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OK, it’s true, I’m among those cookbook lovers who pour through end-of-year lists proclaiming which ones are best and most warrant giving as gifts to loved ones. They all repeat each other, those lists! And while I sometimes agree (yes, Mamushka is wonderful), there are books that somehow got off the radar and really deserve attention at this point in the marketing cycle (which, let’s be real, is what these lists are about).  So with 9-days-to-go, and despite my bah-humbug, anti-materialist spirit, I’m hopping on the bandwagon.

The Groundnut Cookbook is a book to judge by its cover, based on its lush, colourful front and back, illustrated by one of its authors, Duval Timothy.  (I’ve fantasized actually about curtains, wallpaper and poster prints in this vibrant, sumptuous pattern, that’s how beautiful I find it.)

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“Family in Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya and South Sudan connect us to Africa, though south London is the landscape that brings us together.  It provides the markets where we shop and the spaces where we host our dinners.  It’s the place we call home,”  write authors and cooks Duval Timothy, Jacob Fodio Todd and Folayei Brown, by way of an introduction.  Their book is based on years of supper club events and deeply celebrates the food of families, travels, and creative fusions. The Groundnut Cookbook is page after page of dishes that are comforting, spicy, fruity, and belly-filling– gorgeously documented in photographs and more Timothy illustrations of essential ingredients.

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I feel very excited by this book. While it’s a great and useful compendium of recipes from various cuisines of Africa, it’s also a statement of Britain as we are now– multicultural with appetites hungry to share one another’s culinary experience.  I’m especially interested to try their Jollof Rice (after the fiasco that was Jamie Oliver’s cheffing the dish up so much that it felt to many like cultural appropriation).  There are also delicious, down-to-earth recipes for fundamentals like Groundnut Stew, millet, and Ethiopian-styled lentils– homecooking that’s sustainable, affordable, and lively in flavour and spirit.  And of course the Butter Bean Terrine (to be blogged soon) which is a vegan dream of an appealing, slightly posh way to serve beans.

Meanwhile I have Tiger Nuts soaking