Christmas Gift Ideas: Cookbooks

November 11, 2012 by

Christmas is still a very child-like experience for me, and luckily I am still poor enough to have a wishlist, which I think actually keeps the fun and magic of Christmas. Once gift giving becomes stressful because everyone is so rich they can buy whatever they want, when they want, Christmas starts to lose its sparkle.

I always have a massively long wishlist at The Book Depository, and add to it at least once a month. I absolutely love books, and I think they always make a failsafe gift, even for the person who has everything. Check out all my book recommendations for other book gifts.

Hugh's Three Good ThingsHugh’s Three Good Things… on a plate by Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall

I love Hugh and River Cottage, so I am always keen to get any of their cookbooks, and this is the latest.  If you haven’t already got River Cottage Veg, I can’t recommend that one more, especially if you are vegetarian, but most especially if you have to cook for them. Even if you just enjoy the odd vegetable yourself, the book shows you interesting new ways to serve and eat vegetables as a main meal, rather than a side dish.

NigellissimaNigellissima by Nigella Lawson 

My other food hero, Nigella. This is the book to accompany her latest TV series of the same name. While I probably haven’t enjoyed this series as much as Nigella Kitchen or Nigella Express, I still love her recipes and cooking styles and there were a few dishes in the series that I would definitely cook. Unfortunately being wheat intolerant, it cuts out a lot of the lovely dishes that she made.

Also, if you haven’t got it already, get Nigella’s Christmas. I don’t have the book yet but each year I go back and watch the TV series for inspiration. She loves Christmas and her dishes really reflect the wamth, comfort and indulgence of Christmas, so it’s an excellent companion for any Christmas party host.

The Great British Bake Off: How to CookThe Great British Bake Off: How to Bake by Linda Collister

Even though this book isn’t written by Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood, it doesn’t matter, as it’s the companion to the TV series and goes through the challenges from each show and shows you how to achieve baking perfection.

I absolutely LOVE the series, and have really learnt a lot from Paul and Mary, and I would hope this book would further that knowledge. Regardless, I think the pictures would be lovely!

If you are buying for a fan of the show, you could also get them the DVD’s as well as the second book, The Great British Bake Off: How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers.

The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit

I’ve wanted this one for a long time, as I really don’t have the knowledge of what flavours complement each other. This is the official description of the book:

“Ever wondered why one flavour works with another? Or lacked inspiration for what to do with a bundle of beetroot? “The Flavour Thesaurus” is the first book to examine what goes with what, pair by pair. This book follows the form of “Roget’s Thesaurus”. It includes 980 entries in all and 200 recipes or suggestions are embedded in the text.”

This would be a great book for anyone looking to improve their food knowledge.

Gok Cooks Chinese by Gok Wan

Since Gok isn’t a chef, I feel a bit more confident choosing a book about Chinese cooking by someone who isn’t a ninja grand master in the kitchen. Even though he’s obviously a good cook, I feel like if he can do it, anyone can. The thing I love about Gok is that he reminds me of Nigella – in the sense that he’s relaxed and not fussed about cooking, and he doesn’t make it seem difficult and complicated, which is a big task for authentic Chinese food! I have to say though, the show has really made me want a big cleaver.

Contains 80 personal and family recipes that range from Prawn Wonton Noodle Soup to Perfect Fried Rice or classics like Honey-glazed Char Siu Pork, through chapters on Dim Sum, Street Food, One Pot Wonders and Feasting, recipes for all occasions and moods.

Those are my top Christmas cookbook picks but there are so many great titles available, both old and new. Just pick a cuisine, celebrity chef or blogger they like and you will have lots of excellent books to choose from. Pop in a hamper with a couple of ingredients from the book, bookmark the page you took them from and that’s a perfect gift.

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