The test kitchen

Photographs of the test kitchen

Books for Cooks has frequently been called "the best smelling shop in the world", a special reputation that it owes entirely to the tiny test kitchen sandwiched between the bookshelves at the back of the store. Everyday recipes are tested from the cookbooks on the shelves by one of Books for Cooks' resident chefs. Everyday, at the handful of tables squeezed into an alcove between the bookshelves and the kitchen, customers can sample splendid lunches, fantastic home-baked cakes and the best cup of coffee in Notting Hill, until everything runs out. The test kitchen is more than just a café; it's a kitchen laboratory where cooks try out unusual dishes, experiment with food and develop new recipes. The menu changes daily as what's on the seasonally changing stalls of Portobello market and which of the thousands of cookbooks on our shelves is being put to the test determine the dish of the day.

Over the years, a consistent customer request was that we compile our very own cookbook of our most popular recipes from the test kitchen. Eric and Rosie set to work, carefully selecting, testing and writing up those recipes that got rave review from cooks and customers and the first in our series of cookbooks was published in 1995. The books take the form of a recipe sampler featuring the best-tasting dishes from the books tested throughout the year. They consist of about seventy-five eclectic and imaginative recipes that truly capture the flavour of the test kitchen, plus plenty of tips, chat and stories all in the spirit of the store. Three volumes are currently available:

Favourite Recipes from Books for Cooks 1, 2 & 3 Back by popular demand! Our favourites recipes (including Corn Soup with Red Pepper Purée, Honey & Chilli Chicken Salad, and Upside Down Pear & Ginger Pudding) from our first three cookbooks in a splendid one-volume compilation.

Favourite Recipes from Books 4, 5 & 6 Our latest compilation features test kitchen favourites such as Tomato, Lentil & Orange Soup, Grilled Chicken Salad with Roast Garlic & Basil Dressing, and Orange Meringue Cake.

Books for Cooks 7 A feast of favourites gathered from the best recipes tested in the Books for Cooks test kitchen over the past couple of years. Goodies include Tomato & Tamarind Soup with Toasted Spices, Aromatic Pork Belly Hotpot, and Cinnamon Swirl Sour Cream Cake.

Books for Cooks 8 Books for Cooks 8 New favourites include Beetroot & Date Dip, Parsnip & Smoked Fish Cakes with Tomato & Horseradish, Sweetcorn Fritters, Braised Chicken with Orzo, Saffron Onions & Date Chutney plus a bumper collection of sweet treats including Strawberry Meringue Cake, Coconut Layer Cake with Coconut Frosting, Double Ginger Cake and not to forget Camille's Cheesecake Crusade!

Books for Cooks 9 At last! Our much requested nineth recipe book arrived just in time for Christmas 2009 with a feast of new favourites gathered from the best recipes tested in the Books for Cooks test kitchen over the past couple of years. Be the first in your block to own Number 9!

Each book costs £5.99.

For any further questions, please call us on 020-7221-1992

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