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Now in an all-singing all-dancing new edition of what was first published in 1988 as The Barricaded Larder , now retitled by publisher Anne Dolamore at Grub Street and redesigned with my own pen-and-watercolour illustrations throughout, PPP was a companion volume to European Peasant Cookery (also in print with Grub Street).   As a how-to on everything you've ever needed to know about how and what your (or somebody else's) granny stocked up in summer to carry the family through the shortages of winter, the recipes were gathered throughout Europe at a time when many farming households were still largely self-sufficient.  Traditions of good housekeeping are all too swiftly lost when it's easy to stock up in the supermarket.   With the return to home-cooking from necessity rather than design, many of us are rediscovering the joys of putting up our own pickles, cooking up a batch of jam,  filling up the cookie jar and baking our own cut-and-come-again cakes.  Home-remedies are also included, as are fruit syrups   old-fashioned treats treats such as fruit pastilles,  butterscotch and coconut ice.  

Flavours of Andalucia

Winner of the 1992 Glenfiddich Award for Food Book of the Year, this is a cookery book with a strong travel bias, dealing with each of Andalucia's eight provinces in turn to provide a personal, geographical and culinary survey of the area. It shows how the land itself and historical events have influenced the culinary tradition of the region, with its intriguing combination of hearty peasant fare and the delicate seasonings that are a legacy of the Moorish invasions. Each province draws on its own magnificent natural larder, and the recipes, such as hot gazpacho from Huelva, salt cod with potatoes and peppers from Jaén, pork and beans with chard from Seville and chickpea and wheat soup from Almería, reflect this diversity.

            The author, born into a diplomatic family on the Latin American circuit, had been fluent in Spanish since childhood.  Her decision to take her young family of four children to live and attend local school among a self-sufficient farming community in  a remote valley in a cork-oak forest in the province of Cadiz allowed the family to share the lives of their neighbours, keeping an iberico stye-pig to stock the winter storecupboard, learning at first-hand how to gather food from the wild and appreciate the changes in the seasons.  Her personal reminiscences are interwoven with a wealth of cultural and historical information, and the text is accompanied by the author's own watercolours of dishes, places and scenes of Andalucian life.


If the flavours of Andalucia interest you, you may enjoy watching this episode of The Rich Tradition 


Seasonal European Dishes

From the ice-bound shores of the Arctic Circle to the olive-groves of the Mediterranean, from the wind-swept plains of Hungary to the chestnut forests of Provence, Elisabeth Luard has collected accounts of the traditional feasts and festivals of Europe, many of which she has experienced at first-hand, gathering recipes for the dishes appropriate to the celebrations of midsummer, spring-planting, harvest-home, Easter, Christmas and all the other moments of celebration that punctuated the farming year.


As well as wonderfully readable and highly informative, this is a cookbook you’ll return to again and again to read for pleasure.  First published as European Festival Food in 1986 as a companion-volume to European Peasant Cookery, Seasonal Europea Food is written with the scrupulous attention to detail and authenticity that is the hallmark of Elisabeth Luard's writing. 


Chapters follow the seasons, starting with the festivals of mid-winter designed, in the lands where the earth lies fallow through the cold months, to encourage the return of the sun and bring back the earth to fertility. While affluence now loads our supermarket-shelves with out-of-season produce and we are no longer obliged to obey the cycle of the farming year, there   While the recipes are easy to follow and need no exotic ingredients - unless that seasonality dictates when each is at its best - the introductions to the recipes include a wealth of personal anecdote, local history and the folklore that underpins the desire, say, to gather medicinal herbs on a particular hillside on midsummer day, or celebrate the autumn solstice with a bonfire and a bannock.


And if responsibility for our beautiful planet returns us to an acknowledgement that returning to a way of eating our ancestors would recognise as right and proper for the season, this book will tell you how. 



Tapas are the tempting little dishes that are traditionally served as a cover (tapa actually means ‘lid’) for a chilled glass of bone-dry sherry, the white wine of Jerez , in the bars and eating-places of southern Spain. Simple, delicious and easy to prepare, a selection of tapas placed on the table in their natural order - cold, warm and hot - is the perfect answer to informal entertaining.   


