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#AskAlfresco... cooking!

"Who are your favourite chefs? I want to buy my daughter, in her first year of university, a cookery book for her birthday but not sure which to get. She loves cooking and we eat mostly vegetarian. Thanks, Peter"

This was a fun question to answer Peter! I have far too many cookbooks, I can’t get enough of the beautiful pictures and colours of the pages and I can’t stop myself from buying them even though I know I have too many! I was looking through my books trying to find the best ones to recommend, and I realised that I only use around four on a regular basis.

Ottolenghi - Plenty & Plenty More

Ok this is technically two but I couldn’t possibly choose between them! I fell in love with Ottolenghi after reading his weekly column in the Guardian. He has the most beautiful and interesting recipes. Some are easy, lots are difficult- all are delicious! Get for your daughter if she’s up for a challenge.

Anna Jones – Modern Way to Cook

Anna Jones is a chef I’ve only discovered over the past year. Her recipes are healthy, nourishing and mostly vegan. She’s a wonderful writer, and her recipes are easy to make and follow.

 Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - River Cottage Veg Everyday

A few months ago a friend made me a delicious orzo pasta with mushrooms. When I asked for the recipe, she lent me this book. I haven’t been able to give it back yet! This is comfort food and family food. If your daughter is living with friends, she’ll find plenty in here to cook for big shared dinners.

Anna Mae’s Mac N Cheese

If your daughter likes comfort food then this is the perfect book for her. Nothing more needed!

Desserts!

Lastly, something for the sweet stuff! Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. This is a wonderful book – her recipe for banana cake is now a family favourite, as is her sublime cherry and almond loaf. Nigella’s recipes are simple and delicious. Every time I open it I find a new recipe to try out.