Jacqui Small, £18.99

British chef Paul Gayler's latest book, 'Mediterranean Cook', is like a wonderful taster menu of Mediterranean cookery. Dividing the countries around the Mediterranean Sea into four different sections - Central Mediterranean, Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean, Mahgreb and Egypt - Gayler gives a brief overview of cooking in countries ranging from France to Egypt, Israel to Albania.

'Mediterranean Cook' is beautifully photographed in strong colours by David Munns and contains recipes from some of his favourite chefs - Georgio Locatelli and Tod English - alongside ones from food writers Claudia Roden and Jane Grigson. The look is only marred by the use of fold-out pages which add nothing to the overall package and are bound to get torn in everyday use.

Emphasising similarities and indicating differences, Gayler's guide to this region's cuisine is a useful primer of ingredients, techniques and equipment. 'Mediterranean Cook' would be especially suitable for anyone with a burgeoning interest in food from this part of the world but will inform even the experienced cook interested in expanding their repertoire. As for me, I'm off to try out the Roast Chicken with Hot Green Chillies and make another round of Semolina and Almond Cake...

Caroline Hennessy