The Friday Five – in praise of toast


In praise of toast


Ok, I’m a day late, National Toast Day was yesterday. But who doesn’t love a delicious slice of toast?

So, whilst I am sure these are not the first cookbooks you’d rush out to buy, given their single inspiration, if you love your toast, then these could take that love to the next level.

Toast: The Cookbook


Toast the Cookbook

Well, it’s not the most imaginative title, but it’s a good place to start. Fifty recipes, sweet and savoury, for each season, it also includes some celebrity chef contributions including people like Fergus Henderson. Guessing that might be the bone marrow on toast, but maybe not. Beautiful looking, and actually the recipes look interesting and tasty. Spicy pepperoni butter sounds like a good topping to toast any day.


Posh Toast


Posh Toast


These are apparently recipes for glorious things on toast, not just any old thing. Whipped gorgonzola, rocket and honey drizzle on toast definitely sounds a step up from my usual Cheddar on toast. According to the blurb though, the trend for posh toppings begin in San Francisco…I’m not convinced. I mean, surely good pate on toast counts as posh? Well, it does in this house!


Things on Toast


Things on Toast


Things on toast are my favourite standby meal, but this would help get you a bit beyond the staples of cheese, beans or scrambled eggs. This covers you from breakfast to supper, savoury to sweet, with everything from poached eggs with chilli and chorizo through to griddled steak with anchovy butter. A bit more cooking involved with this, but that’s definitely no bad thing.


Toast: Homage to a Super Food


Toast: Homage to a superfood


That title will have the clean eating brigade choking on their quinoa and kale smoothie! We eat more toast than any other food in the UK apparently, and Nick Parker the author wanted us to stop undervaluing its role in our daily diet. Part love story, part recipe book, this is a great gift for someone who really, really loves their toast.






Shortest main title, but longest sub title, which is “Tartines, open sandwiches, bruschetta, canapés, artisanal toasts and more”. Which should pretty much cover it! Beautiful photography and layout, quite minimalistic in approach, but very tasty sounding recipes. Some great ingredients make their way into this one, like burrata and fresh figs. Lots of inspiration.

So whether you go posh toast, or just the comfort of a toasted square of cheap white bread (which is my food vice) then go ahead, get toasting and celebrate the toasted carb in all its glory. What’s your favourite thing to toast?


The Friday Five – Healthy eating, no fads allowed


Healthy eating, no fads allowed


I don’t have a great record on healthy eating books, or certainly those of a certain mindset around “healthy” eating. Deliciously Ella lasted about 2 days in my house, and a book with a recipe for unicorn fuel is my worst cookbook of the year.

But, it’s January, and many of us are thinking about how we could eat a bit more healthily, whether for health or vanity. These ones are ones that tick the boxes in that they do have proper recipes in (although one may have avocado on toast as a recipe, close call) and are quite clearly geared up to people who like to eat and like to cook.

Jamie Oliver Super Food Family Classics


Jamie Oliver Super Food Family Classics


I’m not the biggest Jamie Oliver fan, I’ve had a number of his books over the years but none have stayed in the house too long. I was given this one though, and MGG and I have cooked from it a lot. It’s an interesting read, as well as good recipes, and is definitely geared to busy family life. We loved the pesto and curry paste recipes, these are all in the freezer. The only nay from us was the Butternut Squash Mac’n’Cheese. In MGG’s view, some things are not meant to be healthy.


Fitness Food/Fitness Gourmet


Fitness Food


Took me a few moments to work out this is exactly the same book, just in hardback and paperback. I liked this when I reviewed the original version, other than the incident with the coconut pancakes. Still avoid that one, the recipe looks to be exactly the same between the editions. It’s easy to follow, you can work out how to dial up dishes if it’s just you on reduced calories and you’ve got growing teens to cater for too.


