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Dishoom's Shamil Thakrar Recommends His Favourite Reads of 2019

Posted on 9th December 2019 by Mark Skinner

As co-author of the divine Dishoom, Shamil Thakrar created one of the most sumptuous and immersive cookbooks of the year. In this article he recommends the recipe guides that have made his mouth water over the past twelve months, as well as revealing the non-cookery related volumes that he will be sharing or hoping to receive this Christmas.

Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger

Ella Rusbridger’s writing is brave and honest and beautiful and moving, and the illustrations bring it to life. This book made me cry, made me smile, lifted my heart and helped me with some cooking, too. I’m indebted.

£22.00
Hardback
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Recipe guide as both self-help manual and candid biography, Midnight Chicken rejoices in those life-affirming moments when half an hour in the kitchen really does feel like emotional salvation. Fun, accessible recipes wrapped in warm, intimate prose, Risbridger’s inspirational work will help you fall in love with cooking all over again.
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The Quick Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer

I love this series. My wife Saloni is vegetarian and we’ve had delicious weeknight suppers from the Green Roasting Tin book. (The beetroot tarts are first-class!) This book does exactly what it says on the tin (sorry) - chop stuff up, perhaps mix it a bit, shove it in a roasting tin, put tin in oven, and enjoy! Buy it for your time-starved friend who can’t cook or doesn’t have time to cook. Buy them a nice enamel roasting tin too. They’ll love you for it.

£17.99
Hardback
In stock
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Championed by our booksellers and adored by the public, Rukmini Iyer’s Roasting Tin books are beautifully produced recipe guides that really deliver. Now, after breathing fresh life into traditional and vegan dishes, the wait is over for the third volume; a great collection of meals that can be prepared in 10 minutes or less.
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The Lost Orchard by Raymond Blanc

The Lost Orchard is a cookbook, but it also a lyrical and loving history, an ode to the English orchard. Mr. Blanc transports you to his beautiful Oxfordshire garden where, amongst the trees he reveals himself to be as joyful a gardener as he is a chef.

£20.00
Hardback
Out of stock
A beautifully presented recipe guide that doubles as a nostalgic paean to the heritage and provenance of forgotten varieties of British fruit, Blanc’s latest volume is much, much more than just a cookbook. Adorned with evocative black and white drawings and a treasury of anecdote, The Lost Orchard is a sumptuous feast for the senses.

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The Book of St John by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver

St John is a legendary culinary institution. I am sure that this book will be treasured as a bible of British food for decades to come. Aside from capturing the recipes and stories of one of my favourite restaurants, I love the book’s celebration of the joy of breaking (absolutely first-rate) bread together. The St John books are also the some of the most beautifully written cookbooks there are. Even reading the cooking instructions gives me joy.

£35.00
Hardback
10+ in stock
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Behind the scenes of St. John, one of the most iconic restaurants in London, this marvellously entertaining book imparts not only the secrets behind some truly delicious dishes but also the quirky culinary philosophy behind the whole enterprise. An entire sensory experience within the pages of a beautifully produced recipe guide.
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Greenfeast: Spring, Summer by Nigel Slater

Nigel Slater’s writing is a delight. I feel that this book is to cookery books what haiku is to poetry. It is elegant and evocative and strong. The collection of wonderful everyday recipes will become a go-to for simple, satisfying dinners.

£24.00
Hardback
10+ in stock
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A landmark publication, Nigel Slater’s Eat has become the touchstone for his trademark style of cookery: quick recipes and easy ingredients that come from pan to plate with minimum fuss. It is food you want to eat. Now Slater returns with a two-volume vegetable-based follow-up (the second volume is published in September) that brings the Eat ethos to how we cook today.
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Agent Running in the Field by John Le Carre

A Le Carre book is a such an enormous pleasure. George Smiley is like an old and dear friend to me, and I often find myself missing his company. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is surely the best spy novel ever written. This book is set not in the 1960s but today, in the time of Brexit and Trump, and I hear it is thrilling and masterful. I’m looking forward to pouring myself a decently large glass of single malt and settling back into my armchair with this.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

I have deep gratitude to the author for writing this. I have already given it to a few people. It has a few simple words with a few simple and beautiful drawings, which have moved me to tears and given me courage. It is a kind, generous and powerful book.

£16.99
Hardback
Out of stock
Already a compassionate, heart-warming online phenomenon, Charlie Mackesy’s gently inspirational paintings and delicate calligraphic text fill this beautifully produced volume. The subtle, profound relationships between the quartet of titular characters form a plea for kindness and understanding in an often cruel and callous world.

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Legacy by Thomas Harding

What a wonderful book. I was gripped. I will be giving it to a few people this Christmas. This is the story of the Salmon / Gluckstein business dynasty, which starts in 1808 in Germany and spans the next two centuries. From a family of poor Jewish immigrants in a small flat in Whitechapel in Victorian London rolling cigarettes to sell and battling poverty and anti-semitism all the way through five generations to a business empire including the largest catering company in the UK.

£25.00
Hardback
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'I was riveted: this is a fascinating social history.' NIGELLA LAWSON'Five stars... history on a scale at once intimate and grand.' TELEGRAPH'A magnificent book... endlessly fascinating.' JEWISH CHRONICLE'How the Lyons company took on the world... a satisfying slab of dynastic history.' GUARDIAN, 'Book of the Day''Written with love and imagination....
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Stories for South Asian Supergirls by Raj Kaur Khaira

My wife and I are raising three little supergirls and it has made my heart sing that they have inherited my insatiable appetite for reading and stories. There are 50 little stories in this book, so it should keep them satisfied and maybe even inspired for a bedtime or two.

£12.99
Hardback
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Vividly illustrated and endlessly fascinating, Stories for South Asian Supergirls gathers together fifty inspirational women from South Asia and retells their overlooked stories with verve and excitement. The perfect present for all supergirls in the making, this is a joyous, uplifting and educational collection.
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The Anarchy by William Dalrymple

The East India Company is an important part of my history as a Brit of Indian origin. My family would of course not have washed up here if the Raj had not existed. The Company was a rapacious capitalist power controlling armies and territories, aggressively focused on making its stockholders in London wealthy beyond reckoning. Dalrymple is a thoughtful and sensitive historian. I’m looking forward to reading this. It feels important.

£30.00
Hardback
Out of stock
A riveting history of the East India Company, a private enterprise that became a de facto colonial power, the great William Dalrymple’s latest book thrills to the high drama of imperial expansion and conquest through trade. The Anarchy is also a cautionary tale about the dangers of unregulated corporate greed, that reads like a pulsating historical thriller.

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