The suggestions - some as simple as salted almonds dusted with pimenton, or a scrap of anchovy on a slice of ripe tomato, or a hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise - demonstrate how simple ingredients can be quickly transformed into miniature feasts designed to delight the senses. Among the recipes are simple classics such as bread with olive oil and a rub of garlic, salt cod with peppers, chicory and blue cheese, mushrooms with rosemary, broad beans with serrano ham, potato tortilla, fresh-pickled anchovies, slow-cooked lamb-ribs with cumin, beef in red wine, cheese croquetas, meat-stuffed empanadas (little pasties).


In  addition, you’ll find plenty of helpful serving advice including a selection of menus that show how to combine tapas in a meal that suits the season - spring vegetables, fresh fish in summer, dishes with game in autumn, a hearty dish to share in winter.  Special occasions are not just for grownups: tapas are perfect finger-food for a child’s birthday party, or you might want to go vegetarian, or set up a no-cook menu - perfect for students in a bed-sit.


A wealth of background information and a superb collection of recipes vividly evokes the spirit of a region where the good things that nature provides are a reason for happiness - alegria - an excuse, if such is needed, for a gathering of family and friends,  old  and new. The  essence of tapas is celebration - two’s certainly company, but there’s no limit to a crowd.

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European Peasant Cookery

The Rich Tradition of European Peasant Cookery (US title, The Old World Kitchen) collects together more than 500 regional recipes as prepared by an independent self-sufficient rural population whose culinary habit is dictated by latitude, geography climate and access to trade-routes. 


First published with the author’s own illustrations by Bantam UK in 1984 and in the US the following year and now considered a classic, new editions were brought out in the UK by Grub Street in 2007 and in the US in 2012 by Melville House. While much has changed in both city and countryside since first publication, this compendium of authentic regional recipes is a vivid reminder of the importance of seasonal and local as demonstration of respect for the harvest of land and sea on which the world depends for its daily dinner.


Meticulously researched through the  travellers’ tales and historical records - extracts from which  illuminate the text - the recipes were gathered over many years of living, cooking and travelling in the remoter regions of Europe allied to personal experience of bringing up a family of four children among a self-sufficient farming community in a remote valley in Andalucia and the uplands of the Languedoc. 


If the peasantry can be defined as those for whom farming is a way of life and not a business for profit, this does not mean that poverty dictates what goes in the pot.  The very reverse. Travellers’ tales from past centuries frequently refer to the generosity of hospitality offered in the house of a rich peasant . In times of hardship when cities starved, the countryside survived. In time of war, the rural population suffered empty storecupboards that couldn’t be refilled till the seasons came full circle. 


Lives were so intricately bound up with the land and the seasons that recipes were treasured and culinary habits slow to change.

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A Cook's Year in a Welsh Farmhouse

This is the story of a year in my Welsh farmhouse in the foothills of the Cambrians cooking with three of my grandchildren.  There was always something new from the garden or that could be gathered from the hedgerows and woods - nettles, wild garlic, elderflowers, blackberries, blueberries, chanterelles and plenty more.  


A Cook's Year in a Welsh Farmhouse is a month-by-month
recipe-diary of life and cooking through the changing year at Brynmerheryn, the wild and beautiful place where I lived in the foothills of the Cambrians on the western edge of Wales.

The house, stone-built and slate-floored, is not grand but old, with signs of human habitation all around. Surrounded by woodland and water with sheep pastured all around, the place is at its liveliest when the grandchildren come to stay.

Illustrations are my own watercolours and award-winning photographer Clare Richardson's atmospheric photographs. Clare lives in the Forest of Brechfa about an hour away from Brynmerheryn and is internationally known for her work on people and places (


While A Cook's Year was always meant to be a book, the story and the month-by-month recipes were first published as a series in Country Living magazine.    The book is seasonal and there are good things in every month, including wild mushrooms such as the most prized of our woodland fungi, penny-buns (porcini) and the handsome charcoal-burner, a member of the russula family,  purple-topped with white underparts.



"Truffles" is the story - complete with recipes and John Heseltine's evocative photographs - of how  an unassuming lump of vegetable-matter became the most-prized foodstuff on the planet. Published by Francis Lincoln 2006 and available in a hardback edition only.


