I love Nigel Slater because his passion for food is so sincere and so unpretentious. This really comes through in his writing and, on listening to a recent edition of Radio 4's Food Programme, I was shocked to learn that he a) writes while he is cooking and b) hardly ever re-writes anything. Those are both admirable skills.
I currently own four of Nigel Slater's cookbooks: Real Fast Food, Real Fast Puddings, Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch and Real Cooking. All of these books are wonderful in their own ways, but Real Fast Food is particularly great for those of us who work full-time because all the recipes can be made in about half an hour - as Nigel Slater himself points out, about the time it would take to oven-cook many ready-meals. And all the recipes are made from real ingredients and plenty of them are superbly delicious. Who needs Delia's cheat book?
I also love the fact that when he was writing this book he didn't have a very big kitchen (see the quotation in my side bar), which just goes to show that even in the tiniest of spaces you can make great culinary creations.
I have to admit I have yet to make anything from Real Fast Puddings; I think working full-time means my priority is cooking dinners, but I will definitely endeavour to make more desserts. Tender is great for growing tips as well as cooking and is filled with so many wonderful ideas for vegetables - it is a must for veg-lovers. Real Cooking is good for classic dishes - I've done a lovely roast chicken recipe from it.
I have Suz at Serenely Full to thank for my discovery of Nigel Slater, as she was the one who recommended his books to me. Which cookbooks/chefs inspire you and why?