Category: Read

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Easy Entertaining by Darina Allen ****

A book that you will return to again and again Coming back from New Zealand, I keep getting told that “staying in is the new going out” and this would seem to be borne out by the publication of both Darina Allen’s Easy Entertaining and her daughter-in-law Rachel Allen’s Favourite Food For Friends within a few weeks of each other in late 2005.

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Georgina Campbell’s Ireland: The Best of The Best ****

Comprehensive While the internet has undoubtedly simplified the matter of finding holiday accommodation, it’s never at hand (unless, of course, you’ve got your portable internet device nearby) when you’re on the road, looking for a decent bite to eat and somewhere to stay at short notice. Situations like these that make you thankful for having a guide book into the glove-box of your car and Georgina Campbell‘s guides to Ireland are useful tomes for such eventualities.

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Roast Figs, Sugar Snow by Diana Henry ****

Evocative and personalDerry woman and Sunday Telegraph food writer Diana Henry has again come up trumps with her latest book, Roast Figs, Sugar Snow. Her first cookbook, Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, focused on the tastes and enchantments of the Middle East, Mediterranean and North Africa. With praise from Claudia Roden and its appearance twice on the Glenfiddich award shortlist, it became an instant classic.

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Fresh and Wild Cookbook by Ysanne Spevack

Undeniably healthy and often intriguing British organic and Fair Trade food chain Fresh and Wild teamed up with organic expert Ysanne Spevack, editor of online organic food magazine organicfood.co.uk, to produce this cookbook. It’s both worthy and worthwhile, but sometimes Spevack’s party political broadcasts on behalf of Fresh and Wild do get a little tiresome, especially when there’s only a limited amount of the shops to go around.

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The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants 2006 & The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay 2006 by John and Sally McKenna ****

The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants With 15 years of eating and sleeping the length and breadth of the country in a tireless quest for the best of the best, John and Sally McKenna have it down to a fine art. This year’s editions of The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants and The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay are as wonderfully opinionated and idiosyncratic as ever. And also, very importantly, they are independent. The McKennas and their travelling editors pay for their own meals and accommodation, refusing – as they note at the start of each book – any offers of discounts or gifts.

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The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants 2006 & The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay 2006 by John and Sally McKenna ****

The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants With 15 years of eating and sleeping the length and breadth of the country in a tireless quest for the best of the best, John and Sally McKenna have it down to a fine art. This year’s editions of The Bridgestone 100 Best Restaurants and The Bridgestone 100 Best Places to Stay are as wonderfully opinionated and idiosyncratic as ever. And also, very importantly, they are independent. The McKennas and their travelling editors pay for their own meals and accommodation, refusing – as they note at the start of each book – any offers of discounts or gifts.

Nigel for Christmas 0

Nigel for Christmas

Now that the turkey has settled, the Cranberry Sauce eaten and the crackers pulled it’s time to get round to reading through the pile of Christmas books, top of which is Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries. It was difficult, but I managed to hold out till Christmas to get my hands on it. My Cuisine subscription has started too – I discovered the magazine had arrived at home and been placed underneath the tree! – although it does seem strange to read descriptions of picnic and barbeque food while we’re surrounded by late December freezing fog. Not that it’ll stop me from enjoying the magazine, though. Now it’s time to dig out a selection box, pull the big armchair up to the fire and get stuck in to reading. Happy lazy Christmas!