Cottage Industry

Two books, one high level of delicious

It's no secret that the DIY movement is at its height of popularity. Before you dive into the fray, consult with River Cottage, a team of experts from across the pond for whom "countrified trades" have always been in vogue.

The River Cottage farm has inspired a generation of Type-A personalities with its practical single-subject cookbooks. Topics span from gardening to seashore foraging and cookery; one edition focuses entirely on mushrooms.

The latest additions, which cover the basics of artisan bread making and preserving with charming English authority, have just made their way over to the States. In The River Cottage Bread Handbook, author Daniel Stevens lays the foundation with an in-depth introduction (and full-color step-by-step photos). Then he tempts novice bread makers to move beyond the classics and try the recipes for croissants, lardy cake and classic scones (click here to download).

Pam Corbin's The River Cottage Preserves Handbook includes recipes for a plethora of jams to spread on those scones, but that's only the beginning. New options worth trying: pickled Florence fennel and currant shrub. Or let your garden decide: We're making the refreshing mint syrup (click here to download) to deal with this summer's bumper crop of the herb.