Still searching for last-minute presents? Whether you're dashing down to your local bookstore or - ahem - doing a quick online shop with a rather large retailer, here's our pick of what any self-respecting foodie would love to find under the Christmas tree this year.
Black Axe Mangal is one of our personal favourite restaurants in London and we think this is a must-own book. Kicking off with a potted history of the restaurant, there's are also in-depth guides to grilling, smoking and bread (and how to replicate their amazing bread at home). If you're looking to create a bit of BAM in your own kitchen, there are recipes for Vietnamese scrambled eggs, The BAM reuben, foie gras and blackberry doughnuts, the Bakken special and the AMAZING squid ink sourdough with smoked cod's roe. All that and utterly bonkers pics throughout.
Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver
The legendary St John restaurant is 25 years old this year and (together with Bread and Wine) has been responsible for training up and inspiring some of the very best chefs in London (including Lee Tiernan above). So if you wanted to know a little more about the restaurant and the key processes they've developed, this is the book for you. Yes, the Beef Mince on Dripping Toast recipe is in there. There's also a chapter on nose-to-tail pig eating as well as dessert classics like Steamed Syrup Sponge and floating islands (we LOVE floating islands).
Shaun Searley, Dan Morgenthau, Will Lander
This year the Quality Chop House celebrated 150 years as a restaurant and while the current team clearly hasn't been around that long, it may well be the best yet. There's a potted history of the building in this book - but we jumped ahead to a few key recipes. Whipped cod's roe? Check. The AMAZING confit potatoes? Yes, they're in there. The best pork pies in London. Oh yes (they'll take some perfecting). All that, the pig fat cannoli from Quality Wines and a whole lot more.
Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar, Naved Nasir
Can't face the queue at Dishoom? Then try out their book. The ever-popular restaurant group starts its book with a guide to Bombay, the city that has inspired their restaurants (we loved the map of Bombay that's stuck to the inside cover). After that it'll take you through a series of their hits from breakfast through to first, second and third dinners. There's a large section all about their breads and also about the key pastes and masalas you'll need. And yes, the amazing bacon naan is in there too, of course.
This is the book for the multitasker - someone who just wants to throw something in the oven whilst getting on with work, looking after the kids, mixing cocktails for a supper party, you name it. From simple suppers to more ornate dinner party offerings, the key here is that the oven is doing most of the work for you. We've already had a go at the Greek chicken with orzo, feta and tomatoes and it was not only very easy to make, but a wonderful, low-effort dish for when friends pop over. We can see this book being dog-eared and splattered with food stains before long - the sign of a well-used book.
The latest book from the esteemed Jose Pizarro takes us on a trip around Southern Spain. Many of the recipes here have Moorish influences and the eight provinces of Andalucia all have their own special dish. Recipes include Pork loin with pear and hazelnuts and a boozy Barbary fig margarita. And yes, you really should be making these recipes with a glass of sherry in hand.
MiMi Aye's wonderful book on Burmese cooking threads together tales from her own family's history with recipes that showcase what makes the food from this region so special. If you're new to it, this is the perfect introduction to a cuisine that draws from its neighbours in Thailand, India and China while making dishes that are quite unique. MiMi gives detailed descriptions of ingredients, techniques and recipes - giving the home cook all the tools, tips and - most of all - inspiration to make these dishes themselves.
Sabrina Ghayour's books are instant bestsellers and this latest tome is no exception. This one focuses on vegetarian food, designed to showcase how strong Middle Eastern cuisine is in this respect. Recipes include grilled halloumi flatbreads, roast vegetable bastilla and potato, ricotta & herb dumplings. If you're looking for a great vegetarian cookbook this year - this should definitely be on your list.
At the time of writing, McMaster has just opened his Silo restaurant in London to much praise (not least from us) but he's been at the forefront of the UK's no-waste movement for some time. Here, he outlines the ethos behind that, as well as demonstrating how it can be put into practice with a selection of recipes. If you're looking to embrace the no-waste ethos in your own cooking, you should read this.
Cookbook author John Gregory Smith may be a born and bred Londoner, but he's best known for his books celebrating the food of the Middle East and North Africa. His latest, Saffron in the Souk takes readers on a tour of Lebanon starting with loads of small dishes for the perfect meze spread and working through street food to Syrian pasta. We'd want to start with the breakfast flatbread of ground lamb and an egg that he describes as “essentially a Druze McMuffin". The pictures are particularly gorgeous too - you'll be booking a trip there before you know it.
Ben Tish was one of the driving forces behind Salt Yard for years but this year saw him opening his first solo restaurant in Fitzrovia with Norma. Both that restaurant and this book look to North African and Mediterranean influences with this book showcasing his own interpretations. From snacks to slow-cooked dishes, this will give you a taste of Norma at home.
Near Old Street, Alex Jackson's Sardine has established itself as a prime restaurant in the area. His cookbook mimics the focus of the restaurant - it's all about Provencal cooking, with recipes organised by season - each ending in a Grande Bouffe, the sharing feasts that the restaurant is renowned for. Dishes include how to make the perfect Bouillabaisse and - of course - grilled sardines.
They only opened their first London restaurant early in 2019 but the Big Mamma group have already seen success over here with Gloria and Circolo Popolare. Of course, they've been a big deal in Paris for some time and this book focuses on some of their biggest hits. So if you want to know how to make their enormous tiramisu or Double Choco Love, this is the book for you.
At the time of writing, Daniel Humm's Davies and Brook has only just opened in Claridge's. But if you're unfamiliar with the chef to date - and he's a huge name in the States - this will get you up to speed. It's the book of his flagship New York restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, which has topped the World's 50 Best list. This updated book has added 30 new recipes as well as covering the recent restaurant renovations. If you want to know more about one of the world's top chefs, start here.
Christine Muhlke, Richard Vines, Susan Jung, Andrea Petrini, Howie Kahn, Pat Nourse, Diego Salazar
This collection gathers together some of the defining dishes and recipes from 200 of the word's best restaurants, featuring key recipes from restaurants like The Fat Duck to Brat and St John - as well as the origins of classics like the Big Mac, the Cronut, peach melba, avocado toast and more. It's also a gorgeous looking book - and would make a cracking present for a restaurant obsessive.
Nathan Outlaw had a hit new opening in London this year with Siren, the first restaurant added to The Goring hotel in 100 years. This book focuses on his flagship restaurant in Cornwall's Port Isaac, which was The Good Food Guide's best restaurant this year. This book takes you through a year of the restaurant in recipes, with seasonal seafood recipes tonight. We fancy the idea of cuttlefish fritters, we have to say.
As Judy Joo gets ready to open her new restaurant Seoul Bird, this book features 100 recipes of Korean comfort food, with a few twists along the way. So you'll see recipes for Philly Cheesesteak dumplings and a full English–inspired Bibimbap bowl alongside plenty of kimchi.
Marcus Wareing may be best known for his high end Marcus restaurant in The Berkeley, but this book sees him going back to basics with a book focusing on home cooking. As well as quick and useful recipes, from quick fridge bites to home baking, he also tells you how to cook the perfect steak and how to make the perfect omelette. Handy.
Looking for more books? Check out our round-up of the best cookbooks of 2018
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