A taste of Christmas with our favourite Food and Drink Books

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. Let us take you on a culinary tour of the world as we review 10 food and drink books and select our favourite recipes.

Rick Stein: The Road to Mexico

Rick Stein: The Road to Mexico

Rick Stein brings his unrivalled enthusiasm and trusted expertise to the fresh, flavourful food of Mexico and California. No one better captures the food essence of a country and brings the best recipes into our kitchens than Rick.
Starting in San Francisco and Baja California, and working his way down to the southernmost tip of Mexico, Rick Stein cooks, eats and experiences Mexican food at its very best and most diverse.
Packed with vegetables, centred around fresh ingredients and always high on flavour, Mexican and Californian cooking is naturally healthy and satisfying – from the incredible seafood of the north Pacific coast and the mole of Oaxaca, to the spices and salsas of Yucatan and Quintana Roo.

Stanfords Staff Select: Prawn panuchos with avocado and refried beans. A simple Mexican street food dish that would be great for Boxing Day brunch.

Around the World in 80 Cocktails


Around the World in 80 Cocktails celebrates the globetrotting history of the cocktail through eighty different cocktails – each with its own story to tell. Bartender and writer Chad Parkhill takes you on a whirlwind tour of the places that have shaped the history of the cocktail from its birth to the present day, with recipes so you can follow along at home. You’ll learn about the surprising military history behind the bubbly, vivacious Venetian Spritz; how the G&T moved from India to England (and why the best in the world are now made in Spain); and how France’s Burgundy region turned tragedy into triumph with the Kir. Accompanied by gorgeous vintage-styled illustrations, these stories and recipes are an ode to the joys of travel, history, and drinking. With wonderful vintage style illustrations, reminiscent of old travel advertisements

Stanfords Staff Select: Oaxaca Old Fashioned. With añejo mescal, agave nectar, chocolate mole bitters and orange peel to garnish, we think this has a Christmas chocolate orange vibe.



From the winner of the Observer’s Rising Star Award and Fortnum & Mason Debut Food Book Award 2016 comes a celebration of the food and flavours of the Caucasus – bridging Europe and Asia and incorporating Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iran, Russia and Turkey. Olia Hercules introduces us to more than 100 recipes for vibrant, earthy, unexpected dishes from across the region such as plum fruit leather, quince stuffed with lamb & caramelised shallots, vine leaf dolma, village breakfast, Armenian “cognac” profiteroles and red basil sherbet.

Stanfords Staff Select: Badrijani nigvzit or aubergine rolls. There are so many recipes for stuffed aubergines in the Caucasus. This one contains so many great flavours and is suitable for vegetarians.

Recipes from an Italian Butcher

150 inspiring and authentic Italian recipes for meat, poultry, and game – from the world’s most trusted authority on Italian cuisine. The Italian approach to cooking with meat is to keep things straightforward and maximize the flavour. This book showcases simple, hearty dishes that are true to this tradition, from chicken cacciatore and braised beef with Barolo to osso buco and Roman lamb. With more than 150 recipes, most published for the first time in English, it’s comprehensive and authoritative, demystifying the different cuts, cooking methods, and techniques unique to each meat type – along with the side dishes that best complement them.

Stanfords Staff Select: Turkey fricassee with porcini. If you find turkey a bit bland but can’t imagine Christmas without it, this is an ideal solution.

The Palestinian Table

Authentic modern Middle Eastern home cooking – 150 delicious, easy-to-follow recipes inspired by three generations of family tradition. While interest in Middle Eastern cuisines has blossomed, the nuances and subtleties of Palestinian food are still relatively unexplored. In The Palestinian Table, Reem Kassis weaves a tapestry of personal anecdotes, local traditions, and historical context, sharing with home cooks her collection of nearly 150 delicious, easy-to-follow recipes that range from simple breakfasts and quick-to-prepare salads to celebratory dishes fit for a feast – giving rare insight into the heart of the Palestinian family kitchen.

Stanfords Staff Select: Toasted bread pudding with cream and pistachios. Toasted bread is soaked in flavoured sugar syrup then topped with cream and pistachios. Sounds simple but the flavours are so luxurious.

