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


Jane Baxter and Henry Dimbleby, Conran Octopus, £25

Pick of the Month

Rarely a day goes by without yet another story in the media telling us to reduce our meat intake and eat more vegetables, so the fifth book from healthy fast food chain Leon is as timely as ever. Leon co-founder Henry Dimbleby has teamed up with former Riverford chef Jane Baxter for this collection of approachable and innovative meat-

free dishes. Rather than a dry and dusty collection of nut roasts, tofu burgers and other go-to veggie clichés, the recipes here make seasonal vegetables the star of the plate, whether it’s a spring vegetable and farro salad packed with asparagus and sugar snap peas or a summery courgette and tomato gratin. With its quirky prose and cutting-edge design, this is a highly enjoyable, user-friendly book that proves vegetarian food can be vibrant, delicious and fun rather than dull, tasteless and holier than thou.

Turn the page for a recipe...

The Ginger & White cookbook

Tonia George, Emma Scott and Nicholas Scott

Mitchell Beazley, £18.99

Since it opened in 2009, the stylish Ginger & White in Hampstead has become one of London’s most popular coffee shops, but its success is based on much more than a well-made macchiato. Run by former food stylist and magazine editor Tonia George, and restaurant consultants Nick and Emma Scott, it’s an Antipodean- inspired family-friendly café serving great food all day. Ginger & White’s first book

brings together its bestselling dishes, from brunch of toasted banana bread with cream cheese, rhubarb and raspberries to lunchtime staples like ham hock potato cakes with peas, shallots and parsley cream. The baking section is fabulous, especially the gluten-free almond and pistachio cake.

Jamie Oliver is a big fan of the three Chiappa sisters, who grew up in a close-knit Italian family in Merthyr Tydfil. Not that the food in this lavishly illustrated book owes much to the valleys of South Wales (although there is a very good recipe for Welsh cakes), with most of the inspiration coming from their grandparents’ village in Emilia Romagna. Tied in with the Chiappas’ new Channel 4 series, this is a book rooted in cooking with the family, and it’s a delicious blend of traditional Italian classics and contemporary dishes. Expect robust comfort

dishes (Mum’s braised beef in red wine; Nonna’s hearty sausage stew), but also lighter, fresher dishes like the spring vegetable pasta and steamed artichokes with lemon salsa.


Former Bath College student Valentine Warner is much in demand as a food writer and TV presenter, and this month he chairs the panel of judges for Radio 4’s Food and Farming Awards in Bristol. His fourth cookbook, What to Eat Next, is packed with 150 new recipes for everyday family eating. Not one for cheffy terms or fancy ingredients, these are quick and easy dishes, many of them created in a flash from what’s in the store cupboard or fridge. It’s a magpie-like collection

of recipes from all over the world, often inspired by family or friends, whether it’s his dad’s Boston beans, mum’s TV pilchards on toast or Ibrahim’s merguez – inspired by a street food stall in West London. We like ‘Frank’s mother-in-law’s friend’s syrup sponge’.

Interviewed last issue, Diana Henry is, in our opinion, one of our most underrated food writers, and her eighth book is already a contender for the best of 2014. It marks a departure for the writer, in that it’s more about approaching food from a health-conscious angle without losing any of the big flavours or enjoyment. These are dishes that sing

with ballsy, in-your-face flavours, from the hot and spicy Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber (Diana’s favourite recipe in the book) to squid with couscous, chilli, mint and lemon. We can’t wait for next month’s gooseberry season, so we can make the gooseberry, almond and spelt cake. An important book from one of the finest food writers.

Simply Italian Michela, Emanuela and Romina Chiappa Michael Joseph, £20

What to Eat Next Valentine Warner Mitchell Beazley, £20

A Change of

Appetite Diana Henry

Mitchell Beazley, £25

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