of carrot jellies (shaped and flavoured) and salt-baked celeriac and almond curry. Vegetable-led recipes are to the fore, while there are meat and fish supporting acts on display too. It makes me want to head to Howell’s restaurant Root ASAP.
The subtitle of the latest book from the Honey & Co powerhouse couple is ‘cooking over fire around the Levant’ and is as much a celebration of travel as it is of food. Through Sarit and Itamar’s writing, the reader is taken inside people’s houses, to the beach, to parties and to markets, all hugely evocative and hunger-inducing. The recipes themselves are wide-ranging and flavour-packed.
Tarragon and olive oil ice cream? Yes please. This book, which is extremely pleasing to hold and to look at, is also that rare thing – a very useful collection of advice and recipes which also has real personality. Diacono, whose last book was a paean to ‘sour’, writes with knowledge and wit about the growing, storing and cooking of all manner of herbs. Expect to have your horizons wildly expanded as to herbs which enhance food and to want to cook almost everything right away.
Unlike chefs, I feel like I get a small fraction of its potential uses out of my Big Green Egg. This book, but master griller and meat expert James Whetlor, is here to help for people like me, and maybe you. From set up to advanced recipes, this book is clear and precise with far, far more than just how to cook a chunk of protein. I loved the sound of tartifeltte, paella with snails and honey and pistachio pastilla, for instance. In addition, within the book you’ll find advice on fuels to use, care of your BGE and much more. Oh and the cover is dimpled, just like the Eggs themselves. Cute.