YOU can always rely on Nigel Slater for a decent - and simple - supper. In this latest collection, The Christmas Chronicles, the Observer Food writer's focus turns to winter, and covers everything from Christmas lunch to the art of choosing a good Christmas tree, as well as his memories of chilly morning walks along the hedgerows to school.

Who will love it? If the festive season is when you're at your most giddy, if wearing thick socks and sitting by the fire is your happy place, and if eating mince pies is your culinary highlight of the year, this book is for you.

What is it trying to get us cooking? It might have Christmas in the title, but this is an ode to the winter season in general, starting from November 1, and finishing up on February 2.

Written in diary form, Nigel ponders the seasons and how what he's cooking fits with the moment.

Yes, there's wisdom on perfect mince pies and getting your turkey just right, but there's also simple puds for frosty evenings (baked apples with mascarpone, chocolate mousse with hazelenut crumb), hearty lunches (bread pudding with ham, comte and taleggio) and feasts that don't just suit the festivities (roast lamb with rosemary and coriander seeds and pies galore).

How easy is it? Although not separated into starters, mains and desserts, the recipes themselves are typical Nigel: a handful of ingredients that make perfect sense, that only require basic skills and a little knowledge to bring together - it would be difficult to become confused.

However, not every recipe comes with a picture, annoyingly, so when it comes to plating up, a little guesswork is required.

The best recipe is... It's a toss up between the salad of Brussels sprouts, clementines and apple (so crunchy and zingy) and the roast duck with pearl barley and red cabbage (moreish and comforting).

The recipe we're most likely to post pictures of on Instagram is... the ricotta filo cake - it's like a crown of buttery, crispy, scrunched up filo sheets bejewelled with candied peel and sultanas.

It'd make you look like a pastry pro, despite being fairly simple to construct.

The recipe we're least likely to try is... Pig's cheek and prune terrine - partly because the word terrine makes us feel a bit icky, and partly because where do you get your hands on pig cheeks?

Usability? There are a lot of words. Don't expect lots of pretty pictures - these are treasures you must hunt down between pages of Nigel's musings.

It means you can get bogged down in stories, and hungry for more recipes, but if you like your food alongside wintry tales it works rather well. With its fabric cover and chunky demeanour though, it seems a shame to mucky it up in the kitchen.

Overall rating: 4/5.

The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater is published in hardback by 4th Estate, priced £26. Photography Jonathan Lovekin. Available now.

Review by Ella Walker