Thought by industry pundits to be ‘the next Jamie Oliver’, Granger’s last book Everyday was a hit in the UK (clearly his target market for this book), even though his TV shows have not been televised in primetime evening slots over in Blightly. This book proffers more of the same; it’s themed around holiday cooking but Granger’s food is always so breezily uncomplicated there’s not much to pare back for lazy days.
(He does tackle Christmas, but it’s Aussie-style glazed ham and salads, not the innovative ways with turkey and Brussel sprouts expat purists may be seeking.) Ideas we love: chicken burgers with lemongrass and lime (from the barbie, mate); sweet potatoes with coriander and preserved lemon; green ratatouille; slow-roast pork shoulder with cumin and coriander seeds; hazelnut and fig cake, and a coconut ice cream that demands only three ingredients. Winter gets a look-in with chapters called ‘Rug-Up-Warm Soups’ and ‘Fireside’, but Aussie expats be warned: the beachside photography may induce homesickness.
No ifs, no buts, no qualifications – this is a great cookery book. Being book-sized, not cookbook-sized, with pretty etchings on the cover, it looks somewhat like a trendy reprint of a Jane Austen novel. Inside, food writer Joanna Weinberg introduces her love affair with food and recipes. So far, so Stinking Bishop. However, Weinberg soon gets to the point – how to entertain your loved ones at home without reaching for a Valium sandwich. No matter how busy your life gets, she begs, don’t give up cooking for your friends, and she offers her favourite roast chicken recipe as an easy fall-back.
Around 50 of the book’s 288 pages are given over to tips and etiquette, which sounds dreary but is actually helpful; from entertaining in very small spaces (she once lived in NYC) to ‘who sits where and why it matters’, for instance. Recipes are broken into categories (supper, parties, comfort cooking, barbecues…). Her gorgeous slow-roast lamb with melting vegetables proved too tempting for the nominally veggie member of our party, and Sex And The City fans will appreciate having the Magnolia Bakery cupcake recipe within easy reach. How To Feed Your Friends With Relish, to give the book its full title, will go a long way in helping you successfully do just that.
Mitchell Beazley, Dhs145
In Cook Simple, Diana Henry’s focus is not on speed but ease, which became a priority when this hitherto enthusiastic cook had children. She relies a lot on the oven – not the appliance you’d immediately associate with hassle-free food – but dishes such as chermoula lamb with hot pepper and carrot purée will have you reassessing your old-fangled stove. We also love the chapters dedicated to chops and sausages. This is the book for the harassed foodie in your life.