Pastoral cooking

‘RIVER COTTAGE’: A call for living off the land.

IT'S ANOTHER British invasion for import-cookbook lovers. The latest wave of impressive cookbooks published in the UK -- written by prominent chefs and food writers (and a novelist too) -- is picking up steam. Although some are available only as imports, more are spinning off into American editions. For Anglophiles, the last year's publications are the next best thing to actually having breakfast at the Wolseley or dinner at Maze, or cooking with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall or Fergus Henderson.

Fat Duck chef Heston Blumenthal's highly anticipated "The Big Fat Duck Cookbook" will be available simultaneously in the U.S. and the UK in October. The U.S. versions of Anna Del Conte's "The Painter, the Cook and the Art of Cucina" and Jamie Oliver's "Jamie at Home" also come out this fall. And last year saw the American edition of the much-lauded "Roast Chicken and Other Stories" by Simon Hopkinson (and his new "Week In Week Out" was published this year across the pond).

For imports, check the Cook's Library in Los Angeles and www.amazon.co.uk.

"The Big Fat Duck Cookbook" by Heston Blumenthal. This is Fat Duck chef Blumenthal's coming showstopper of a cookbook -- with gorgeous photos (of dishes such as nitro-poached green tea and lime mousse), cloth binding and slip case (multiple ribbons too). It's divided into three sections: history (the restaurant's rise to three Michelin stars), recipes (for example, sardine-on-toast sorbet and chocolate wine), and science (experts talk about synaesthesia). October, Bloomsbury Publishing.

"Jamie's Ministry of Food: Anyone Can Learn to Cook in 24 Hours" by Jamie Oliver. Fun-loving chef-personality Oliver has been prolific. On the heels of the coming U.S. edition of "Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life" this fall (published in the UK last September and which follows the U.S. version of "Cooking With Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook"), comes "Ministry of Food," to persuade those who are kitchen-shy "to have a go." October, Michael Joseph Ltd. Import.

"My Favourite Ingredients" by Skye Gyngell. Australian food writer and head chef at the Petersham Nurseries Cafe in Richmond, Surrey, comes out with her second cookbook (following "A Year in My Kitchen"), highlighting seasonal ingredients in recipes such as raw white asparagus with porcini, roasted hazelnuts and Parmesan; and fritto misto of artichokes with lemon, mint and anchovy vinaigrette.August, Quadrille Publishing. Import.

"The River Cottage Cookbook" by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Published in the U.S. in May by Ten Speed Press, this is the American edition of a book that outlines the pastoral ideal of cooking, one that involves supporting the environment and local economies, even if you don't happen to grow your own fruit and vegetables and slaughter your own animals. Fearnley-Whittingstall (a celebrity via his BBC television shows) also tells you how to pick a perfect mushroom or how to make nettle soup.

"Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite" by Gordon Ramsay. In between shooting "Hell's Kitchen" and expanding his restaurant empire (Gordon Ramsay at the London West Hollywood opened last month), Ramsay brought out his latest cookbook, published in May by Quadrille, right after "Gordon Ramsay: Recipes From a 3-Star Chef" and "Gordon Ramsay's Fast Food." This one's for calorie counters and the like. Think rump of lamb with Puy lentils, saffron-marinated bream, or turkey brochettes. Import.

"Ottolenghi: The Cookbook" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The Ottolenghi shops in London are filled with bright, modern, mostly eastern Mediterranean dishes -- mejadarah (spiced basmati rice and brown lentils with fried onions) or baked sardines with bulgur, "Iranian berries" and pomegranate. The book, published in May by Ebury Press, comprises 140 recipes: salad and roast vegetable dishes, cold meats and fish, main dishes, breads and sweets (such as the pistachio meringues that are displayed in their windows). Import.

"Breakfast at the Wolseley" by A. A. Gill. London's swells do breakfast at the Wolseley -- all high ceilings and fancy silverware -- tucking into fried duck eggs with Ayrshire bacon, boiled eggs with soldiers, grilled Manx kippers with mustard butter. In this book published in May by Quadrille, novelist Gill (who also has written portraits of other restaurants) gives history, behind-the-scenes accounts and recipes. Import.

"Maze: The Cookbook" by Jason Atherton. Atherton is executive chef at Maze (part of Ramsay's empire) in London, and he has just launched steakhouse Maze Grill next door. Each of his Maze recipes -- braised shin of veal with pea risotto or butter-roasted cod with silky mash and spiced lentils -- is followed by two more that are based on the same ingredients and geared to the home cook. Published in April by Quadrille. Import.

"One Perfect Ingredient, Three Ways to Cook It" by Marcus Wareing. The name says it all. Celebrity chef Wareing (who riffs off of his book, "How to Cook the Perfect . . . ") gives three recipes for 50 ingredients in this Dorling Kindersley book published in March. Take bananas -- for a baked pudding, caramel Bavarois or banana fritters. Import.

"The Painter, the Cook and the Art of Cucina" by Anna Del Conte. Puglia, Le Marche, Piedmont, Sardinia . . . Italian culinary writer Del Conte covers the less-traveled regions of Italy. The book, which includes 100 oil paintings by Val Archer, guides the reader through local food customs and regional dishes. Published last October by Conran Octopus, the book will be available in a U.S. version this fall.

"Week In Week Out" by Simon Hopkinson. Last fall, Quadrille published a collection of weekly columns that ran in the Independent, written by Hopkinson, author of foodie favorite "Roast Chicken and Other Stories." Each week he focuses on a particular ingredient, dish or meal and writes recipes according to the season. For summer? Say, broad beans with cream and mint. Import. ("Second Helpings of Roast Chicken" will be published in the U.S. this fall.)

"Moro East" by Samantha Clark and Samuel Clark. This fall 2007 cookbook, published by Ebury Press, is the third from the chef couple at Moro restaurant in London, and it's filled with inspiring ingredient and flavor combinations influenced by the cuisines of Spain and North Africa: cacik, a chilled soup made with cucumber, yogurt, mint and pine nuts; chicken with spring garlic and Pedro Ximénez sherry; and grilled sardines with fennel and chiles. Import.

"Beyond Nose to Tail: A Kind of British Cooking Part II" by Fergus Henderson. A decade of offal trendiness likely started with Henderson, proprietor of St. John in London, a chef's chef known for ingeniously using every part of the pig but the oink. This August 2007 book from Bloomsbury Publishing is an expansion of his "Nose to Tail Eating." He calls for some challenging ingredients (pig's spleen), but some recipes are more accessible, as in mussels grilled on a barbecue or St. John's Eccles cake.

betty.hallock@latimes.com