Cookbook new releases: February

Cookbook new releases: February

by Izzy Burton 29 January 2016

A run through of some of the best new cookbooks being released in February. From James Martin's posh fish pie to gluten-free pâtisserie, these five cookbooks are packed full of recipe inspiration to suit every taste.

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Izzy studied Classics at Glasgow University, and nearly gave up writing altogether after reading Terence, who observed that 'nothing has been said that has not been said before' over 2,000 years ago. She persevered, however, and started writing about food, combining a lifetime love of eating and tricolons.

Izzy studied Classics at Glasgow University, and nearly gave up writing altogether after reading Terence, who observed that 'nothing has been said that has not been said before' over 2,000 years ago. She persevered, however, and started writing about food, combining a lifetime love of eating and tricolons.

More Home Comforts by James Martin

Ah, James Martin. Lovely James Martin. Based on his popular television series of the same name, this latest Home Comforts cookbook runs the gamut from quick dinners and nostalgic treats (‘instant comforts’ and ‘childhood comforts’ respectively) to dinner party dishes (‘posh comforts’) and stunning desserts (‘sweet comforts’). The latter, of course, is a particular highlight, with Dark and white chocolate cherry brownies, Peanut butter caramel Billionaire’s shortbread and a perfectly swirled Sticky toffee roulade that made me feel quite faint. Fans of James Martin will love this book, and those who haven’t heard of him are likely to be converted – particularly when they catch a glimpse of his ‘posh’ fish pie with lobster, oysters and Champagne.

Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman

After training as a pâtissier Henrietta Inman turned her creative powders to good (as opposed to delicious, cream-filled evil) and set herself the challenge of creating beautiful cakes, bakes and puddings using innovative alternatives to gluten, dairy and refined sugar. For most people tackling the recipes in this book will require a bit of larder-stocking, admittedly, but these ingredients will be a worthy investment for all experimental bakers. A triple layered courgette cake and Black Forest parfait demonstrate Inman's considerable skill, while her nostalgic Blackberry and apple crumble cake and Banana cake with caramel sauce make delicious desserts for everyone to enjoy. Chia puddings, breakfast muffins and Raw energy bars are also particularly handy recipes for those who enjoy the most important meal of the day hunched over their office keyboard.

itsu 20-minute Suppers by Julian Metcalfe and Blanche Vaughan

For Londoners the vibrant pink and yellow itsu sign is a familiar sight, with over sixty shops in the capital supplying office workers and tourists with quick, low calorie lunches packed with fresh ingredients and Asian flavours. While the chain is expanding fairly rapidly into other towns and cities, you don’t need to be familiar with itsu to find appeal in the new book from Julian Metcalfe and Blanche Vaughan, which aims to offer speedy, healthy meal ideas which won’t require trekking to specialist supermarkets for ingredients. Completely without the obsession with making everything from scratch (and the pious tone that all too often comes with it) that is increasingly common in food writing, these recipes take more of a pragmatic approach to ingredients – ginger paste, stock cubes, pre-cooked prawns are all encouraged, and an informative couple of pages list handy ingredient alternatives if your local supermarket lets you down. A fantastic book for people looking for genuinely quick, nutritious and convenient recipes for packed lunches and midweek suppers.

broth by Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas

If you have a little longer to prepare your food for the week then broth is a fabulous investment – in terms of time and content. As concept cookbooks go this is a good one, beginning by exploring the fundamental broths along with a variation on each to create an instant supper (creating beef pho from beef bone broth, for example, or egg drop soup from vegetable broth) before sharing a number of soups, stews and one pot dishes which feature broth as their foundation. These recipes are varied and beautifully photographed, ranging from French onion soup and spicy noodle bowls to osso buco and heady fish stew, with an interesting mix of dishes from around the world. Flicking through this book will, if you’re like me, have you vowing to stop off at the butchers for a sackful of bones on the way home – although whether that’ll actually take place is another story . . .

Hemsley and Hemsley : Good + Simple by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley

Mastering the art of broth will stand you in good stead with the new cookbook from the Hemsley sisters, too, as the bone broth advocates share a number of easy, everyday recipes with an emphasis on digestive health rather than fad dieting (at last!). Does their motto of ‘good food, good mood, good digestion and good health’ work? It seems the proof is in the chia pudding, as over the last decade Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley have made a name for themselves providing food and nutritional advice to a number of high profile clients. The pair exude health and good cheer on the cover, and while some of the in-the-kitchen-with-the-Hemsley photos leave you wishing their glossy hair was tied back in a sensible hair net (come on, stylists, let’s work on hygiene chic for 2016) for the most part this book is beautifully shot and well thought out. Sitting on the more glamorous end of the everyday cookbook spectrum, there are still a very respectable number of achievable dishes for those who are still relatively new to the world of quinoa loaves and agave nectar. Simple soups, noodle pots and colourful breakfast ideas are all particular highlights.

Buy these books

21st January: broth – Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas (Jacqui Small, 2016)

11th February: More Home Comforts – James Martin (Quadrille, 2016)

18th February: Clean Cakes – Henrietta Inman (Jacqui Small, 2016)

25th February: itsu 20-minute Suppers – Julian Metcalfe and Blanche Vaughan (Mitchell Beazley, 2016)

25th February: Good + Simple – Jasmine Hemsley and Melissa Hemsley (Edbury. 2016)