The Friday Five – On pies, baking and Britishness


It could be because we’ve gone beyond the Last Night of the Proms, which is always a signal of autumn for me, or that publishers are preparing for Christmas, but there is a raft of new books out that are calling out for attention. And there is a bit of a theme, all around real comfort food. Here’s five that I’m thinking of making room for:


Jamie's Great Britain - the one Jamie Oliver cookbook that's on my shelves, I think this is a great gift for a food lover


Jamie’s Great Britain – well, he’s been around a lot of the globe, so I think it was inevitable that Jamie Oliver ended up back in the UK at some point. The cynic in me would say this is capturing a trend for Britishness that we’ll see grow as we head into the Olympics, but it looks like this will encompass all the great flavours that Britain is famous for. I’m sure this will be a huge success, and keep the focus on the ever improving British food scene.

The Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies – love the Hairy Bikers, love pies, which has to make this a perfect book for me. As you’d might expect this covers sweet and savoury, small and large, traditional and new. Something for everyone.

Pieminister: A Pie for All Seasons – told you I love pies, and I love Pieminister, been buying their pies pretty much from when they started. All the favourites are there, and try something different like a St Valentine’s pie. I guess you don’t need both of the pie books, but would be hard pressed to choose between them!

Tea with Bea: Recipes from Bea’s of Bloomsbury – more stuff I love. Proper tea time, plenty of baking, cake. This book certainly covers all of those, and then some. I wouldn’t know where to start but quite sure I would find plenty of willing volunteers to try whatever I was testing out. Teatime could become very popular!

Ginger Pig Meat Book – I love the description of this as a meat manual for the inquisitive domestic cook, which I guess means you can get beyond your usual meat cooking routine from this. Covering different meats, and by month, as well as all the accompaniments, this gives you endless variations and possibilities. I don’t know what aromatic melting pork is, other than delicious, but it makes me want to really make it!

So five choices that really reflect great food, the sort of stuff I love to cook, that are perfect as we head into winter. I would say these are not the sort of books to read in bed though, you’ll be starving by page 6!


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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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