Cook Nourish Glow


Cook Nourish Glow


Amelia Freer’s second book, and I thought that with my history I was straying into dangerous territory here. But I managed to get all the way through without one FFS, so pretty good going. There is quite a bit of raw kale, which is a no go with us, but there are plenty of tasty things like chicken breast with ginger and apricot stuffing, or halibut ceviche. I like her writing style, she talks as a fellow adult, and there are plenty of well known people who will testify to the success of her approach.


Ready Steady Glow


Ready Steady Glow


I’m going to get these two confused. Both second books, this one by Madeleine Shaw is about wheat and sugar free, and well written. Although I can live without a yoga routine in my cookbooks if I’m honest, but it’s right at the back so you can skip it. Apricots and chicken feature again, but also something different like slow roast beef cheeks with celeriac mash. Sounds like perfect winter cooking to me, just with healthy overtones.


Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet


Tom Kerridge's Dopamine Diet


Okay, this one isn’t out for a few more days, and I haven’t seen anything of it other than what is on Amazon. Well, that and the change in Tom’s appearance. Let’s face it, he’s about a third of the man he was, but you can’t imagine he’s been living on rice cakes and almond butter. I’m know he’s been putting in the hours at the gym as well (I have a great story about him and a friend of mine in the sauna at the gym…nothing remotely mucky, all about getting a table at the Hand & Flowers), but I reckon if this worked for Tom then it must be good, and very tasty. I mean, you won’t think you’re on a diet if you’re eating braised beef with horseradish or Chinese pork hot pot. I may well have to order this one and give it a go.


Whilst I’m definitely gearing up to eat more healthily this year, I’m also not going to eat joyless food. Finding healthy food with taste is the goal, along with an awful lot more movement. Don’t wish to be a bore but loving my FitBit, really is making me think about how long I’m sat still for. Talking of which, time to move!



The Friday Five – the best cookbooks of 2016 around the world


Your own library of cookbooks


It’s no secret that I love cookbooks, and I love to give cookbooks as gifts. With so much choice though, it can be completely overwhelming, which is why those best of lists are so helpful. My only challenge is that they can be a little bit samey, from the same voices. So, I’ve looked a bit further afield to see what publications around the web have offered their readers, and taken my choices from there.


Better Baking: wholesome ingredients, delicious desserts


Better Baking by Genevieve Ko – from the Washington Post’s list, starting off with a baking book, but one that focuses on different flours, fats and sweeteners. A Melting Walnut Snowball sounds like perfect Christmas baking to me. Good to see some UK talent makes the list, including Chetna Makan and Diana Henry. Was also a close run thing to make this entry Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten, as I do love these two. Maybe order both?


Food52: a new way to dinner


Food52 A New Way to Dinner – up to Canada now for this list from the Ottawa Citizen. Again, good to see Diana Henry on the list, but I’ve chosen this one from the team at Food52. This is to tackle weekday dinners, the just feed us all now kind of dinners. Each of the sections gives you the recipes and the shopping lists, and gives you weekday choices, many that riff one off the next so you can always work out what to do with leftover ingredients. Great for busy working people who like to cook for themselves.


Meathead: The Science of Great Grilling


Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling – this one comes from Wired’s list of cookbooks of 2016, not a publication I would have expected to have this feature but a really interesting list if you’re looking for books that do the science of cooking as well as tasty dishes. If you’ve got a really keen grillmaster or mistress to buy for, this book would up their game to a whole new level, not to mention giving them some new recipes to go at. Expect a lot of conversations about the benefits of reverse searing.


All Under Heaven


All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China – as you might expect from the Bay area, this is a fabulous book of Chinese recipes from across this huge country, written by a San Francisco based food blogger and writer. From the San Francisco Times list, this is described as detailed and academic, hefty but a pleasure to read. Definitely one for those who love their Chinese food authentic and varied.


