Christmas decorations in shops and advertising on the telly have me tutting and spluttering like a rabid Ebenezer Scrooge. Yes, I am getting older and policemen getting younger and all that, but Christmas is starting waaay too early in my estimation. You barely get past the gunpowder smoke of Guy Fawkes Night before you are confronted with a sea of tinsel and the insane, manic tinkle of sleigh bells from every direction. This is of course nothing new, and I'll be looking forward to stuffing myself and the turkey with the best of them over the coming months, but I'll be doing it in a grumpy irascible kind of way, like a slightly grumpy yet twinkly-eyed uncle. Which, now I read it back sounds a bit creepy.
So, a few books that I have liked over the last couple of weeks might be of interest to you. You might want to put them on your lists for Santa. That evil fascist housebreaker we love so much.
The River Cottage Meat Book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Part cookbook, part guide to butchery, part polemic on the way we eat and rear our meat. I seriously loved this book. A cookbook with heart, courage and one that treats it readers with intelligence and compassion. Bloody huge too.
The Uninvited by Geling Yan
Chinese thriller. Unemployed Joe figures he can eat well if he pretends to be a journalist and gatecrashes state sponsored banquets. Things go awry.
Simply Bill by Bill Granger
Probably a bit old now, Sydney's favourite cooking son makes simple, good looking food. The kind of cookbook that usually annoys me a bit. All a bit too clean and shiny. However, the recipes are top notch and I've begrudgingly enjoyed cooking from it.
In Search of Perfection by Heston Blumenthal
I don't know if you've been watching this series on BBC 2 as Heston reinvents classic dishes through the lens of molecular gastronomy. Fun to watch and in this accompanying book, fun to read, though I doubt I'll ever attempt to spray paint a chocolate gateau.
Favourite Christmas Recipes - Traditional Seasonal Fare
I have no idea where you'll find this. The girlfriend picked it up for me in a National Trust Property and is a pamphlet sized cookbook, chock a block full of stuff like Spiced Beef, Venison and Chestnut Casserole, Plum Pudding, Hard Sauce and a mulled wine called The Bishop. I loved it.