My three top cookery books from last year

As spring approaches , and post christmas diets wane, my mind has turned back to cooking, which I love provided I have enough time ( and victims!) to experiment on. So with friends coming round today and tomorrow they will all unwittingly be guinea pigs for new dishes.So here is my first favourite:

Well, having experienced the delights of Ottolenghi’s deli I must admit I have become a devotee of his book Jerusalem on middle eastern cooking.The melting pot of cultures is reflected in the recipes, with some impressive photography. And I’ve just been given his book ‘Plenty” full of fabulous veggie dishes. I tried the leek fritters last night – delicious and now I know how to make 2 leeks into a meal for 4! I’m still on the hunt for pomegranate molasses though – I can’t find them anywhere, though I suspect I could have bought them at his deli. I found ‘zatar’ in Waitrose , but now can’t find the recipe that needs it, and so I have no idea what I’m meant to do with it! Anyway, he is on the menu tonight.

I love Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall’s Three Good Things on a Plate for quick meal, and it is a brilliant book if your kids have left home and you want to inspire them with some simple and nutritious recipes. A mix of classic and contemporary. Dead easy for supper parties too.

I really enjoy his TV programmes, and this second instalment is just as good as his first. Plus you gets lots of useful tips. Straight forward recipes, classic and without hype. To me Nigel is the male Delia.

Then there is Jennifer Joyce and her “Skinny Meals in Heels” series of easy fusion cookery for women on the hoof who want to prepare ahead, which is a great inspiration for meals with a zing. And there was I saying that I didn’t need a new cookery book. The trouble is that cookery books are a bit like old friends, and even if you don’t look at them very often it’s impossible to consign them to an out of the way bookshelf.

Happy cooking!