Compiled by Caroline Stacey

By the book

Nobody could be less like a sweary TV chef than Claudia Roden - she's a deity not a celebrity. In 1968 her Book of Middle Eastern Food introduced us to the sunshine and hospitality of her culinary heritage. Since then the region's ingredients have become easier to find, and she's been able to show us how to cook even more authentically. For her new book, Arabesque (Michael Joseph, £25), Roden unearths more gastro treasures.

Telling porkies

Suckling pig is so last year. This Christmas, get ahead of the pack with a wild boar piglet from Berwickshire. The boar were reintroduced to Scotland from Scandinavia, France and Eastern Europe, after disappearing from the the Scottish Borders forests 300 years ago. These little piggies feed on potatoes, turnips and apples in the woods.They're 15kg each and can feed up to 20 people on lean, gamey organic meat. Caledonian Connoisseur ( 505100), supplier of top Scotch produce and boasting Nick Nairn as its food director, is selling whole piglets for £190, half for £106, and a quarter for £53. Order before Monday for delivery before Christmas.

It's a cracker

I fantasise about getting away from the stove on Christmas Day. If you do too, and you still want the traditional food, try Roast. The restaurant riding the revival of British food at London's Borough Market has what it takes to make Christmas cooks go on strike. For £75 a head there's smoked trout and eel to start, goose or Angus beef as well as turkey, and pudding. After that it's open on 28 December (dinner only), 29-31 December, and from 3 January onwards.

Roast, Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London SE1. 020-7940 1300;

Pinch me

Banish all thoughts of any crab paste you've ever had before. Try this Cornish potted crab on hot toast and you'll find it's in a different league. Fresh, handpicked crab blended with Cornish butter, lemon juice and spices is all that's in it and it tastes deliciously like it. Seafood And Eat It, the Newlyn company that pots the crab, uses shellfish from sustainable sources, caught by fishing families. A 100g pot from the Cornish goodies specialist Seriously Good (0870 241 7027, costs £3.95. Also from good delis.