An: To Eat


An: To Eat – finally, from Gear Patrol’s list, comes this exploration of Vietnamese cooking from Helene An. Exploring her family’s story through cooking, this gives over 100 recipes including things like oven-roasted lemongrass chicken and slow roasted pork shoulder. In fact all the books on the Gear Patrol list were a bit different and, with the exception of Tim Anderson’s book, not ones that I’d come across before.

So, some different choices, some different lists and possible extra brownie points on Christmas Day. Or some extra books on your own bookshelves. I consider that a win either way.


The Friday Five – Back to school and learning new cooking skills


Back to school time: what new cooking skill will you learn?


It’s that time of year, pretty much every school is now back, and you might even be considering night school. If you’re not up for evening classes, but want to learn a new school then here are five books for learning new cooking, brewing and possibly eating and drinking skills.


Learn to cook wheat, gluten and dairy free


Learn to Cook Wheat, Gluten and Dairy Free by Antoinette Savill

If free from is about to be a thing for you, through need or want, then a good cookbook is probably a great start, as there will be some some new things to know when you start cooking without things you might have been cooking with all your life to date. This gives you 100 recipes step by step, and includes my favourite thing in a cookbook: a photo of every finished dish.




Bakeclass: Learn to bake brilliantly step by step by Anneka Manning

Bake Off is back, so baking is high on the conversation agenda, and everyone wondering how to bake half the stuff on there. For a more down to earth starting point, then I like this book from Anneka Manning. I like that this gives you the building blocks of the ten most common mixing methods, as that gives you the knowledge and skill to take your baking in any direction. Even to the Bake Off tent.


Brew Better Beer


Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen

Home brewing is definitely back, and I love that this book is about learning the rules, and how to break them for a huge variety of beer styles. A bit like Bakeclass, this would be a great leaping off point once you’ve got some good basic knowledge. You’ll probably have something ready in time for Christmas if you start now.


How to Smoke Meat


How to Smoke Meat by Martha Stephenson

You might be thinking end of the summer, BBQ’s back in the garage and the smoky flavours are over. Well, this book might help you think differently. I think it would be a pretty impressive thing to serve up to friends a platter of smoked meats that you’ve made yourself. It would also give you something else to do with the turkey leftovers at Christmas!


Learn to Spice Up Your Food


Learn to Spice Up Your Food by Gordon Rock

This is not about spicy food, but certainly food with flavours, and lots of them. It’s one of those things I often think about when watching Bake Off, as there’s normally one person at least who really pushes the flavour combinations. With knowledge to share, and recipes to work through, then it’s a practical guide that you’ll want to get stuck into.


So, if you could learn a new cooking skill, what would it be? Or what have you learned recently? I’d love to know.


The Friday Five – Summer Party Time


Bring on the summer parties


It’s that time of year when we have a handful of birthdays to celebrate and also the thought of just gathering a few, or even a lot of, friends around the big table outside to celebrate the one decent day of sunshine of the summer. I don’t need much excuse to cook for a group, and often serve them up new dishes.

Let’s face it, they’re my loved ones, so you’d hope they’d forgive the occasional recipe mishap.

Yes, Mat, I know, you hated my gluten free bread.

It was 8 years ago.

I think you have to let it go.

So, if you fancy some inspiration for a big gathering, here’s five great books to give you plenty of ideas to keep you entertained as a cook, not just your guests.


Cook up a Feast with Mary Berry & Lucy Young


Cook up a Feast

Let’s face it, Mary Berry has definitely cooked up a few gatherings in her time, and given how long her writing relationship with Lucy has been, then these two know a thing about tried and tested crowd pleasing dishes. I mean, bacon and water chestnut bites with mango chutney sound like my kind of nibble to stave people off whilst I’m finishing off cooking. And a Moroccan platter sounds like a good sharing plate. What’s lovely about Mary’s books are that it’s a little bit of everything good to eat, not in loads of depth but enough to give you some great dishes.


