If there is one category of books that sums up Christmas more than any other (apart from books on Christmas of course) it's cookery books. Here's a gift that might not just get read, but actually used.
But cookbooks are funny beasts: they can become trusted friends in the kitchen but, like any friend, the way their advice is given to you is critical: whilst some like the direct, simple, no-nonsense approach to help them with day-to-day problems, others prefer friends that come along periodically and challenge you out of day-to-day routine. It's the same with a good cookbook: the style has to be right.
We hope your mouths are suitably watering by the end of this list. And not just because of the recipes, because we've got books for garden and home lovers here too...
River Cottage: Light & Easy - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - £25.00
Chef, entrepreneur, food activist and someone who has done more than most to raise awareness of the environmental consequences of our food production. After forays into Fruit and Veg, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall serves up 170 recipes that are dairy-free and wheat-free. These include fruity almond dairy-free shakes, wheat-free spinach wraps, ten-minute fish curry, spicy black bean tofu and raw chocolate and raspberry tarts amongst many other healthy alternative takes on a range of cuisines.
Cook The Perfect - Mary Berry - £25.00
A regular visitor to Abingdon (Mary has a grand-daughter at a local school) Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect is here to help you cook to perfection - just like Mary! Whether you're wondering exactly how to cook salmon so that it melts in the mouth, how to cook a steak to the perfect shade of pink, or how to bake a cake that is both beautiful and delicious, Mary will guide you every step of the way.
Plenty More - Yotam Ottolenghi - £27.00
If we had to pick a favourite cookbook from the last few years, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi wins hands-down - for its inspiring mixture of food, history, culture and a subtle message for peace. But before that, there was Plenty - the cookbook that brought Ottolenghi to a wide audience. Plenty More picks up where Plenty left off, with 120 more dazzling vegetable-based dishes, this time organised by cooking method. Grilled, baked, simmered, cracked, braised or raw, the range of recipe ideas is stunning.
Paul Hollywood's British Baking - Paul Hollywood - £25.00
Join Paul Hollywood for a personal tour around the regions of Britain and discover the charming history of their finest baked delights and learn how to create them in your own kitchen. A special treat for his legion of fans!
Handmade Gifts From The Kitchen - Alison Walker - £20.00
A beautiful collection of culinary gift ideas for you to make and bake at home for friends and family. In a world where mass-produced is the norm, 'home-made' carries a certain potency of care and thought. Show that special someone how much you care by making or baking a wonderful gift, whatever the occasion. Alison Walker shows you how!
Tom Kerridge's Best Ever Dishes - Tom Kerridge - £25.00
Tom Kerridge may be Blur to Paul Hollywood's Oasis (definitely? maybe!) but as the most down-to-earth but high-flying chef on the food scene, Tom Kerridge has become known for his big flavours and beautifully crafted yet accessible food. Find the big man's twists on loads of favourites including tomato soup, chicken Kiev and rice pudding. Contains more than 100 of his favourite recipes.
Inspirational Gardens Through the Seasons - Helen Gammack - £14.99
The National Trust looks after some of the world's greatest gardens, and this glorious guide follows their progress through the seasons. From delicate spring blossom and carpets of bluebells at Emmets Garden in Kent, to luxurious mid-summer roses and wild meadows at Tyntesfield in Somerset. From golden leaves and fiery autumnal landscapes at Stourhead in Wiltshire to winter topiary and snow-dusted statues at Chirk Castle in Wrexham. There is something for everyone in this beautiful book, whatever the season. Whether you enjoy visiting gardens, shaping your own outside space, or are simply an flower and plant enthusiast, this visual feast offers inspiration to everyone, and visits a wide range of gardens - from small herb and vegetable patches to sweeping landscapes
House & Garden Fifties House - Catriona Gray - £30.00
The post-war consumer boom of the 1950s, coupled with a desire for new, innovative design resulted in one of the most exciting decades in the history of interiors - a visual revolution. Here the best illustrations and photographs to show how the use of colour, pattern, homewares and furniture evolved through the decade.