Flicking through the pages of Nina St Tropez for the first time, out jumped Instagram-y matte finish pictures of the author in various delicious coastal scenes: Nina perched at a shabby-chic bar, holding an ice-cream she looks far too perfectly toned to eat, looking wistfully into the distance. Nina, tanned, tousled beachy-hair and cute freckles, rocking a pair of white hot pants, while she peruses the selection at a local market. And so on. I wrote it off as another book from some pretty face, whose main talent was mastering the art of looking more full of the joie de vivre, less full of food…

nina parker

nina st tropez pizza

Oh how wrong I was. I’m ashamed at being so judgmental (and jealous). When I took the time to look at the recipes and read about Nina Parker’s wealth of culinary experience, it quickly became clear that she knows her stuff. Professionally-trained, with stints at L’Anima, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, The Ledbury, Locanda, and Soho’s award-winning gelateria, Bocca di Lupo’s Gelupo, plus every summer since she was born spent in St Tropez, has resulted in a collection of punchy, Mediterranean recipes covering breakfast, lunch, to aperitifs, canapés, dinner and dessert, inspired by her time at them all. It gives a taste of the Provencal life, with a nod to her favourite St Tropez restaurants, bakery, ice cream parlour and pizza van, with twists on the eats she has sampled from them over the years. That, and a sprinkle of beautifully-shot seaside town scenes, it’s enough to have you booking a last minute break.

An hour after that initial peruse, I was whipping up the Rouget Barbet A L’Acqua Pazza du Pecheur – or ‘Fisherman’s Crazy Water Red Mullet’ – with a couple of whole rainbow trouts I’d picked up from the supermarket that day and was still pondering what to do with. The result: a superb, soft, citrus-y, spicy, olive sprinkled fish dinner for me and my love. I went off piste a little with the fish swap, and being in North London, I didn’t have access to the required ‘100ml of sea water’, but all good recipes allow for some ingredient swaps…

nina st tropez red mullet

nina st tropez pasta

Over the subsequent days, I kept returning to the book for more inspiration. The boy too; preparing the Anchovy Puree from the Drinks and Canapes section – which we enjoyed on a sunny evening, with crunchy breadsticks and a glass of chilled white. Elvis Pizza was a crispy, cosy Friday night feast, and I have lots of corners turned down for future others: Crab Pasta on the Rocks; Fennel, Carrot and Nutmeg Gratin, Avocado Soup with Pistachio; Scallop Skewers with Chorizo and Thyme, and the Ruby Red Roasted Duck La Verdoyante Style – the thought of the figs, chestnuts, thyme and bacon cooked with it making me salivate. And my eye is most definitely on the manuka honey cocktail…

My shelves are groaning under the weight of cookery books, but Nina St Tropez is in no danger of being forgotten among them. It is already more thumbed than ones I’ve had for years and it’s only been in my possession for a fortnight; which is testament to the beautiful pictures, insider travel nuggets, and the delicious, inspiring, and most importantly, easily achievable recipes. Nina is far more than a pretty face and her collection of recipes is far more than your average cookery book.

nina st tropez recipes

nina st tropez avocado soup

Nina St Tropez: Recipes from the South of France by Nina Parker is available to buy online here.