Mezze: Small Plates to Share


Mezze – Small Plates to Share by Ghillie Basan

Now, this title desribes exactly the kind of thing I love to serve for a get together. I love Mediterranean flavours, and a platter of great dips and good breads, maybe some cold meats, some feta and watermelon…well, it’s summer on a platter to me. There are recipes for cold and hot dishes, as well as sweet, so something for everyone. Or just make a huge bowl of something like the labna with saffron, apricots and pistachios and stuff for dipping and that might do the trick.


Party Perfect Bites


Party-perfect bites

If it’s smaller bits you want to serve, then this is a great book, without things being over-engineered or poncey. This has sections inspired by different cuisines from the Americas to India. Fun to make, easy to eat, more time for garden games. Or cocktails


Terry & George - Feeding Friends


Terry & George – Feeding Friends

I’ve never heard of Terry and George, but given Mark Hix seems to rate them, that’ll do for me. They’re apparently famous for pop up events and are apparently Britain’s most fashionable foodies according to some. But it sounds appealing in this is classic British dishes with a twist, a sense of fun, and they sound delicious. Also says the recipes are filled with northern soul, so as a long time northerner, sounds good to me.


Thug Kitchen Party Grub


Thug Kitchen Party Grub: Eat Clean, Party Hard

A summer party does not mean huge chunks of grilled meat for some. I featured Thug Kitchen’s first book, and this one covers how to make vegan parties inspiring and delicious. Starting at breakfast, this runs all the way through amazing dinners to desserts and even the cocktails. Irreverent but delicious ideas.

So, it’s been a pretty rubbish summer so far, so let’s hope there are some sunny days ahead to enjoy food outdoors, jugs of Pimms, some cold beers, the sound of Jenga blocks collapsing and general laughter and merriment. Sounds like bliss to me. What’s your standby summer party dish?


The Friday Five – Great cookbooks for summer eating


So, we’re past the summer solstice, so it’s officially summer. No one has told the weather round here that yet though. But on the off chance that there is great weather ahead, then these books are all relatively new and suggest great summer cooking and eating to me.

Grill Smoke BBQ


Grill Smoke BBQ - great cookbook gift for a BBQ loving food lover


Well, if it’s summer, then it must be time to break out the BBQ.  This book is by Ben Tish of Ember Yard, who definitely knows a thing or two about BBQ, and I’m not just talking about a few burned burgers. I mean, when were you last served chargrilled duck breast with peas, broad beans and hot mint sauce at a BBQ? I’ve nothing against a good burger, but it would be lovely to do something different. Love that it covers desserts too, something often missing from BBQ books.


Leon Happy Salads


Leon Happy Salads - great cookbook gift for a salad loving food lover


When it warms up, then great salads are definitely a good thing to get on the menu. And we’re not just talking about a few limp lettuce leaves and a slice of tomato, but the sort of robust, flavoursome salads that Leon are renowned for. This covers the salads and the dressings (always need a good dressing) with things like chicken and rice noodle salad for the leaf rejectors, and the classic Leon superfood salad. Perfect little book for big flavours.


Byron the Cookbook


Byron the Cookbook - great cookbook gift for a BBQ loving food lover


Like I’ve already said, I’ve got nothing against a good burger, and Byron certainly know how to do a good burger. And this book shares some of their secrets for great burgers, but also for other great comfort food like meatloaf and onion rings. This book, like the first one, also does desserts, so things like cherry pie and and the Oreo and brownie sundae. It’s more in the vein of traditional BBQ fare than the first one, but definitely still a cut above the average.


Vegetable Perfection by Mat Follas


Vegetable Perfection - great cookbook gift for a veggie loving food lover


I find it easier to think about vegetables in the summer months, with things like asparagus, fresh peas and broad beans being top of my list. I could probably just eat dishes of those with some burrata and some hollandaise. Well, Mat Follas has some better ideas than that in this book. So the peas turn up in a pea panna cotta and a warm salad of samphire, chilli and shallots is also perfectly seasonal for right now. Though I love the sound of smoked parsnips with pear and blue cheese, which will make the colder days of winter feel better.


