Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 627

4 1 1 DECEMBER 2022 CHRISTMAS FOR FOOD LOVERS Which culinary books merit a place in your festive stocking? Modern Pressure Cooking by Catherine Phipps Once seen as a dowdy piece of kit that took up toomuch storage space, the pressure cooker is in vogue as we all look to trim fuel bills. So this handy guide is timely. If you’ve just unwrapped your first pressure cooker, you’ll benefit from the step-by-step tips to getting themost out of it. If you’re an old hand, then recipes such as crispy aromatic duck, shakshuka with feta, and squid and chorizo with black rice will whet your appetite. The BritishCookbook by BenMervis “British food has long faced undue derision,” believes Glaswegian food writer Ben. “This book is an attempt to address this.”With 450 pages and 550 recipes, it’s a staggeringly comprehensive survey of our national cuisine. It covers everything from historical curiosities (rook pie) and regional staples (Northumbrian stotties) to classic puddings (poor knights of Windsor) andmodern favourites influenced by today’s multiculturalism (curry goat, chicken tikkamasala). Rustle Up by Rhiannon Batten & Laura Rowe Inmany ways, this is the opposite of The British Cookbook. That is encyclopaedic, but this is pithy and to the point (the subtitle, One-Paragraph Recipes for FlavourWithout the Fuss, sums it up). Its 104 ‘micro recipes’ include breakfasts such as miso brown butter mushrooms on toast, suppers including veg box grater dal, and sweet treats such as mini piña colada pavlovas. There are 20 one-sentence recipes too, including crab spaghetti andmasala scrambled eggs. Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: ExtraGoodThings by Noor Murad & YotamOttolenghi This is the second book to spring from the place where themagic happens. As with last year’s Shelf Love, Yotamand his development chef Noor focus on flexible, flavour-packed recipes to enhance a range of meals. So harissa butter is used one day on a roastedmushroomKyiv, then tossed with steamed veg or stu ed into a baked potato the next. Or a tamarind dressing first used on turmeric-fried eggs is then drizzled on steak. The SeedDetective by AdamAlexander Hobby gardener Adam’s passion for veg was ignited when he tasted an unusual and particularly fiery pepper inUkraine. Smitten by its flavour, he began to seek out local growers of endangered heritage produce varieties throughout the world. Part history, part travelogue and part detective story, this traces the results of his searches as he unearths heirloomvarieties of tomato in Tuscany, peas in Laos and garlic in Oman – all of which he’s catalogued and preserved for posterity. The FoodAlmanac: Volume II byMiranda York This second helping of recipes and stories follows last year’s original. Eachmonth includes a seasonal menu from chefs and writers such as Ravneet Gill, Jeremy Lee and ThomasinaMiers, and recipes fromMary Berry, Asma Khan, Gill Meller and others. There aremonthly reading lists, handsome illustrations and written contributions from the likes of SimonHopkinson (British puddings), Diana Henry (the joy of autumn) and Lara Lee (Indonesian sambals). Ballymaloe Desserts by JR Ryall Pastry chef JR, who has overseen the dessert menu at Irish restaurant and cookery school Ballymaloe House since 2010, gathers 130 of his most tempting creations. They include seasonal fruit dishes, fromgreen gooseberry and elderflower fool to blood oranges in caramel sauce; pastries, including a vibrant apricot and almond tart; and oldschool puds, such as Darina Allen’s moreish bread and butter pudding. APortrait of BritishCheese by Angus D Birditt After the puddings, so to the cheese, with writer and photographer Angus celebrating the excellence of thosemade in the British Isles. Featured styles include Baron Bigod fromSu olk, Lincolnshire Poacher, Cornish Yarg and the Nottinghamshire blue cheese, Stichelton. In season CHESTNUTS It was perhaps the honeyed baritone of Nat King Cole that cemented the place of these unlikely fruits within the Christmas pantheon. To this day, when Jack Frost is nipping at our noses, we can be comforted by the thought of chestnuts roasting on an open re, even though such a tableau is rarely encountered. If you’re looking to roast your own, you’ll need to know that chestnuts aren’t the same thing as conkers. If you’ve gathered fallen conkers from beneath a horse chestnut tree, you’ll get a stomachache if you eat them. The kind we’re interested in are sweet chestnuts, and you’re better o buying them. They have a natural a nity with other wintry ingredients. They’re great sprinkled over pumpkin soups and added to game casseroles. You can fry them with snips of bacon and shredded sprouts and they’re brilliant in stu ngs – mix with sausagemeat, breadcrumbs, caramelised onions, chopped gs and crushed fennel seeds as a lling for rolled pork belly. They go well in sweet dishes, too, such as the classic French pudding Mont Blanc, made with ground chestnuts, sweetened with honey and topped with whipped cream. You can, of course, simply roast them – though we would suggest the less romantic option of using the oven. Photograph: Kinga Krzeminska/ Getty Images