Among the most sought-after foodstuffs on the planet, the two high-value truffles, the Piedmont white and the Perigord black, are also the most expensive.  Thousands of dollars (pounds, yen, whatever) are paid at auction for a single perfect specimen of Tuber magnato, the rich man's truffle, a cream-coloured smooth-skinned with silky flesh and a picky growing-habit which has so far defied commercial exploitation.


On the other hand Tuber melanosporum,  most prized of the black varieties, has  been successfully cultivated in plantations of its host-tree for more than five hundred years.  A perishable foodstuff traditionally gathered by the poor for sale to the rich,  the secret lies in the fragrance.  


Saffron & Sunshine

All about tapas, mezze and antipasti - how to cook and present the great little dishes of the Mediterranean littoral. The Mediterranean way of eating is a philosophy far more than a collection of recipes, a way of life rather than a culinary habit - leisurely, gregarious, dip-in-the-dish and eat-what you-please.

Recipes are simple, regionally accurate, few if any unfamiliar ingredients, raw materials explained, alternatives offered. Each recipe is bite-sized and includes serving instructions offered:  emphasis laid on choosing complementary dishes, each with its own distinctive flavours based on a single central ingredient, presented in the easiest way for sharing - bite-sized portions, saucings an integral part of the dish or kept strictly separate. 

The freedom to choose allows those with particular preferences - vegetarians, slimmers, allergy-dieters, plain old don’t-like-it-what-is-it - to decide what they want to eat without having to explain themselves to the cook or their companions. It’s the happiness-diet - the way they REALLY like to eat on those sunny shores where we all love to spend our holidays.


The Food of Spain and Portugal

Authentic recipes, history and stories from every region on the Iberian peninsula. The Food of Spain and Portugal celebrates the regional dishes of one of the world's great cuisines. Photographs by Jean Cazals.


From the introduction:  "Close your eyes and imagine yourself under the shade of an olive tree with the shores of the Mediterranean just over the curve of the hill. Imagine too, that someone - a native of this land - is preparing your meal. What shall it be?  The choice is wide. Creamy white beans from the slopes of Asturian hillsides, slow-simmered with garlic and olive oil, flavoured, perhaps with a ham-bone - nothing much, you might think - until the cook explains with shining eyes that this particular ham-bone is from a particular breed of pig and is cured in a particular way which makes it like no other ham in all the world. Or perhaps you might choose a dish of rice from the marshes of Valencia, a paella colouredand perfumed with saffron grown in the red earth of La Mancha, Spain's high central plateau. Or a dish of chickpeas cooked to a nutty sweetness with the deep crimson peppers cured in the smokehouses of Old Castile.  Or you might prefer pork and shellfish seasoned with fiery chillis cooked in a cataplana - Portugal's shell-shaped cooking-implement which gives its name to the recipe.  Or, if the sun is high and the breeze is cool and you have a mind to stay in the shade, you might choose a thick-crusted speckle-crumbed loaf to eat with the a slice of well-aged manchego cheese, or a slab of cornmeal bread, broa, to eat with the soft-centered cheeses of Tras-os-montes."  


The Latin American Kitchen

A book of essential ingredients with over 200 authentic regional recipes. 


The cooking of Latin America is both comfortingly familiar and excitingly exotic. Take a basketful of indigenous ingredients - many of which, till Europeans arrived, were found nowhere else on earth - add local know-how, throw in a bunch of Hispanic and African cooks with just a hint of French - the result is a mix-and-match cuisine which is varied, complex and capable of a high degree of sophistication.  


The Latin American culinary tradition which emerged is a result of the Columbian Exchange: a mix of culinary habit and ingredients available in the Americas and those  introduced by Old World colonisers - mostly from from Spain and Portugal augmented with slave-labour from Africa. This led to an eclectic mix-and-match cuisine in which recipes and ingredients were (and are) traded back and forth until it would be tedious, or indeed impossible, to disentangle the threads. Who’s to say if the seviches of Mexico are more closely related to the escabeches of Spain than they are to the marinated raw fish enjoyed by the Maya?  It would be a brave ethnologist indeed who could trace the descent of the dried-shrimp dishes of Bahia to the salt-cod traditions of Portugal without acknowledging the presence of dende oil - an ingredient of purely African origin - or the cooking technique directly derived from the undeniably native earth-oven, whose use, as it happens, is common throughout the islands of the Pacific and the mainlands of South-East Asia. 


