Mitchell Beazley, €27.99
When it's freezing outside and your mind turns to thoughts of cold weather food, you could do a lot worse than pick up a copy of Diana Henry's 'Roast Figs, Sugar Snow'. Sunday Telegraph food writer Henry is also the author of the similarly irresistible - and similarly travel orientated - 'Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons', which focused on the tastes and enchantments of the Middle East and North Africa. For 'Roast Figs, Sugar Snow', Henry was inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's descriptions of "sugar snow" in 'Little House in the Big Woods', travelling the chilly areas of the Northern Hemisphere to feature wintertime recipes from Austria, Hungary, Scandinavia, Quebec and Eastern Europe.
Lavishly photographed by Jason Lowe, 'Roast Figs, Sugar Snow' is divided into idiosyncratic chapters. Ripe and Ready is about cheese (Pommes de Terre Braytoises, for example, and the comforting sounding Georgian Cheese Pies), The Colour Purple concentrates on plums, damsons and figs (Roast Figs and Plums in Vodka and the old-fashioned Damson Cheese) while winter vegetables are the focus for Field Days (the ubiquitous Irish Stew - Henry is from Northern Ireland, and Tyrolean dumplings).
But, as Henry points out herself, the book isn't so much about ingredients as it is about weather, seasons and the kind of food that our bodies crave when it's cold. Just flicking through this book is enough to make you yearn for The Dartmoor Inn's Apple Bread, Galettes Soubises and Hennickehammar's Toasted Ginger Cake, especially when the nights draw in early and dark.
Like Henry's first book, this is scattered with wonderful quotes and writings from seasonal songs, books and poems, making 'Roast Figs, Sugar Snow' a book that is worth reading as well as cooking from. A fabulous way to celebrate the gloomy times of the year.