There are only two reasons to read the Evening Standard in my opinion. This nastily right wing London newspaper is only edged out by the Daily Mail in offensiveness and because it employs two great regular columnists. On of them is Victor Lewis-Smith who writes about TV (in the end) and the other is Lindsey Bareham, with her daily recipe.

Luckily, after getting three of her books for my birthday I probably have little need to read her column again. Except one of the most striking thing about Bareham as a cookery writer is how much she seems to go out and eat. At least once a week in her Standard column she mentions how she had something great in some such restaurant and then proceeds to tell you how she thinks they did it. Actually the usual line is, ‘I went home and after some experimentation came up with this version, which in replacing the X with Y is even more crispy/crunchy/chewy/moreish/tasty.’ It is a no nonsense form of blowing her own trumpet which also succeeds in making the aspiring cook think that by making it they are part of the great cook gang (it is a restaurant recipe so great). Bareham understands that recipe cooking, that is cooking something new, is not a million miles from going out. We want it to be good and we want it to be different. Trying something new takes a special effort, as does going out. Bareham possibly understands this because she used to be a restaurant critic before going into what many might see the business of churning out recipes.

My favourite Bareham book is In Praise Of The Potato, which is a book solely about cooking potatoes and recipes which feature them prominently. It has just the right amount of theory and practice, she is not hectoring and tells you plenty of ways to vary the recipes. Fundamentally you do get the feeling that she has made and eaten every one of the three hundred odd recipes – tasting and testing them to get them just right. The Sri Lankan Chicken and Potato Curry I made on Saturday is now a solid staple for me, even if it relies on roasting and grinding about twelve spices, the whole thing is never daunting. And I have not even gone into The Big Red Tomato Book and A Celebration Of Soup yet – await further reports.