While family cooks - women in their own kitchens - are notoriously conservative, the early colonisers were rarely accompanied by their wives. Contemporary accounts of the conquistadores - often provided by the ​evanglising monks who followed close behind - describe the surprising palatability of the dishes enjoyed by their involuntary hosts. When the newcomers found the food  of those they had conquored was good, they adopted it for their own and added European flavours and raw materials to the mix. Over the centuries the traditions merged and many of the iconic dishes of the Latin American tradition are the result.


Sacred Food

Sacred Food: Cooking for Spiritual Nourishment is gorgeously illustrated and includes over 40 authentic recipes. Winner of Gourmand Cookbook Award in 2001.


Sacred Food is an encyclopedia of knowledge about the extra special status that certain foods have been granted by people and cultures around the world. Food is more than just calories for energy and vitamins for health. Sacred Food explores recipes from around the world that have been prepared as spiritual sustenance for various rites of passage. It looks at temple food, food for celebration and religious ceremonies. From the blessings on secular food to Japanese tea ceremonies and the secret recipes of the Convent nuns, this unique book combines Arab, Jewish and Christian philosophies.
The author’s interest is not only in the food but in examining the mysterious alchemy of cooking, where base ingredients are transformed into miraculous pleasures.


The text includes more than forty traditional recipes such as Kerala Coconut Curry to share at an Indian-inspired wedding feast; Mushroom piroshki from Slovakia to welcome a newborn baby; Cassava with chilli and peanuts from Africa to mark a girl's coming-of-age; Panettone for Christmas, an Italian tradition; Chinese dumplings to ring in the New Year; Chicken soup with kreplach for the last day of the feast of Sukkot; English soul cakes, a buttery gingerbread for Halloween; Mexican molé for the Day of the Dead.


Classic Spanish Cooking

Over 100 traditional Spanish recipes have been collected in this outstanding little volume by renowned food writer Elisabeth Luard. Using only the freshest ingredients, Elisabeth gives us an extensive variety of authentic dishes from all regions of Spain, including gazpacho, meatballs in tomato sauce, chickpea and chorizo tortilla, seafood paella and a selection of hearty fish and meat stews. During the years that Elisabeth lived in the Andalusian region of Spain she always kept a sketchbook of scenes of the Spanish countryside and of her favourite dishes - these have been faithfully reproduced in Classic Spanish Cooking.


"Behind the Spain of the big cities and over-crowded ​costas lies of an older Spain with roads thate follow the curve of valleys and lead to mountain villages shaded by olive trees first planted by the Romans, of minarets as well as monasteries, of a sea-horizon sparkling with the lights of fishing boats night-trawling out of ports which once traded with the Phoenicians.  On the terraced hillsides can be read centuries of careful husbandry, with orchards and olive groves still tended by their smallholders, a herd of goats making their way home for milking still slow the traffic along the narrow tracks which link one Andaluz pueblo with another; you’ll still catch a glimpse, when speeding along the highway which links Salamanca to Seville, of the old Iberian breed of black-foot pigs, humpbacked beasts so perfectly matched to the silvery trunks of the cork-oaks you might think them not there at all. And it’s this, the intimate relationship between place and people which dictates the culinary traditions of a land where nature’s blessings, though generous, are not a gift but earned."   


Classic French Cooking

A sturdy, small-format hardback, Classic French delivers the classic recipes of France’s home kitchen. With watercolour illustrations by the author (mostly), this is a companion volume to Classic Spanish Cooking first published in 2004.  The recipes are generic guarantees the reader an easy entree into the world of regional French cooking and many hours of enjoyable creativity in the kitchen.


The French know what they like and they know what they do well: in art, in philosophy, but above all in the kitchen. The every-day recipes of town and country - paté de campagne, moules mariniere, steak au poivre, petits pois a la française, ratatouille, daube de boeuf, civet de lievre, lapin au moutarde, gigot a l'ail, poulet a la creme, coq au vin, tarte au citron, mousse au chocolat - need no translation.  They’re the ones that appear on every menu from the Pas de Calais to the harbourside of Marseilles - and the reason they haven’t changed over the years is because they’re the best kind of  home-cooking - simple, honest, regional, seasonal and absolutely delicious.


