Tis the season for the onslaught of new cookbooks from "celebrity" chefs.
There are books that claim easy ways to cook complicated recipes, books full of recipes that you can allegedly make in 15 minutes, recipes that will make you thin and take only 90 minutes to prepare... the list is never ending.
And this is precisely why a lifestyle-focused cookbook like Angel Adoree’s The Vintage Tea Party Year stands out as much as it does.
Not only is the follow-up book to last year’s hit The Vintage Tea Party Book just as beautiful as its older sister, it’s even more diverse as it’s bursting full of recipes, drinks, beauty advice and DIY projects to help celebrate a years’s worth of holidays and special occasions. From Bonfire night to classy hen celebrations, this book is gorgeous, and exactly what we’ve all come to expect from Adoree.
What I love is that this book doesn’t try to fool you into thinking that you can create magnificent parties without putting in the effort. Everything looks as though it requires diligence and a bit of time, but that the pay-off from putting in the effort to create these delicious concoctions is well worth it.
However, that’s not to say that every recipe in the book is time demanding, overly-complicated or requiring a trip to Fortnum & Masons for ingredients you’ve never heard of. It’s actually a perfect mix of recipes with ingredients you already have in your cupboard, to the fancier dishes that might require a special trip to Waitrose.
One of the highlights of the book is the Gentleman’s Tea Party - acknowledging that not all men want a boys night full of pork crackling, Fosters and cheap sandwiches from Tesco. It embraces the lifestyle of the “chap” (or even, dare I say, the male hipster) who would enjoy an Asparagus Cigar, Brandy snaps, Curried Steak Tartare and a tutorial on how to make a bow tie. Classy, right?
I also love that Adoree has created recipes for a Coming of Age Party for thirteen year old girls. All of the recipes have that delightful “grown-up feeling”, such as the Pear and Mint Chocolate Tartlets, while still having plenty of decadent sweets such as the Chocolate Macaroons with Pearls that will appeal to a less-mature palette. I can only imagine how excited I would have been had I thrown a party at that age where we served Mocktails out of China teacups....
The Vintage Tea Party Year is truly an excellent book that will help to bring a touch of class, decadence and even magic to your family gatherings and parties in the year to come. It's definitely one for your Christmas list!
The Vintage Tea Party Year by Angel Adoree, published by Mitchell Beazley £20, octopusbooks.co.uk