Mum and Dad bought M and me two cookbooks for Christmas: The Zilli Cookbook - with recipes such as Field Mushrooms with Goats Cheese Gratin, Grilled Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella Wrapped in Parma Ham, Pasta and Bean Soup, Fried Taleggio Tomato and Basil Salad, Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic and Chilli, Pappardelle with Tuna Meatballs, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Potato Gratin with Fontina Cheese, and Turkey Escalopes with Lemon Sauce.
Zilli is proprietor of London's Zilli Café, Zilli Fish Too, Zilli Fish and Signor Zilli Restaurant & Bar, none of which I have visited, but my parents bought the book because I had told them the chef is renowned for his robust and hearty Italian food.
The other cookbook they bought us was one that M has been wanting for a long time now but which neither of us have gotten round to buying: Arabesque - A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon by Claudia Roden. We already own her The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand and Vilna to the Present Day, which is filled with lovely recipes such as Meatballs and Apricots in Tomato Sauce, Spinach Risotto, Lamb with Prunes, Lentil Soup, Risotto with Artichokes, Potatoes with Black Olives, and Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts. Half of M's family are Jewish so this cookbook is a staple.
But closely related to this cooking is Arabic cooking and this book is filled with delicious-sounding recipes I can't wait to try: Tuna with Red Bell Pepper Sauce, Tagine Of Knuckle of Veal with Aubergine, Courgette Fritters, Creamy Filo Spinach Pie, Turkish Yoghurt Cake, Roast Chicken with Pine Nut and Raisin Pilaf, and Chicken with Fresh Figs and Walnuts.
M does alot of the cooking in our household, simply because he enjoys cooking more and trying out new recipes. He's very adventurous and maybe it's the chemist in him (he has a PhD in it, though he's now a lawyer) but he loves thinking about how different ingredients interact with each other. Despite rarely making new year resolutions, I may vow in 2007 to cook more. These two books may serve as a good starting point.
Meanwhile, my mum has been cooking some delicious Indian food for Christmas: king prawns with sweet potatoes and spinach, minced beef with mixed vegetables, and cauliflower with peas and potatoes. I'm stuffed!