Naples and the Amalfi Coast

The newest addition to the popular Silver Spoon cookbook series provides a culinary guide to one of Italy’s best-loved regions. Naples and the Amalfi Coast takes readers on a rich gastronomic journey through a perennially appealing, visually stunning region of Italy. The delightfully authentic dishes featured include fennel biscuits and other locally beloved antipasti, such classics as pizza Margherita, and an array of mouth-watering desserts. Chapters spotlight key produce and ingredients, from buffalo mozzarella from Benevento to lemons from Sorrento. Beautifully designed, with vivid colour photographs throughout, this gorgeous recipe collection is destined for both kitchen shelves and coffee tables.

Stanfords Staff Select: Ravioli Capresi. Perfect comfort food. An easy to follow recipe for a dish that tastes delicious and fresh.

My Vegan Travels: Comfort Food Inspired by Adventure

75 satisfying plant-based recipes for comfort food from around the world. A food-lover and keen traveller, Jackie Kearney became a favourite MasterChef UK finalist in 2011 thanks to her creative approach to vegetarian and vegan cooking that took inspiration from all over the world. Featuring recipes such as my big fat veggie cottage pie, campfire risotto with asparagus and lemon, French onion soup with cashew cheese croutons, beetroot and watercress samosas with pineapple chutney and desserts including a chai-spiced rice pudding with ginger. With a guide to the vegan store cupboard and basic recipes for easy vegan mayo, cashew cream, flax eggs and almond ricotta, this is the essential book for all those looking for deliciously satisfying plant-based food.

Stanfords Staff Select: Baked beetroot and horseradish Mornay. An amazing way to Mornay sauce without cheese.

The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure

The Hairy Bikers are on their bikes again, searching out the very best recipes from around the world. This time, they’re discovering the most delicious food from our favourite Mediterranean countries. Including recipes from their upcoming prime time BBC Two cookery show, The Hairy Bikers’ Mediterranean Adventure celebrates the culinary delights of France, Spain and Italy. With more of us understanding the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, these hearty and healthy dishes are a taste of the very best holiday memories. Fresh, classic, easy and seasonal, enjoy our favourite Mediterranean recipes with the nation’s favourite cooking duo.

Stanfords Staff Select: Braised rabbit with artichoke and white wine. Rabbit is a popular dish in Mallorca and Menorca and this is a great way to make the rabbit taste lovely and juicy.

And if you want to take your taste buds on tour, these Lonely Planet trail guides offer some great recommendations:


Lonely Planet Wine Trails

Wine Trails, in Lonely Planet’s “Perfect Weekends” series, introduces the secret gems in well-known regions such as Napa and Sonoma, Tuscany, Burgundy and Rioja, and also explores off-the-beaten-path regions in Georgia, Greece and beyond. Detailed itineraries recommending the most interesting wineries and the best places to stay and eat in 52 wine regions near major cities make this perfect for travel enthusiasts who enjoy wine. Winemakers offer personal insights into what wines to taste and why they’re special and help you to understand a place, its people and their traditions through the wine that is made there. Gorgeous photography, maps and in-the-know authors complete the package.

Stanfords Staff Select: Brda, Slovenia. Western Slovenia is maybe not everyone’s immediate choice for a wine tour, but it is home to historic wines, gentle hills and unforgettable hospitality.

Lonely Planet Food Trails

For everyone who loves travel and trying the local delicacies, this beautifully illustrated hardback is the must-have handbook to a year’s worth of perfect weekends around the world for food lovers. Featured trails include an homage to Buenos Aires steak, cosy wintertime French Canadian cuisine, Puglia’s distinctive dishes, and Parisian patisserie. Each trail is an itinerary, detailing when and where to indulge in the local specialties. There are 52 trails, each with gorgeous photography, a bespoke map, expert writing and practical details of how to get there and where to stay. This is the second in Lonely Planet’s ‘Perfect Weekends’ series, following the critically acclaimed Wine Trails.

Stanfords Staff Select: Iceland. Tradition collides with innovation on Iceland’s cultural West Coast, where Reykjavik and its surrounding villages pay homage to local produce in experimental cuisine.

For more food and drink books see here.

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