Mary Berry One Step Ahead


Mary Berry One Step Ahead - great cookbook gift for an organised food lover


Summer always gets so busy with lots of different events going on, kids heading off in different directions during the holidays, even more general busyness than usual so it makes sense to try and have some meals sorted out in advance. There’s nothing better than knowing there’s a great homecooked meal in the freezer ready to just be finished off. I don’t know what Burlington beef is, but I’d be intrigued to give it a go, and a double fish pie would definitely be one being tried in this house. I love Mary Berry and I’d feel confident in any recipe in this book. No shortcutting testing for Mary and her team!


So, a good variety of cooking from these books to encompass all kinds of summer cooking and eating. I hope we get some sunny days, to linger outside with something delicious on the BBQ, a great salad, something cold to drink and hopefully a good dessert too. What would be on your menu?


The Friday Five – great cookbooks for great dads


To finish off this year’s round up of great gifts for Dads, then these are 5 cookbooks that I think Dads might relate to and want to get into kitchen and start getting stuck into.


Bake It Yourself by Richard Burr - great cookbook gift for a food lover with a baking habit


BIY: Bake It Yourself by Richard Burr

Richard is one of my favourite non-winners of Bake Off, who could forget him and his pencil stuck behind his ear? Not to mention some incredible bakes. A good mix of sweet and savoury bakes, for every level of baker. Pencil not provided.


Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys - a great cookbook gift for a food lover with a big appetite

Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys by Lucinda Scala Quinn

I’ve cooked from this one, and it’s both great for feeding men, but also I would say could be the sort of robust dishes guys like. It’s not a dumbed down cookbook for men, it’s about great flavours but without necessarily being over-complicated, a recognition of the way most of us, men and women, cook for our families. I like this one a lot.


Tom's Table: My Favourite Everyday Recipes - great cookbook gift for a food lover with a taste for robust food

Tom’s Table: My Favourite Everyday Recipes by Tom Kerridge

I really like Tom Kerridge, doesn’t matter how many Michelin stars he has, he is still refreshingly down to earth and remembers how we cook in our own non-professional kitchens. What I like is that he brings in appropriate shortcuts from the pro kitchen to help take your home cooking up a level, without it getting over-complicated or stressful. Because it’s all about the taste, and everyone sitting down to some great grub.


Low and Slow: How to Cook Meat - a great cookbook gift for a food lover with a lot of patience


Low and Slow: How to Cook Meat by Neil Rankin

Couple of my favourite things going on here. I love slow cooked meat, and think it’s an appealing subject for a book for meat lovers. This is about taking something and treating it lovingly for a long period of time and watching it transform. Slow cooked brisket is one of my favourite things ever. And also it’s good to see a new book from Neil Rankin, one of those chefs who flies a bit under the radar.


The World of the Happy Pear - a great cookbook gift for a food lover


The World of the Happy Pear by David and Stephen Flynn

Just to balance out the meat from the previous title, then this is the latest offering from the Flynn brothers. Owners of the legendary Happy Pear Cafe in Ireland, they continue on their quest to show that vegetarian food is endlessly varied, packed full of flavour and simple to prepare. Well, they’re looking well on it and the recipes sound delicious too. I’m up for a grilled halloumi burger anytime.

So, five varied titles for Dads, hopefully not playing too much into male cooking clichés. If the dad in your life has a favourite cookbook then I’d love to hear about it, please leave me a note in the comments.





The Friday Five – from home ground flour to dough and beyond


As Real Bread Week comes to a close for this year, it seemed appropriate to look at books to inspire great bread baking, and these take you from the very beginnings with great flour, all the way through to fancy endings.


