Blood, Sweat and Tears: cookbooks

Nick Buglione says there is more on the shelves than Jamie and the hairy blokes on bikes.

Sooner or later a good cookbook should be battered and bruised with the scars of kitchen battle. Wine stains, grease, blood, sweat and tears.

As Christmas approaches and every chef, kitchen and pop-up and TV cook disgorge cookbooks chasing your festive funds, here are a few I love (and use). You could pause on yet another book from Jamie (his 15-Minute Meals is my personal nemesis) and get the foodie in your life’s stocking something a little less predictable.

Japaneasy, Tim Anderson
Nanban and Brixton’s very own Japanese cookbook. As good a practical journey into Japanese cuisine as you are likely to get (with a few Western twists thrown in). With loads of ramen recipes. Hardie Grant, £20.

Stephane Reynaud’s Barbecue
Don’t save it for the summer. Endless interesting BBQ dishes and techniques to take you a full stratosphere beyond chicken drummers and sausages. Skewered for interesting ideas at the coalface? Murdoch books, £20.

Nose to Tail Eating, Fergus Henderson
Classic cookbook from the legendary St John. From devilled kidneys to tripe to duck hearts on toast, this is innovative robust British cooking at its most dynamic. Bloomsbury, £15

Eat, Nigel Slater
Arch middle-class Guardian foodie he may be, but this is just an endless source of quickish supper ideas that recognises a busy life. Healthy, interesting, practical food for every night of the week. Fourth Estate, £25

Les Halles Cookbook, Anthony Bourdain
Alpha male, brazenly classic French bistro cooking from the author of Kitchen Confidential and the head of the legendary New York bistro. We’ll leave it to AA Gill’s “Elizabeth David written by Quentin Tarantino”. Bloomsbury Publishing, £25

Food DIY: How to Make Your Own Everything, Tim Hayward
Recommended by our own Jay Rayner (for the salt beef recipe, above), a compendium of curing, preserving, pickling, potting and smoking – DIY butter to bread, sloe gin to smoked salmon to salami. Fig Tree, £25.

Billingsgate Market Cookbook, CJ Jackson
Everything you need to know about choosing, filleting, preparing and cooking fish from the Billingsgate Seafood School. Endlessly useful. New Holland, £20.

Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes
One of my favourite ever meals was at Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers. Think normal meals taken to new levels without excessive foodie technique and star-spangled gadgetry. Absolute £25.