Cook – A year in the kitchen with Britain's favourite chefs

Cook is one of the nicest recipe books I have come across in a long time and I am a bit picky. I like them to have mouth watering pictures which I know doesn’t mean that a recipe will actually taste good or be easy to follow, but nice pictures inspire me and they make me want to cook. Cook has some really great photos and not just of completed, tasty looking dishes, but also some rather nice images of raw ingredients and my favourite image in the book; a pile of carrot peelings! It really is a delight just flicking through the pages.

But obviously there is much more to a recipe book than the images and I do expect recipes to be easy to follow. There is nothing more annoying than finding a recipe that sounds great but then, when you read through it, you are just not sure what the instructions are getting at, especially if time is limited and you didn’t read through it all before you started cooking! Much as I enjoy a good chat on the phone with my Mum I’m sure she must tire of my numerous phone calls which start with the words ‘Hi Mum, I can’t stop to chat. I’m just cooking dinner. But what do you think this means I need to do?’ The recipes in Cook are well written and are to the point and the recipes I have so far followed have all proceeded without a single phone call to my Mum!

The recipes also, for the most part, contain ingredients I have heard of and which I can easily find in my local supermarket. There are a few ingredients  I have spotted in the book which are a bit unusual, but I really do mean a few, which makes it a very usable book. The recipes are also very simple and easy to make which is important when you are juggling making dinner with entertaining a baby and two toddlers. But by far the best thing for me is the seasonal approach to the book. It is divided into chapters according to the months of the year which means it is easy for me to find delicious recipes which suit the produce we have been growing in the garden or which suit the weather and mood of the season. We have had a Coq au vin, some sausages with roasted squash and a slightly more luxurious Cauliflower cheese than the one I usually make. And the whole family have enjoyed them all.

The recipes come from a wide range of chefs and restaurants and offer a really good selection of basic dinners to luxury meals and British classics to world flavours. There are also some really brilliant cooking tips included and a feature called ‘4 good things to do with…’ which takes one ingredient each month and offers some great suggestions for using them in some ingenious ways. I’m almost tempted to order a slightly larger turkey this year so I can try out all 4 of the good things to do with ready roasted turkey!

Cook is a great all year round cookbook and with its lovely photographs and great recipes and tips it would make a brilliant gift for Mum this Christmsas. Published by Random House, it has a recommended retail price of £25 and can be bought from numerous book shops and online here.