This Is Summer: Books

Keen cooks will want to add these kitchen classics and new titles to their collection – summer inspirations that can last beyond the end of August.

The Fish Store, by Lindsey Bareham
(Michael Joseph, £20)

A masterwork from one of our finest food writers, this wonderfully informative cookbook was inspired by the Cornish fishing village of Mousehole, where Bareham's sons inherited a home in a former pilchard plant. Unsurprisingly, 150 pages of this richly rewarding work are devoted to fish recipes. Almost all are fine summer food but Star Gazy Pie, the most famous local dish, is traditionally eaten on 23 December.

Amaretto, Apple Cake & Artichokes, by Anna Del Conte
(Vintage, £12)

Adored by Delia and Nigella, Anna Del Conte has done more than anyone else to bring the true taste of Italian cuisine to the British kitchen. Ranging from a 15th century recipe for roast leg of lamb in saffron and balsamic vinegar sauce to spaghetti with squid stew, this collection of her crème de la crème should inspire an endless banquet of the warm south whether you're summering in San Gimigiano or Solihull.

Vegetarian Dishes from the Middle East, by Arto Der Haroutunian
(Grub Street, £14.99)

White bean salad, stuffed vine leaves, walnut and chickpea soup, spicy aubergine with cheese, rice and courgette pilav, pumpkin with apricot and rice... I found myself wanting to eat everything in this collection of tasty veggie dishes. First published in 1983, this book is a reminder that the late Arto Der Haroutunian, who was born in Aleppo but lived in Manchester, banged the drum for Levantine cuisine years before it became fashionable.

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
(Ebury, £25)

For those of us who do not live adjacent to branches of this fashionable eatery (Notting Hill, Islington, Kensington, Belgravia), this ultra-stylish cookbook shows what we're missing. Aiming to create "a feast of bold colours and generous gestures", the authors Ottolenghi (Jewish) and Tamini (Palestinian) specialise in intensive Mediterranean flavours. Lamb cutlets with walnut, fig and goat's cheese salad are typical.



Reggae Reggae Cookbook, by Levi Roots
(Collins, £14.99)

Though the peripheries of this Jamaican feast, from Caribbean chicken soup ("put the chicken in a duchy") to sweet potato pudding ("no one will ever guess this has any vegetables in it"), will suit the pallid European palate, the main courses are made of sterner stuff. Licha fish requires two red snapper and two Scotch bonnet chillies. Roots' "juice jerk seasoning" demands four of these phosphoric blighters. Still, if you can't stand the heat...

Delizia, by John Dickie
(Sceptre, £8.99)

Packed with nutritious nuggets, this history of the Italian passion for food ranges from the obscure, such as the Florentine lampredotto, to dishes that have become worldwide staples. Sicilians were eating pasta a century before Marco Polo's trip to the Orient, though fondness for pizza was long delayed by fear of cholera germs. This book may be enjoyed everywhere but, like spaghettini alla puttanesca, it will be best consumed in Italy.

A Late Dinner, by Paul Richardson
(Bloomsbury, £7.99)

Though not a cookbook, this culinary ramble is essential reading for anyone heading for Spain this summer. From the introductory account of Madrid ("tin platters of prawns alla plancha, juicy steamed mussels..."), via the seafront at Benidorm ("The snails... were so good that I decided to stay put"), to the supernatural titbits offered at the legendary El Bulli near Barcelona, Richardson's eloquent descriptions are graphic to the point of pain.

The New English Table, by Rose Prince
(Fourth Estate, £25)

A beacon of talent and intelligence, Prince has generated a devoted and appreciative following without benefit of a TV series. Writing in a tone that is all her own, her recipes are moral, healthy, economical and (in case this sounds too uplifting for words) extremely tasty. Summer treats in this year-round treasure trove include green celery, crayfish and potato salad and the irresistible "melted cheese with ale to eat with bread".

How to Cook without Recipes, by Glynn Christian
(Portico, £12.99)

For poolside reading, food-lovers should grab this profoundly well-informed work of culinary theory. Christian explains how our perception of five primary tastes can be used in revelatory combinations that he calls "flavour trails". His suggestions include a few drops of Tabasco in chocolate ice cream ("a restrained and elegant sensation") and white fish in a sauce of white wine, dried mushrooms and chocolate: "seems so perfect to me".

The Big Oyster, by Mark Kurlansky
(Vintage, £8.99)

The story of oysters in New York may not sound a compelling holiday read, but if you are heading there, this is the book to take. It has been estimated that the harbour once "contained half the world's oysters". Kurlansky's account of both consumers (native Americans left small mountains of shells) and consumed is utterly fascinating: "If the oyster is opened carefully, the diner is eating an animal with a working brain and a still-beating heart."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine