Chef Lee's Top 5 Festive Cookbooks


Lee Brooks, our Food Development Manager, shares his all-time favourite cookbooks and recipes for this festive time of year.

These books cultivated his passion at the start of his Chef and Hospitality career and have given him food for thought when creating new dishes for the Macs pubs.

First up we have Practical Cookery by Ceserani and Kinton.

This book was given to Lee by his dad when he went to study at college, so holds a special sentimentality for Lee. This book is the cornerstone for any budding Chef and has some great straightforward recipes in. Lee loves to make the Sausage Rolls on Christmas Eve in his household for everyone to tuck into as the festivities begin. 

Next we have Blanc Christmas by Raymond Blanc.

One of Chef Lee’s top picks from the treasure trove of recipes is the Fillets of Pork in Puff Pastry, with Cep Cream, Chicory and Rocket. This is a great meal to serve up on the centre table when all the family is around the dinner table this Christmas period. The pork in the pastry combined with the mushroom stuffing makes a great and hearty dinner this winter.

Another favourite, taken from the same book is the Rib of Beef with Celeriac and Horseradish Puree, Celeriac Chips and Red Wine Shallot Sauce. This makes a fantastic alternative to turkey on the big day. Carve at the table to add that extra twinkle of theatre; this dish is a real show stopper.

Thirdly we have one for the non meat-eaters – The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook.

This recipe book has some great alternatives for a meat free feast this Christmas. Lee’s favourite is the enticing Chestnut Hot-Pot, which is fantastic with a crisp bottle of Pinot Grigio. This book is a great source of inspiration for dishes, written in association with the Vegetarian Society.

Our penultimate cookbook is Gary Rhodes, New British Classics.

Lee loves the Bubble and Squeak from this book. It was always a great tradition in his family to have this on Boxing Day when everyone is gathered around ready to feast. He has since taken over the mantle of cooking this up, and remains a firm favourite around the Brooks' table.

Lastly we have The Roux Brothers on Patisserie. 

This book again was given to Lee as an extra special gift from his parents for Christmas back in 1996, and is very highly regarded in his collection. Lee’s a bit of a chocoholic and one of his all-time favourite recipes is Souffles Tierdes Aux Poires Sauce Chocolat – or warm pear souffles with chocolate sauce, to you and me! These go great with our Stronghart, described as 'liquid Christmas pudding' by CAMRA. These are a great little treat over the festive period, and can even count towards one of your five-a-day!




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