Food Adventures: Introducing Your Child to Flavours from Around the World

Food Adventures - a transatlantic collaboration between US-based mother and UK granny - is a delicious collection of easy, nutricious dishes and their stories designed to make family mealtimes fun for children and parents alike. 


"Babies, before they learn otherwise, don't make distinctions between one culinary habit and another. Foreign food - what's that? If the stuff tastes good - all you have to do is eat it. And there's the challenge. Making things taste good is what cooking is all about. 

Home-cooking - no sense in denying it - takes more time than unscrewing a lid from a jar or flipping open a tin or reconstituting powder from a packet. Maybe an extra 5 minutes to peel, cook and mash an apple rather than spooning the stuff straight out of the jar. But the reward, when the apple is a honey-scented Russet or a flower-fragranced Pippin, is an experience far beyond the mush in a pot, product of a thousand unidentifiable apple-orchards, whatever it says on the label. When children and are allowed to taste and test for themselves what the grownups eat, from the first spoonful - Danish pea-puree, Chinese rice-gruel, Italian bread-pap, Scottish oat-porridge - the battle is already half-won. New flavours for the palate, new textures for the tongue means new memories to be stored in the brain. If mealtimes are to be savoured and shared - and there are times when every family needs all the memories it can muster  - the sooner you start the better."


Recipes & Ramblings

Award-winning food writer Elisabeth Luard has been The Oldie's food columnist since March 2000. Recipes & Ramblings is a collection of nearly 140 of her recipes - for cooks of all ages - accompanied by her own ​watercolour illustrations. Clearly written and easy to follow, the collection includes dishes from the simple to the exotic - from soups and starters, meat, fish and vegetables to desserts, breads, pickles and preserves.


The Barricaded Larder

Published by Bantam UK in 1988, The Barricaded Larder is a companion volume to European Peasant Cookery (The Old World Kitchen in the US).


The book's title comes from a chance remark made to me by a Hungarian friend when I was on a research trip in 1982 in Eastern Europe for both books (and for European Festival Food): "My mother barricaded her larder in times of trouble. She never locked her street doors, front or back. There was no need for such precautions in a small isolated community where everyone knew everyone else....The only door which has a padlock was the door to the larder. In normal times, that wasn't locked either. It was only in time of war when the soldiers came - any soldiers, Magyars, Czechs, Turks, Russians, Germans, even our own - then the door was barred with a great iron bolt and the padlock was fixed. Then that larder was barricaded and defended to the death. That is exactly what it meant to my family, that barricaded larder held the difference between life and death.


Country Living: A Taste of the Country

This volume is a collection of the author's most popular recipes. Included are not only imaginative and original recipes for every occasion, but also the author's own writing on food. From the abundance of the soft fruit garden in summer to the traditional role of game in rural cookery, this book places food in its own context and evokes the enduring rhythms of country life. Philippa Davenport is the author of "Cooking for Family and Friends" and "Davenport's Dishes".


The author draws on her wide knowledge of rural cookery and traditions - both in Britain and further afield - to produce this collection of seasonal recipes. She examines how techniques became adapted to different places and seasons.


Latin: A Culinary Journey of Discovery

Each title features evocative recipes, authentic to the region, along with descriptions of relevant regional culinary histories and traditions. These titles offer richly atmospheric photography with country-specific styling to bring recognizably distinct character to each book.


Sainsbury's The Cooking of Spain

A small-format fully-illustrated paperback published for Sainsbury's in their regional series in 1991. These little books are now collectors’ items sine the authors commissioned to write them were pre-eminent in their field .   The Cooking of Spain includes 44 of the mother-recipes of the Spanish kitchen, including regional bean-dishes, paellas and rice--with-lentils, slow-simmered stews and a wide variety of the little dishes familiar from the tapa-table - tortillas, croquetas,  chicken fried in olive oil with garlic.


The introduction places the cooking of Spain firmly in context:“If the strength of traditional Spanish cookery lies in the best possible raw materials prepared with simplicity and honesty, this is because the quality of what’s available in the marketplace allows the food to taste recognisably of itself. Meats are preferred sauced with their own juices, shellfish are expected to taste of the sea, vegetables and fruit mare eaten in the proper season and a strong appreciation of quality, a willingness to pay for excellence. Even the poorest will choose a little of the best if the occasion demands: a sliver of pata negra cut from the bone on the Whitsun pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Dew in the marshes of the Guadalquivir, a few threads of real saffron to perfume the Sunday paella.”


