Recipes for success: Cookbooks for Christmas

From tips on foraging to Michelin star cuisine, Charles Campion rounds up his favourite cookbooks for Christmas
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1. Edible Wild Plants and Herbs

This revised edition of Edible Wild Plants and Herbs is another welcome re-publication from Grub Street. It lists plants alphabetically, so you'll get recipes for acorn coffee, white dead nettle shampoo, or roast lamb with tansy. As well as opening the reader's eyes to just how much foragable food there is, the excellent plant paintings give you a chance of recognising what's what in the field. 'Edible Wild Plants and Herbs' by Pamela Michael, Grub Street, £20

2. Persia in Peckham

We all know at least one serious cook who already owns most of the year's popular cookbooks, but luckily the small publisher Prospect Books publishes interesting cookbooks that are sufficiently off- piste to charm even them. Persia in Peckham is the collected recipes of a shop called Persepolis run by Sally Butcher and her Iranian husband. The recipes include "potted shrimps with saffron" and "Earl Grey ice cream with chick pea shortbread". 'Persia in Peckham' by Sally Butcher, Prospect Books, £17.99

3. How to Feed Your Friends

With RelishOn the one hand, Relish has 175 recipes; on the other it is larded with reminiscence and chunks of frank autobiography. The book winds from useful to entertaining and back again. You have to warm to a paragraph headed "Seduction" – in the section "Romancing at home" it is noted that eating take-away sushi off plates scattered across the living room carpet has potential as a first date ice-breaker. Good fun. 'How to Feed Your Friends With Relish' by Joanna Weinberg, Bloomsbury, £20

4. The Creators – individuals of Irish

FoodAfter a flood of British books where the authors have finally got around to giving some credit to small producers, here is an Irish one. In The Creators – individuals of Irish food, Dianne Curtin gives a revealing picture of more than a dozen great Irish food producers. As well as effective recipes, there is a directory of producers and farmers' markets. It's easy to imagine sitting up in bed reading this book as you plan a week's gastro tourism in Ireland. 'The Creators' by Dianne Curtin, Atrium, £19.95

5. Gordon Ramsay *** Chef

Forget the swear words, this howitzer of a book is all about Ramsay's three-star Michelin cooking at his Royal Hospital Road restaurant. The first half of the book is devoted to gastro-porn – delicious dishes with lavish photography by Quentin Bacon. The second half has very advanced recipes – "pork cheeks with pork fillet wrapped in Parma ham, black pudding, baby turnips and sautéed morels". Serious stuff, seriously glossy book.'Gordon Ramsay *** Chef', Quadrille, £40

6. Bean Eaters & Bread Soup

The subtitle to Bean Eaters and Bread Soup is "Portraits and Recipes from Tuscany". The photographs, by our own Jason Lowe, make a fine job of capturing the people, the places and the passion. The recipes and words are by Jason's partner Lori De Mori and she brings both the bean eaters and the bread soup to life. Food producers are inextricably bound up with terroir; and this book expresses this perfectly. 'Bean Eaters & Bread Soup' by Lori De Mori and Jason Lowe, Quadrille, £20

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