The Friday Five – my holiday cookbook reading


We had the most incredible weeks holiday in Dorset over Easter, in a beautiful cottage in Beaminster. I would happily never have moved back out, but school and the owners might have taken a dim view of that!


One shelf of fabulous cookbooks



Holiday cookbook shelf two



One of the reasons I loved it was for the fact that it had a cookery book collection to almost rival my own, but without much duplication. It’s a slight cheat on the post as I got through six, but would probably only add five to my collection.


My holiday cookbook reading


Fish Pies and French Fries by Gill Holcombe


Fish Pies and French Fries


I thought I’d featured Gill’s first book, which was the snappily titled How to feed your whole family a healthy, balanced diet with very litle money and hardly any time, even if you have a tiny kitchen, only three saucepans (one with an ill-fitting lid) and no fancy gadgets – unless you count the garlic crusher…although it turns out I hadn’t. This was my least favourite book out of the six, though great if you’re not a very experienced cook. There was quite a lot of condensed soup in it. And Smash in at least one. Not my kind of thing, but might give it to MFL as perfect for in a rush, trying to feed 2 teenage boys kind of territory.


How to Feed Your Friends with Relish by Joanna Weinberg


How to feed your friends with relish


I rather liked this book, even if the set up is somewhat different to many of our realities. But there are lots of recipes for gatherings of friends and families for all kinds of occasions, and it was the kind of food that made me want to dash into the kitchen and start cooking. Marinated steak with chimichurri sauce and then frozen berries with hot white chocolate sauce would make any day good in my book.


The new English kitchen: how to make your food go further by Rose Prince


The New English Kitchen


I think this one is probably the one that’ll make it onto my shelves first out of all of them. I loved the style of writing, but I loved the recipes more. If I’d read this one first then I think I might well have cooked from this whilst I was away. I loved it from the first chapter about bread, and how to use it from day one to day seven, which just showed how much you could with it. Great shopping guide as well. There are hard cover copies on Amazon starting at just 1p so definitely worth a look.


The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater


The Kitchen Diaries


My love of Nigel Slater is well-documented here, though I haven’t bought any of his books in a while. But I loved this one for the same reasons as I’ve loved many of the others: the stories, the recipes, the wit, the honesty. I mean, you don’t spot many admitting that dinner is sometimes baked beans with Worcestershire sauce. Once I’ve worked through the New English Kitchen, then I’m getting this one and working through it throughout the year.


The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo


The LIttle Paris Kitchen


This one has been on MFL’s wishlist, I think he has a bit of a crush on her to be honest. I quite liked it, I would probably cook from it a bit, but it wasn’t my favourite. Let’s face it though, the competition was tough! But the recipes look well written, not over complex and certainly sound very tasty. It’s a maybe from me, love to know if anyone has it and enjoys cooking from it.


Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen


Forgotten Skills of Cooking


I’d featured this one before some years ago, and I’d forgotten why I thought it was a great title. To be honest, it’s a toss up between this and The New English Kitchen for which one joins my bookshelf first. I love Darina’s style of writing, I love the tales she has to tell, and the skills she describes. I’m craving some soda bread followed by a bit of foraging, particularly given there were some great recipes for wild garlic which is just in season.


So, no fancy new titles in here, but I think at least three out of the six will truly stand the test of time. We were lucky to get some fabulous weather so had lots of time on the beach, otherwise it might have been more like seven or eight books! Have you got holiday cookbook reading lined up for your next holiday? Love to know what.


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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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