Quick and easy cookbooks

Time Out reviews the best recipe books for simple, satisfying meals

How to Feed Your Friends with Relish

Joanna Weinberg

, Bloomsbury, £20

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No ifs, no buts, no qualifications – this is a great cookery book. Being book-sized, not cookbook-sized, with pretty etchings on the cover, it looks somewhat like a trendy reprint of a Jane Austen novel.

Inside, food writer Joanna Weinberg introduces her love affair with food and recipes. So far, so Stinking Bishop. However, Weinberg soon gets to the point – how to entertain your loved ones at home without reaching for a Valium sandwich. No matter how busy your life gets, she begs, don’t give up cooking for your friends, and she offers her favourite roast chicken recipe as an easy fall-back.

Around 50 of the book’s 288 pages are given over to tips and etiquette, which sounds dreary but is actually helpful; from entertaining in very small spaces (she once lived in NYC) to ‘who sits where and why it matters’, for instance.

Recipes are broken into categories (supper, parties, comfort cooking, barbecues…). Her gorgeous slow-roast lamb with melting vegetables proved too tempting for the nominally veggie member of our party, and ‘Sex and the City’ fans will appreciate having the Magnolia Bakery cupcake recipe within easy reach. ‘How to Feed Your Friends with Relish’, to give the book its full title, will go a long way in helping you successfully do just that.

Simone Baird

Buy this cookbook