Never did I think I would see the word ‘clarty’ – a word from deep in my childhood – in a cookbook, let alone about cheesecake. Look it up. It’s a measure of Nigel Slater’s exquisite skill with words that the way he writes gives me as much joy as what he writes about. In his world, broccoli resembles a goblin’s wedding bouquet; a dish of orzo is as comforting as a cashmere throw; and if heaven has a smell it is probably that of warm ironing and apple crumble. Don’t think for a moment though that the food comes second; Slater’s dishes are always delicious, sometimes surprising, often deeply greedy. This is food to be cooked at home, to bring comfort and deep contentment, but also reflects the glee of someone who loves to eat. It’s a book that not only imparts trustworthy recipes, but also tells of the quiet moments of sheer pleasure to be had along the way of cooking, eating and sharing. Neither faddy nor old-fashioned, it’s full of food I want to eat. Piping-hot salty potato chips are plunged into a mound of cool, snowy curds, a lemon trifle lollops with slovenly folds of whipped syllabub, blackcurrants are rippled through the soft, almond-rich crumb of a pretty tea-time cake. As it is a collection of Slater’s best-loved recipes, sharp-eyed fans will notice some old favourites reappearing, but after dishing the goods for more than 25 years that can be forgiven, especially as tweaks and new versions reinvigorate. TRACY WHITMEY