Homemade Soups

In this book, Elisabeth Luard provides 130 classic soups from all over the world along with their traditional accompaniments and advice on basic stocks and kitchen equipment.  Undemanding, easy-going and comforting, soups are the best-loved and most variable  of all our culinary pleasures. Whether dressed up for a dinner-party or a one-pot meal for friends and family round the kitchen table, there’s a soup for every occasion.


Great soups, the classic soups whose fame spread as result of the appearance of regional cookbooks, remain firmly rooted in their place of origin: peanut soup is what you’d expect to taste in Ghana, a laksa-lemak is what you’d hope to find in Malayasia, chicken soup with dumplings is standard fare in Jewish households. Which is not to say the traditional recipes cannot be adapted: restaurant chefs re-create traditional recipes in forms which appeal to a gourmet clientele, taking their lead from earlier masters of haute cuisine whose work marked the moment which soups ceased to be strictly utilitarian and became the scene-setter - frothier, prettier, creamier - for innovative menus.


While traditional soups are a response to geography, latitude and trade-routes - the defining influences on the peasant kitchen in which the one-meal was the norm - sophisticated veloutes, consommes and single-vegetable soups are aristocrats of the soup-maker’s kitchen, a demonstration of the cook’s skill, a way to waken the appetite and sharpen the taste-buds for pleasures to come. 


Creativity is always welcome: many of the celebrated soups of haute cuisine are the result of experimentation.  Who would have thought that ginger would taste so good with carrot?  Or that a cauliflower soup might be transformed by the simple addition of cumin?  Both these happy combinations, and many others, are of very recent invention, and none the worse of that. The secret of a good soup is not to complicate things. The basic rule is less is more - apart from that, have fun! 


Vegetable Soups

A handy little compendium of one pot vegetable soups extracted from the previously-listed‘Soups- one of a series of small cookbooks with an emphasis on light and healthy cookery. One of the virtues of a vegetable soup is that the composition is as variable as the season dictates - no sense in following the ingredient-list to the letter as proportions are best left flexible - just choose what looks good in the market today and adapt the recipe to suit the shopping bag.


As for the classic recipes - well - no single source can claim the definitive recipe for, say, a Welsh potato-and-leek with cream,  or a German pumpkin with a swirl of butter and a dash of vinegar, or a Danish pea-soup with dumplings - traditional combinations which will certainly be claimed by someone.   The same is true of timing: treat all suggestions as a guideline rather than a straight-jacket: spices and herbs are of varying strength, pasta, lentils and beans are uncertain in the amount of time they need to cook. 


Soup-making is personal - there’s the beauty of It - every potful is an adventure. The only advice worth taking to take care just before you serve to taste and adjust the seasoning.  There’s nothing like a bowl of hot minestrone on a cold evening - unless it’s a cooling glass of chilled gazpacho in the midday heat.


Vegetable Soups

The Princess and the Pheasant (not to be confused with European Peasant Cookery) is a collection of recipes first published in The Field Magazine between (roughly) 1978 and 1986.


Elisabeth Luard's regular column in "The Field" is one of the magazine's most popular features. Now, for the first time, the acclaimed author of "European Peasant Cookery: The Rich Tradition" has gathered together a selection of those pieces, illustrated with her own exquisite line drawings, to present an eclectic and quite individual blend of food, history and travel writing. In recipes ranging from Moroccan salted lemons and pickled peaches to sauté of partridges with watercress sauce and an unforgettable ecumenical Simnel cake, Elisabeth Luard brings alive her intimate knowledge of the European culinary heritage. "The Princess and the Pheasant" is a wholly delightful celebration of the very best of food and wine writing destined to take its place alongside such classics of the genre as Elizabeth David's "An Omelette and a Glass of Wine". A lifelong student of the history of cooking, Elisabeth Luard has lived abroad for long periods, notably in France, Spain and Italy. 


Country House Cookery Book

Describes menus and meals served at English country houses, and shares traditional recipes for soups, vegetables, meat, fish, game, poultry, salads, and desserts

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