Caroline Conran

Caroline Conran

Food writer

https://www.marshwoodvale.com/features/2013/04/caroline-conran/
Caroline Conran is a former Chairman of the Guild of Food Writers and  Trustee of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. After leaving Cambridge Art School she worked for House and Garden and subsequently worked as Home Editor on Queen Magazine for several years, editing the food columns. She went on to pioneer the Food and Wine sections of the Sunday Times Magazine, the first newspaper to offer this section, and acted as Food Editor for the Sunday Times for 13 years. She was also food editor of Nova magazine. At the Sunday Times she started, with Michael Bateman, the very successful Real Bread Campaign and introduced, amongst other things, the Sunday Times series on Self-Sufficiency. She and Bateman introduced to the UK the Nouvelle Cuisine of the three star French chefs – inspiration to Marco Pierre White and many other British chefs. She became friends with Michel Guérard, translating and editing his Cuisine Minceur and Cuisine Gourmande,  and later the work of the Troisgros Frères, Alain Chapel, Roger Vergé, Jacques Maximin and others. She is also the author of Poor Cook, written with Susan Campbell. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed Conran Cookbook, written in collaboration with Terence Conran, which sold well over 1,000,000 copies (published 1980 by Mitchell Beazley  and last republished in 1997 by Conran Octopus). She has also co-written Family Cook and Bumper Cook with Susan Campbell and published by Macmillan.  British Cookery published by Marks and Spencer .  Good Home Cooking published by Conran Octopus and published in the US as English Country Cooking At Its Best by Villard Books. Under the Sun, which was published by Pavilion in 2003 is about the Food of Southern France.  Her last book, Sud de France, The Food and Cooking of Languedoc, published by Prospect Books, won the André Simon Award for the best cookbook 2013 and the Fortnum and Mason Award for the best cook book the same year. Her hobbies are staring out of the window, reading, painting, drawing and sculpting, and of course cooking.

Features & Stories

Behind the Cookbook: 50 Years of Poor Cook

Behind the Cookbook: 50 Years of Poor Cook

In 1971, half a century ago, two young mothers wrote a book that captured the spirit of the time, and still has strong resonance to this day. Poor Cook focuses on good simple cooking from scratch. Its “do what you can with what’s available” ethos is very much in keeping with today’s imperative to reduce food waste. We spoke to the two co-authors who told us how they came to write the book….

Caroline's favorite cookbooks

A Book of Middle Eastern Food

A Book of Middle Eastern Food

By Claudia Roden

Like a genie out of a bottle, a whole culture, perfumed, aromatic, deep and complex, emerged from this book when we first opened its pages. We suddenly changed from good old roasts to kitchens piled with pine nuts, pistachios and almonds, with saffron, apricots, sumach and preserved lemons. And it all works - yes, you really can make a spit and roast a whole lamb on it and learn the origins of the Méchoui at the same time - that is definitely the spirit I want in a cookery book.

Available on ckbk now
Honey from a Weed

Honey from a Weed

By Patience Gray

This is the beautiful story of finding that less is more, of an extreme existence as near to the essential as possible. Patience Gray and her sculptor husband are doing what so many of us have fantasized about, living off the land, close to the soil (or in their case Tuscan rocks), surrounded by wild herbs, free of all the things we complain about in modern life - Water with chemicals! Traffic! Pollution! Out of season tomatoes! It is a beguiling read and it has a strong flow that pulls you in. The recipes are usually for the most meagre of treats, but we are convinced of their excellence, and of the author’s integrity.

Cuisine Gourmande

Cuisine Gourmande

By Michel Guérard

Michel Guérard has been accused, along with the Troisgros Frères, of ruining French cuisine with his initiation of the Nouvelle Cuisine. However a study of this book of his signature dishes will show that what he actually did was to clear out the attic of classic French cooking and the basement as well. He lightened and reinvigorated the stocks and sauces, he concentrated on fresh ingredients, he advocated simplicity and he had fun; his recipes are never outlandish, always balanced and refined. As a young apprentice he, like all commis chefs, suffered from harsh discipline. As soon as he had his own restaurant, he banished the hidden chef in a dark basement, and encouraged, as he describes in the book, camaraderie, respect, laughter and creativity in the kitchen.