The Essential Home Ground Flour Book - great cookbook gift for a food lover who likes to do it themselves


The Essential Home Ground Flour Book

Here’s something I’d never thought of doing at home. Probably because I still have visions of Windy Miller (apologies to those that didn’t have childhoods in the 70s) busy grinding my flour for me. But as an alternative to mass industrial milling, then this might be interesting to do, and be interesting to see how different any resulting bread was. Though I can’t see whether in the list of equipment need it starts with “first, build your windmill”. Hopefully not.


Toast - great cookbook gift for a food lover



And once you’ve done the grinding, the mixing and the baking, then toast is one of my favourite things to do with bread. This book covers things like bruschetta, open sandwiches and canapes, so not just instructions for making cheese on toast. I like both the writing style and the photography in this book, definitely makes me want to get in the kitchen.


War Time Breads and Cake - great cookbook gift for a nostalgia loving food lover

War-time Bread and Cakes

Bread has played such a staple role in our diets, and this is a great book for those food lovers and bakers with an interest in the history of food. There’s a whole section covering how to bake bread without white flour, and then further chapters on doughs with and without yeast. Whilst I don’t think the national loaf of rationing was ever going to win on the taste front, I’m quite intrigued to have a play with some of these recipes, knowing last year I had fun making boiled fruit cake from a Marguerite Patten recipe of the era.


The New Bread - great cookbook gift for an adventurous baking food lover


The New Bread

So, from the old to the new. If you didn’t think there was anything possibly new in bread, then this book claims to know otherwise. This is actually focused on gluten free baking, which on the bread front I’ve had some very mixed results. It mentions baking with rosehip flour, which I’ve not come across before at all, so fascinated by that. Overall a good book for either those looking for gluten free, or just curious and adventurous bakers looking for something a little different.


One Dough Ten Breads

One Dough. Ten Breads

This is a great book for someone who perhaps hasn’t done a lot of bread baking, as it takes you step by step through a basic dough and loaf, and then shows you how to step that basic recipe up to the next level. You might start out with a sandwich loaf but this book will have you making crackers, pizza and country-style breads by the end.


I think there is very little that beats the satisfaction of making bread at home. There’s the stress relief of all that kneading, the practising of patience waiting for it to prove, and the reward of the house smelling of baking bread. And then more patience of waiting for it to cool just a little when it comes out the oven so you can devour that first slice, covered in butter.

That’s why I’m never giving up bread.


The Friday Five – gluten free but not taste free


Next week is Coeliac Awareness Week, so gluten free is going to be hopefully top of mind, given the strides forward we’ve taken both in availability and taste of gluten free products. For those of you wanting to keep it gluten free on the home front, for whatever reason, then these are five that tackle the subject, but keep taste at the forefront as well.

The Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking


The Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking


This one is almost all gluten-free, combined with being plant based, so will meet lots of dietary requirements. Great looking food, packed with huge amounts of different textures and tastes, but apparently each recipe needs 10 ingredients or less. Makes it appealing and less intimidating.


My Gluten-Free Kitchen: Meals You Miss Made Easy


My gluten-free kitchen


Hmm, the last gluten-free cookbook I had written by a chef led to the great bread disaster, so let’s hope Gearóid Lynch has better testing and proof reading! But as a chef diagnosed with coeliac disease you would expect him to come from a starting point of great knowledge, and a good palate. Covering everything from buttermilk scones to a savoury pastry and an apple and pecan crumble tart, it sounds like it would cover eating like gluten wasn’t an issue.


Good and Simple: Recipes to Eat Well and Thrive


Hemsley & Hemsley Good & Simple


The Hemsley sisters irk me a lot less than others of their ilk, as long as they are not talking about bone broth endlessly. Their second book continues the theme of eliminating gluten, grains and refined sugars, but still manages to come up with things I’m a bit intrigued to try. I mean, cannellini vanilla sponge cake with chocolate avocado frosting? Got to give that a go at least once. Though probably just go with the recipes, ignore the pseudo-science.


