The last twelve months has once again seen some beautifully produced cookery books on the shelves – you may have got one or more for Christmas: Jamie’s Super Food, Nigella’s Feel Good Food, A Year of Good Eating with Nigel Slater. They are expensively produced, lavishly photographed and thanks to TV and newspaper tie-ins, they sell in millions.
There are other cookery books though, that don’t instantly appear on your Amazon suggestions but are well worth buying because they are ones you might actually use. One such, not nearly as lush as those mega-sellers, but I would like to bet, a lot more useful, is The One Pot Cook by Hattie Ellis. Hattie is an admirable food writer whose other titles include: Honey, Planet Chicken, What to Eat and the Best of British Fish.
This one appeals not only for the quality of the writing and the interesting background to each dish but for its practicality. Hattie is essentially a home cook, so she understands what it is like juggling family, work and shopping while trying to eat well. The recipes are straightforward and useful; they don’t require endless ingredients and won’t break the bank. All of them are appealing, do-able recipes for feeding a family and sometimes entertaining friends.
A couple of dishes have become regulars like her ‘Slightly Cheaty Thai Green Curry’ – made with ready-made curry paste and a tin of coconut milk, and while Hattie suggests using mushrooms and sweet potatoes, I invariably adapt it to any vegetables I have to hand. I also like her lamb shoulder with garlic, anchovies and rosemary and her chicken and mushroom pie. My copy is already food splattered, the sign of a well-used cookery book.