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Starters The freshest, most inspirational cook books of the month Kitchen Library Pick

of the Month

The Little Book of Lunch Caroline Craig and

Sophie Missing Square Peg, £15

Even the most conservative estimate puts the average weekly cost of a work lunch at £30 – and that’s before you factor in the soft drinks or flat whites on top of your boring supermarket sarnie or overpriced panini. Lunch breaks needn’t be so expensive or dreary from now on, though, thanks to The Little Book of Lunch, which is packed with fantastic ideas for delicious and quick meals for

your lunchbox. As well as inspired new fillings for homemade sandwiches, there are wholesome and healthy salads, tasty cold pasta dishes, meals you can make in the evening (and which taste even better the following day), and sweet treats to bribe fellow colleagues. We particularly like the pea, feta and chilli frittata and the fabulous spicy root veg soup. Lunch at the desk will never be the same again.

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The Red Hot Chilli

Sauce Book Dan May, Ryland

Peters & Small, £16.99

Eight years ago, Dan May started to grow a few chillies as a hobby in Northumberland, and ended up with the world’s most northerly chilli farm – plus his own Trees Can’t Dance brand of fiery sauces, pastes and marinades. This is May’s second book, and the 100 recipes are arranged by region, from Mexico and South America across to Africa, Asia and the Med. Whether you like your

chillies mild or tongue- numbingly hot, the recipes cover all types of sauce, but also complete dishes: Moroccan tagines, Indian curries and Mexican classics. There are also excellent salsas and marinades here, including the Spanish- inspired sherry vinegar and smoked paprika marinade.

A finalist in the 2011 series of The Great British Bake Off, Worcestershire-based blogger Mary-Anne Boermans has been cooking and baking for 40 years and is an avid collector of antique cookbooks and old recipes. In her first book, she painstakingly traces the UK’s baking history and resurrects long-forgotten recipes from centuries past. These are the biscuits,

cakes and tarts enjoyed by the Edwardians, Victorians and even the Tudors, each recipe triple-tested by the author so they can be recreated easily by the modern home cook. Timeless recipes, some dating back to the 15th century, include an 1820s beer cake, Hannah Woolley’s 1672 Shrewsbury cakes and a 1700 recipe for Bath buns. A fascinating collection.


If the soothsayers are to be believed, 2014 will see an increased interest in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine, which makes this book of Lebanese home- cooking all the more timely. Algerian-born chef Tony

Kitous runs the successful chain of Comptoir Libanais restaurants in London, and his food merges traditional Arabic cooking with a contemporary style of eating. The 80 recipes in the book – each with photos by Dan Lepard – include vibrant and healthy veg dishes and salads, hot and cold mezze dishes, grill and barbecue, and more substantial main meals such as spiced minced lamb with tomato, courgettes and aubergines. The chapter covering bread is indispensable, too.

If your jeans are still pinching after all that Christmas pudding and duck-fat-roast potatoes, this is the weight- loss book for you. One of the occupational hazards of working in the food and drink industry is being surrounded by temptation all the time, so food writer Celia Brooks followed the 5:2 Diet and lost 20 pounds in four months. In her latest book, she

proves that dieting doesn’t need to be boring with 100 quick and simple low-calorie vegetarian meals, many of which are vegan and gluten- free. With useful tips on meal planning and nutrition, the recipes include salads, soups, stews and curries. We can heartily recommend the delicious teriyaki tofu and roasted broccoli, as well as the creamy paprika mushrooms.

Great British Bakes Mary-Anne Boermans Square Peg, £20

Comptoir Libanais

Tony Kitous and Dan Lepard Preface, £20

5:2 Vegetarian Celia Brooks Pavilion, £9.99

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