Cookery books for Christmas 2013: tasty gifts for the foodies in your family

Cookery books and Christmas go together like turkey and stuffing. Here's our pick of the best recipe books around for all levels of culinary expertise, packed with delicious food for every palate from haute cuisine to pub grub, every occasion from Sunday lunch to afternoon tea, and every budget from fabulous to frugal.

And once you've bought a book, why not let other Mumsnetters know what you thought of it by adding a review?


Historic Heston by Heston Blumenthalheston book

With a RRP of £125 (£77.50 on Amazon), this is for cooks who are really serious about food. It's a beautiful gift, bound and packaged in a slip case with stunning photography by Dave McKean (you'll be tempted to rip pages out and frame them).

Heston has set out to reclaim some of the greatest British food from medieval to late-Victorian times by giving them a modern-day twist and comes up with a sublime 21st-century take on delicacies including meat fruit (1500), quaking pudding (1660) and mock turtle soup (1892). Heston examines the history behind each dish and the science which makes it work.


Eat by Nigel Slatereat book

Stuck for what to cook when you're short of time? Nigel Slater's Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food contains over 600 short and straightforward recipe ideas, which are quick to cook and simple to follow.

Continuing from the success of Nigel's Real Fast Food, this latest has been chosen as Amazon's Best Food & Drink Book of the Year, making it a kitchen essential.

With a huge range of flavours, including sizzling chorizo to Vietnamese-style prawns, this book has something for everyone.


River Cottage: Fruit Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstallriver cottage book

The latest instalment in the River Cottage series from Hugh F-W is laden with fruit-based recipes. There's pigeon breast with morello cherry sauce, banana kedgeree, and a delicious-sounding pear, raspberry, walnut and blue cheese.

Sorted by fruit, rather than by dish, it aims to make it easier to eat seasonally - the apples section alone numbers over 40 pages and offers much more than the traditional crumble. There are also plenty of sweet treats to choose from, with a rather fabulous blackberry-soaked cake.


Pies and Puds by Paul Hollywoodpies and puds book

Paul Hollywood, star of the Great British Bake Off, puts a modern spin on much-loved traditional pies and puddings in his new book.

Whether you have a sweet tooth or love all things savoury, Paul's delicious recipes covers all bases. Try mouth-watering chocolate volcanoes or a comforting classic pork, apple and cider pie.

There are also step-by-step pastry instructions, ensuring you'll be an expert baker in no time.


Gok's Wok by Gok Wangoks wok book

Style-guru Gok has branched out into food with his new book, Gok's Wok. It is packed full of healthy recipes, which are fast and fresh.

The collection is inspired by the flavours of the East and is beautifully illustrated. To quote Gok himself: "Long may your taste buds ache with happiness."


Leiths: How to Cookhow to cook leiths

If there was to be a cooking bible, this would be it. Leiths School of Food and Wine consists of 600 pages of complete and comprehensive cookery lessons and more than 500 recipes.

From the perfect Sunday roast to homemade choux pastry - and everything in between - Leiths take you through every aspect of cooking.

It includes essential skills for preparing ingredients, cooking dishes to perfection and serving them for optimum oomph. A must-have for any serious cook this Christmas.


Cupcakes by Peggy Porschencupcakes

This lovely little book will give you an insight into the world of cake, glorious cake. The photos alone are delicious enough to make it a brilliant buy for any baker this Christmas.

With handy hints and tips and recipes for family favourites such as chocolate and red velvet cakes, as well as more indulgent recipes such as strawberry and champagne cupcakes, Eton mess and mulled wine, you'll be spoilt for choice with this delightful pocket-sized cookbook.


The Kids Only Cookbook by Sue Quinnkids only cookbook

If your kids have got the kitchen itch, then The Kids Only Cookbook will make the perfect gift this Christmas. It's presented in a bright, comic-strip style with loads of photos to keep them on the right track. There are 'easy', 'not too tricky' and 'challenging' ratings on each recipe.

The book covers the basics, such as cooking perfect pasta and rice, to more challenging dishes such as sticky ribs and chicken curry. A great book for developing skills which will last children a lifetime.


Christmas by Mary Berrymary berry christmas

With extensive knowledge and a practical, unfussy approach to food, who better than Mary to steer you through the complexity of Christmas dinner? In her latest book, she dishes up festive favourites along with new and exciting recipes to spice up the season.

There's a really useful Christmas Day countdown, shopping lists and tips on preparing ahead and freezing, making this book a perfect companion for the festive season.


MasterChef: The Finalistsmasterchef

More than 5 million of us were gripped by the MasterChef Final earlier this year, as Natalie Coleman, Dale Williams and Larkin Cen cooked up a storm. This new book presents the key dishes from the show, as well as many exclusive new recipes.

And Natalie was our webchat guest to chew the fat about Christmas cooking and dish out juicy MasterChef goss.


Roast by Marcus Verberneroast

Roast, the award-winning restaurant in London's Borough Market, celebrates quality British produce. Head chef Marcus Verberne now shares his delicious and original recipes combining heritage, fine ingredients and innovation.

The book includes guides to the basics, but also photo instructions to help with more tricky techniques, such as opening a live oyster, or carving large joints. It features everything from making a gourmet meal to a tasty brunch, as well as information on the British producers who inspire Roast.


A Lighter Way to Bake by Lorraine Pascalelorraine book

Fans of Lorraine will love her take on cooking delicious-yet-healthy meals and snacks. She presents 100 delicious and nutritious dishes and shares handy shortcuts to help cut out the fat or sugar in recipes without losing any of the flavour.

Each recipe comes with full nutritional information, as well as alternatives to show how many calories you're cutting out by baking the Lorraine way.


The Naughtiest Vegan in Town by Ms Cupcakemisscucpake

Look no further for the perfect gift for vegan family and friends. Ms Cupcake is a glamorous, 50s-style vegan baker whose dream of bringing decadent baking to the masses became a reality when she launched London's first entirely vegan cake shop in 2011.

In her first book, Ms Cupcake passes on her secret recipes and enthusiasm for delicious vegan cakes and bakes. Mumsnetters were delighted when she joined us for a Q&A earlier this year and shared some of her recipes.


Proper Pub Food by Tom Kerridgeproper pub food

Tom Kerridge, owner of the UK's first Michelin-starred pub, The Hand & Flowers, has created a feast of over 100 recipes in his debut book, Proper Pub Food, to accompany his recent TV show.

He shows readers how to make 'real' food, which is simple but has an edge of sophistication. There are British favourites such as pork pies and fish and chips, along with oyster fritters and spiced monkfish.


Save with Jamie by Jamie Oliversave with jamie

Like socks or a reindeer jumper, a Jamie cookbook may not be the most original present but will never disappoint. He joined Mumsnet in August 2013 for a webchat to tell us about his latest book, which he described as "really delicious tasty food that doesn't feel like a compromise". Jamie did admit the book's not based on a super, super tight budget, but said: "If you're on really tight budget, then I hear there are super threads on Mumsnet and other websites for this." Cheers for the plug, Jamie. 


Last updated: about 3 years ago