Tina Duncan – self-taught cook, caterer and cooking-school teacher – shares entertaining recipes from a lifetime of food and, after 60 years of cooking, she sure knows how to pick a good one. It’s a curious mix of the homely dishes she grew up with on a Canterbury farm – such as vegetable barley soup, croquettes and steamed marmalade pudding – with the ‘fancy’ dishes from catering for thousands of events and events for thousands. It’s also a glimpse into decades of food history as it glides through the prawn cocktail, cheese straws and coq au vin years, through double-baked soufflés, parmesan-crusted lamb cutlets and baked cheesecake, before arriving at cured beef with black pepper labneh or Bloody Mary consommé with salmon tartare and chilli granita, stopping on the way at the fashionable new touchstones of gochujang, chipotle and black garlic. It’s a well-worn trope to talk of food being a love language; it’s less romantic to acknowledge that being a good cook is only partly about food, and more about planning, prepping in advance, being organised and problem solving, and here that catering-company experience shines through with hints in every recipe of what to get done beforehand. Tina has cooked for Antonio Carluccio, Anthony Bourdain, Maggie Beer, Stephanie Alexander and Sophie Grigson and wowed them all. Let her guide your next celebration and you’ll be in safe hands. TRACY WHITMEY