Doctor Who: The Official Cookbook – Joanna Farrow (BBC Books)

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I must say I was a little surprised when I saw this book and, to be honest, feared a brand extension too far. What on Earth – or indeed Gallifrey – would a Doctor Who Official Cookbook be? Before delving in I anticipated one of two options: a culinary equivalent of those Haines manuals you can pick up for the Millennium Falcon or the Starship Enterprise, giving an insight into the inner workings of what sustains The Doctor and his companions; or a simple book designed to spark an early interest in food and cooking in the under 10s.

The answer, surprisingly, is neither.  It’s so much more imaginative than that; and if you’ve ever sought to delight and surprise the Doctor Who fans in your life (adult or child) then this book is an absolute must.  The recipes span quick and easy snacks like the cheese on toast based Cybermelts and the sonic screwdriver fruit kebabs that can get even the smallest kids involved, to some of the most creative desserts (the Adipose Pavlova) and cakes (Sally Sparrow’s weeping angel cake that mirrors the infamous ripped wallpaper from Blink) that I’ve seen in any recipe collection.  But it’s not all sweet and snacks; this highly practical and entertaining book brings us a variation on moussaka that becomes “The Doctor’s Blackboard”, a family feeding pie that looks like a Zygon and – my personal favourites – “The Pizza Cassandra” and the “Inside a Dalek” salad.

By now you should be getting a feel for the wit, creativity and passion that has gone into the creation of Doctor Who\’s Official Cookbook.  The recipes are interspersed with funny, pertinent and entertaining quotes and images from the series whilst not at all skimping on the number of recipes offered up.  And just when you’re about to lose heart a little and are thinking some of the creations are going to require more artistic ability than you can realistically muster, along comes the template section at the back which gives you a crystal clear guide to how to make it work in practice. Absolutely wonderful.  Emma Cundle

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