Pure Artistry: Extraordinary Vegan and Gluten Free Cakes


Pure Aristry - extraordinary vegan and gluten free cakes


Talking of cakes, this book is about gluten free baking at the next level, but still approachable for a home baker. Emily Lael Aumiller of Lael Cakes make extraordinary cakes by any measure, even more so when you see they are vegan and gluten free. This books focuses not just on the cakes but also the decorating techniques, so perfect for a keen cake maker really looking to add to their skills. Out 13th May.


Chickpea Flour Does It All


Chickpea Flour Does It All


Really? Who knew? I’ve made Indian breads with it but not much more, but it appears I have been missing out. I’ve used it to make Indian breads, but apparently it can cover everything from savoury to sweet, from pancakes to cupcakes. Great book to gift to someone who likes experimenting with new ingredients, and chickpea flour is pretty easy to find. Check out the world food aisles, you’ll often see it labelled as gram flour or garbanzo bean flour.

So, whether through necessity or just a desire to try new things, there is no shortage of inspiration around, and these days the variety of flours available is growing, and much more accessible. Good luck, you can do no worse than my chestnut and carmelised onion bread.


The Friday Five – cookbooks fit for a Queen


Celebrating in the best way


So I’ve missed the Queen’s 90th birthday by a day, and I hope she had a lovely lunch with all the people who were popping in. If Michelle Obama wants to pop in her for lunch today, then that’s fine with me too, she can be my surprise guest any time.

At the last Jubilee, I wrote about cookbooks from the eras of the Queen’s reign, so to celebrate this landmark, then these are cookbooks linked, some vaguely, to the many charities and organisations that the Queen is involved in, many of which will be represented at the upcoming Patron’s Lunch.

The WI Cookbook: The First 100 Years


The WI Cookbook


Amazing that the Queen has been around nearly as long as the WI, but I think they perfectly complement each other. I like that this book also sets the recipe in the historical and social context of its time, showing how the WI has actually kept pace with the times. Not unlike the Queen I guess. I love some of the chapter titles, like Keeping the Country Together and The Times They Are a Changing. I rather like this for its social history of British cooking, I’m quite tempted by this.


John Torode’s Beef


John Torode's Beef


No, John Torode is not a charity, but the Queen is patron of The Red Poll Cattle Society, which is definitely going to grow into delicious beef. And I’m guessing the Queen has plenty of cattle over her many lands, so probably knows some good cows when she sees them. It’s also a great book for learning how to make the most of every type of cut of beef.


The Royal Marsden Cancer Cookbook


The Royal Marsden Cancer Cookbook


Not the sort of cookbook I hope you ever have to buy, but the statistics say many of us will be directly or indirectly affected by cancer over our lifetime. The Queen is patron of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, still seen as one of the leading cancer treatment centres in the UK, so expect this to come with great research and knowledge behind it, of what is needed at this most difficult of times.


RHS Red Hot Chilli Grower


RHS Red Hot Chllli Grower


As a patron of the Royal Horticultural Society, we are used to seeing the Queen at various flower shows, but of course the RHS is much more involved in all things horticultural than just shows. I like this book, it seems a very contemporary title given the growth in interest in chillies in recent years, not to mention the greater variety of seeds available.


Brinestain and Biscuit: Recipe and Rules for Royal Navy Cooks


Brinestain and Biscuit


The royal family’s links to the Royal Navy are very strong, and they’ve probably had many meals from Royal Navy cooks. This is a compendium of excerpts from the Royal Navy’s Manual of Cooking, circa 1930. Probably not one for Tuesday night after work recipes, but fascinating for the history and an insight into what went on on board, from the officers mess downwards.

There are more celebrations to come, and whatever your thoughts on the monarchy, my feelings are that the Queen is one of the hardest working 90 year olds around. And looking pretty darn good on it. I hope she got a decent lunch yesterday, I’m sure she did, and wish her a very Happy Birthday.