Made in Italy

Made in Italy

By Giorgio Locatelli

At last an Italian cookbook that has the heartbeat of Italy - Georgio Locatelli, like a surgeon, travels deep into the essential core of Italian food and cooking - revealing more and more its love of spareness, simplicity and the importance of perfect ingredients. I think this is a book that can be used by both chefs and cooks, and is especially for those of us who will travel miles to get the right kind of mozarella.

The Food of Morocco

The Food of Morocco

By Paula Wolfert

Of all her books, this is the one closest to the writer’s heart. She loves the people, the aromatic ingredients, the humming markets and the slow pace, and she worships the tagine, and is totally convincing when she tells us how to use this timeless clay-pot - to the point that one cannot wait to get the dusty thing off the top of the refrigerator, clean it up and start cooking a chicken with some olives and preserved lemons (home made of course). It is a huge and detailed work, and a brilliant one based on fifty years of travelling around the towns and villages of Morocco and finding out about the local food. It is her masterwork.

Memories of Gascony

Memories of Gascony

By Pierre Koffmann

Pierre Koffman was trained as a chef, and he ran a brilliant restaurant in London, La Tante Claire, this is his hymn of praise to French country cooking. It is extremely rare for a starred chef to understand anything much about home-cooks and home-cooking. But here he blesses us with recipes from his grandparents’ farm, literally la cuisine de grand-mère - dishes that we can make in our own kitchens, authentic and grounded. It is also a memoir and a record of a vanishing way of life, the way of the peasant farmers of South West France, one that had its own rhythm, relied on fresh seasonal produce from the farm, game, wild mushrooms, snails and on making the most of everything.

Available on ckbk now
Mediterranean Seafood

Mediterranean Seafood

By Alan Davidson

For the curious, food-loving mind, this book has everything. It tells you the names of every Mediterranean fish and sea creature in seven languages; it shows you what they look like; it tells you how to recognise them and tell them apart; under the heading of ‘Remarks’, it outlines any interesting history, folk lore or facts adhering to them (did you know that Fan Mussels were spun and woven into a fabric from which gloves and stockings with a golden lustre were made?) and then it tells you how to cook them.

An Invitation to Indian Cooking

An Invitation to Indian Cooking

By Madhur Jaffrey

Glamorous actress Madhur Jaffrey brought Indian cooking to our tables. Until she came along, all most of us Westerners knew about was Anglo Indian curry made with curry powder and rather heavy Indian restaurant food. Then the revelation came; blend ginger, garlic and onions, crush some toasted spices, chop some herbs, take a spoonful of yoghurt - she taught us how to make fresh, tantalising, delicate dishes of great sophistication. She also taught us to respect Indian cooking and cooks - this food is complex and labour-intensive, but worth it.

Bistro Cooking

Bistro Cooking

By Patricia Wells

More than twenty five years ago Patricia Wells winkled out and recorded the star dishes of her favourite small family and regional restaurants all over France, from Paris, to Alsace, to Provence, to the Atlantic coast; it is just as well she did so, as today, in our corporate world of restaurant chains, fast food, economies of scale, branding and PR, and burdened with France's massive social security costs for every chef and waiter, they are struggling to survive. This friendly little book, a reminder of a vanishing world of cosy bistros, is packed with heart-warming, rustic dishes. I find it comes to hand every time I look at a fresh fish, some vegetables or a piece of meat and need inspiration, and it is also a great antidote to the treacherous thought that French food is fussy, over refined and complicated; everything here is robust, simple and honest.

Catalan Cuisine

Catalan Cuisine

By Colman Andrews

A man in love with his subject, Colman Andrews tells us in poetic and witty prose, everything that he knows, from the colour of chopped onions after frying (strange and mysterious as the brushstrokes of Titian), how to cook prawns in sea water and the proper ingredients of an authentic aioli. We learn about strange combinations of sweet and salty or sweet and sour, and how to cook tripe, testacles, ears, feet and heads. I admire his dogged determination to gather all the most enthralling facts about each dish; he then piles up the information and sets it ablaze.