There are so many superb books for cooks this year, that you will be spoilt for choice when making your gift selection. With the credit crunch dominating our lives now, several cookery books address the problem of making ends meet.

Fiona Beckett’s The Frugal Cook (Absolute Press, £14.99), helps you make the most of everything you buy. One of Fiona’s cardinal rules for frugal eating is to buy fruit and vegetables in season when they are at their most tasty. She also makes much of the more inexpensive cuts of meal. This indispensable book is full of tips on everything from how to shop more strategically to substituting expensive ingredients for cheaper items, which will taste just as good.

The New English Table, by Rose Prince (Fourth Estate, £25), addresses these problems too. This is a food writer who believes that there is a strong bond between good human health and the health of the environment. This is a book of ingredients, how and where to buy them, all the things that can be made of them, and how to use what is left after a meal.

Throughout the book, Rose encourages her readers to try new things, add herbs, leaves and flowers to a dish to pep it up, so that your table is full of food that is interesting, pretty, honest, and good to eat.

Success with Pastry, by Catherine Atkinson (Southwater, £8.99), will help those who have always wanted to master the art of pastry-making, but lacked the confidence. As home-made pastry is both cheaper and tastier than ready-made, commercially-prepared packs, this is another book which will help you balance your budget.

Obviously, no festive cookery book list would be complete without at least one big glossy volume by a celebrity chef. This year, Gary Rhodes’s 365 (Michael Joseph, £25.00) gets my vote, as it’s a comprehensive book which offers a recipe for every day of the year.

Like all Gary’s books, he keeps things simple. His easy-to-follow recipes are designed to slot into our time-poor lifestyles, and come up with a freshly-prepared meal every day of the year. The recipes are divided into chapters relevant to the time of the day or an occasion in the week, but as he says in the introduction, nothing is set in stone – he’s purely offering guidance. It’s up to us to juggle them around.

Fish Indian Style (Absolute Press, £20) written by one of the world’s leading Indian chefs and food writers, Atul Kochhar, is one of those gems all cooks should include in their library. It includes everything from a simple fish curry to devilled crabs baked in their shells. The photographs by David Loftus will have you salivating as you turn the pages. Middle Eastern Cookery, by Arto der Haroutunian (Grub Street Press, £18.99), is a reprint of a cookbook written in the 1980s, which went on to become a classic and regarded by many as the seminal work food from the Middle East. It was his belief that the rich culinary tradition of the Middle East is the main source for many of our Western cuisine. As it contains every possible recipe from the region, which are peppered with anecdotes on life, food, and Middle Eastern culture, this book will provide real foodies with a classic they can enjoy for years to come.

Daisy Garnett’s Cooking Lessons (Quadrille, £12.99) will appeal to serious foodies too. From roasting her first chicken in a tiny galley kitchen in the middle of the Atlantic to the large feasts cooked at her family home, she invites us into her culinary world, which makes for a delightful read.

Food Fit for Pharaons, by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson (British Museum Press, £4.99), is one of those fun books that could be given to a young person studying the Egyptians or anyone who is curious about what they ate. Although the Egyptians left no cookery books, the wall paintings in their tombs and the meals they buried with the dead have left enough clues for food-historians to follow. Early Vegetarian Recipes, by Anne O’Connell (Prospect Books, £8.99), takes the reader back to the first attempts at organising a vegetarian movement in Britain during the 1850s. While today’s vegetarian can enjoy light exciting, fully flavoured meals, those shunning meat during the reign of Queen Victoria were not quite so blessed, as this book illustrates. It explores the recipes that were developed by, and available to, the vegetarians of yesteryear.

Cooking on the Bone, by Jennifer McLagan (Grub Street Press, £14.99), and Knife Skills, by Marcuse Wareing, Shaun Hill, Charlie Trotter and Lyn Hall (Dorling Kindersley, £12.99), would make a wonderful gift if given together, as knife skills are certainly called for when you cook on the bone. An excellent double-gift for a foodie couple who love cooking together.

Pasta, by Eric Treuille and Anna Del Conte (Dorling Kindersley, £9.99), would make a great gift for young students coming to terms with cooking for themselves whilst at university. Its many colourful and informative illustrations will help them forget ready-made meals, and learn how to whip up fast, fresh pasta-based meals for themselves in no time at all.

Finally, The Complete Robuchon, by Joel Robuchon (Grub Street Press, £25), winner of the Gourmand Cookbook Awards Best Cookbook, is certainly worth taking seriously. Robuchon is the most influential French chef of the Post-nouvelle cuisine era. He is renowned for the relentless perfectionism of his cuisine, which looks back to an authentic, even bourgeois French cuisine, which focuses on making each ingredient taste of itself. This is a book for serious cooks.