Okay, so a flat, rectangular package under the Christmas tree isn’t going to fool anyone. But when all the whizzbang doodads and gallimaufry of geegaws have been cast aside, the book is the one gift that keeps on giving. It allows the reader to remove himself from the festive fluster ruffling feathers in the family home and retreat into a world populated by cleverly woven characters, landscapes, or, as here, grub. Just please remember to scrawl a personal missive inside the front cover. It’s the only time you’re allowed- indeed, implored, to deface a book.

Cinnamon Kitchen: The Cookbook- Vivek Singh

Vivek Singh’s culinary genius combined with Abdul Yaseen’s skill at the stove means the food at Cinnamon Kitchen is worth braving an entire battalion of braying City Boys. From canapés to cocktails, grills to gooey puds, the book’s lavish with the photography, heavy on temptation, and exceptionally generous with sharing Cinnamon’s Kitchen’s tips, techniques and trade secrets.

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Faviken- Magnus Nilssen

Magnus Nilssen’s Swedish restaurant, Faviken Magasinet, is a remote pilgrimage for dedicated foodies fascinated by the chef’s uber-local, uber-seasonal and uber-involved cuisine. Utilising an encyclopedia’s-worth of ingredients, the recipes aren’t for the faint hearted, but this book will make any chin-stroking wannabe food philosopher groan with sheer pleasure rather than derision.

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Scandinavian Christmas- Trine Hahnemann

Trine Hahnemann’s no-nonsense, healthy and homely approach is refreshing at a time of year when many culinary’goddesses’ of dubious pedigree are more ‘fur coat’ than ‘knickers’. Here, Trine’s donned her most sensible celebratory britches to bring a raft of lovely Scandinavian preserves, brilliant bakes and seasonal feasts to the British table with few fancy frills- this fodder doesn’t need dressing up.

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Capital Spice- Chrissie Walker

A brilliant balance of restaurant recipes and detailed chef profiles from a lady who counts most of London’s Indian culinary elite as close personal friends. Chrissie Walker is an unsung expert in the food of the subcontinent, making Capital Spice an informative, warm and engaging read- not to mention a stellar guide to the 21 London Indian restaurant gems you must patronise in 2013.

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How Do you Measure Up?- Shirley Bond

This unassuming little tome would make a canny stockingfiller for anyone with a few foreign cookbooks in their collection; who caters for large groups; or just encounters the odd culinary conundrum concerning conversions. With all the stress of Christmas cooking, handing this gift over early might just nab you a big wet kiss under the mistletoe- so choose your recipient wisely.

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Who Put The Beef In Wellington?- James Winter

A stellar examination of 50 classic and well-loved dishes and their origins. James Winter explores the etymology of a range of esoteric recipe names, from chicken Kiev to the Reuben sandwich. Did the former really have roots in its eponymous city, and what sort of bloke was Reuben…if he indeed existed at all? Both entertaining and informative, a good ‘un for nuggets of trivia to amuse on Christmas Day.

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Tibits at Home

Tibit’s chain of’weigh and pay’ veggie restaurants are hugely popular- and often bank balance-breaking. Post-Christmas, everyone’s trying to save pounds both on their hips and in their pockets, so this healthy-eating bible could be a clever solution. The recipes are colourful, interesting and, thankfully, not overly worthy. Because nothing scuppers a dietary regime quicker than rabbit food.

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Salt Sugar Smoke: The Definitive Guide to Conserving, from Jams and Jellies to Smoking and Curing- Diana Henry

A typically handsome offering from Diana Henry, covering all the techniques you could possibly require for a long hard winter when there’s little better way to heat the house than with a spot of’putting up’. Pick your method carefully, though- a bubbling pot of jam keeps the kitchen toasty, but smoking a side of salmon is more likely to have you cracking a window to extract the fishy fumes.

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Canapes- Victoria Blashford-Snell & Eric Treuille

One for those in charge of the New Year’s Eve menu, perhaps. Small eats just won’t quit, and from dim sum to pintxos (aka’things on sticks’), there seems to be endless appetite for little bites. Forget the ridiculously parsimonious classic’8 canapes per person, per hour’ rule and knock up a global feast of diminutive pancakes, pakoras, pierogis and parcels from every corner of the world.

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Sherbet & Spice: The Complete Story of Turkish Sweets and Desserts- Mary Isin

Turkish delight has been in the British Christmas conscience for aeons- with greedy little Edmund famously giving into its gelatinous glories in’The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. But there’s a lot more to the country’s confections. Mary Isin’s scholarly history delves into all things sweet from helva to dondurma by way of baklava. Perfect for sabotaging’healthy eating’ New Year’s resolutions.

Read the full Foodepedia review later this month… in the meantime, buy on Amazon here