Cooking With Coco
By Anna Del Conte (£18.99, Chatto & Windus)
"If I tell you that I have already bought 25 copies of this book to give to friends, even before my Christmas shopping is underway, you might understand how passionately I feel about this title. I have always been a fan of Anna del Conte and have written about her and her importance to me before, but this book is quite a departure for her, being the first book that includes non-Italian recipes. One of them, the upside down sausage and onion pie, has already added itself to my weekend supper repertoire, and there are many more. And on top of the cook-me-now recipes, the writing is beautiful and enormously moving, as Anna tells of cooking with her food-obsessed grand-daughter."
Made In Sicily
By Giorgio Locatelli (£30, 4th Estate)
"I adored Giorgio’s first book, Made in Italy, and feared that his second couldn’t live up to it – but it does, it really does. I am happy to lie on the sofa reading this, and happy being in the kitchen cooking from it. Many recipes are perhaps more complicated than I would consider tackling every day, but even so they inspire and I find even recipes I don’t exactly follow lead me into the kitchen. I love his tone as much as his palate."
Flash Cooking: Fit Fast Flavours For Busy People
By Laura Santini (£20, Quadrille)
"This is just the sort of food and cooking I really love: full of flavour without being finicky, and inventive without being novelty-seeking. I am someone rather partial to marinating and so Santini's style is right up my street – may I advise you try the Venison Tagliata with Juniper and Rosemary? – but I think her approach for the discerning but exhausted must be pretty well universally attractive. It is certainly highly recommended!"
Bill's Everyday Asian
By Bill Granger (£20, Quadrille)
"I love Bill Granger, I love Asian food, I am a keen proponent of the express method, so this book is an unsurprising favourite. In order to make cooking from this book as easy as is intended, you do need to do a comprehensive Asian-flavours shopping trip, but once you have your ingredients, you are ready to be inspired. As ever, this is a book with a no-worries Ozzie attitude and packed to the Pacific-rim with flavour."
Super Natural Every Day
By Heidi Swanson (£12.74, Hardie Grant)
"This book is a real revelation, presenting vegetarian food with freshness, vigour and taste (in both senses of the term). Although it comes from Northern California, it translates with ease (and a bout of concentrated shopping) to the British kitchen. It is written with charm and enthusiasm, and the photographs (taken by the author herself) are beautiful and inspiring. My favourite recipes are the yogurt biscuits (US terminology – think flakey scone-type buns), multigrain pancakes with blackberry and ginger compote and the macaroon tart and the chick pea wraps – but that’s only so far…"
By Jacob Kennedy (£30, Bloomsbury)
"As someone who not only has a wall groaning (happily) with Italian cookery books, but is actually working on one of her own, you'd think I'd have little room for another title dedicated to the food of Italy. Not so - and besides, no one interested in the subject would want to be without Jacob Kennedy's compendious and inspirational volume. The book is full (but not too full) of traditional regional favourites and introduces recipes that are perhaps not quite so familiar, too. Anyone wanting ideas for seasonal feasting might consider his shaved radish and celeriac salad with pomegranate, Pecorino and truffle oil and Mont Blanc Semifreddo. I certainly am."
Main picture credit: JP Masclet