Raggedy Ann Girl's Top Ten Cookbooks For Summer 

With Spring well under way and Summer about to arrive it's time to re-think what we're eating. Not because we've come over all healthy just because the sun's out, but because with a change of season comes a change of mood and instead of cozy, cuddly casseroles and roasts, we want tasty, lighter, fresher meals that will re-fuel us and celebrate the bounty of fresh produce all around us.

Here at Raggedy Ann Girl In A Barbie Doll World, we're always determined to make the most of the changing seasons, so here are our current favourite summertime cook books!

Womens' Institute Bread by Liz Herbert

There's nothing quite like fresh-baked bread for making a house feel like a home. And the good old WI's brilliant book of bread recipes is my favourite source for doing just that. It's packed with breads of all kind from basic white loaves to fabulous fancy artisan-style breads that will really impress your friends. In the last few weeks alone I've made gorgeous olive and feta slipper bread, malt loaf and even hot cross buns. If you've ever dreamed of making your own bread then this is the book to start with!

Cakes Regional and Traditional by Julie Duff

The recent revival of interest in the art of baking has spawned a massive number of cookbooks. Many of them are wonderful, but tend to focus on fancy, posh cakes and pastries, rather than the traditional recipes from days gone by. On the basis that things are not just olden, but golden,  I've always preferred baking traditional old-fashioned cakes. Cakes I remember from my childhood. Cakes that you see in village bakeries or on the stalls of summer fetes. This wonderful book has a recipe for just about every cake you can remember and suggestions as to their origins too. From seed cake to madeira, cherry genoa to battenburg. There are large and small cakes plus, as the title suggests, regional specialities too. The recipes are easy to follow and there are so many, you will never tire of them.

Cooking For Special Occasions by Marguerite Pattern.

This was the first cookbook I ever bought. I was ten years old and wanted desperately to make lovely things for my friends to eat when they came to my tea parties. Not that I had tea parties back then, but I had ambition and this little paperback book (sadly it seems no longer to be in print) fascinated me. Intended for use by children, under the watchful eye of a responsible adult, of course, it features all manner of party foods that are easy to whip up and delicious to eat. As a child, my favourites were the sweets – peppermint creams and fudge, yum – but there are ideas for sandwich fillings, food for the invalid, seasonal recipes and ideas for parties, picnics and even barbecue ideas. If you can get hold of a copy (or perhaps pull that old copy out of the box in the loft), this would make a wonderful book to entertain young children during the long summer holiday, and perhaps set them on their way to a new hobby.

Delia's Summer Collection by Delia Smith

Whatever you want to cook, it seems Delia Smith has a book to help you. Her Summer Collection is a collection of lovely light and fresh dishes that really sum up the season. As always, the instructions are simple and easy to follow. You really can't go wrong with Delia.

Mystic Seaport's Moveable Feasts Cookbook by Ginger Smyle

This wonderful American recipe book offers lots of options for dining outside the dining room. From picnics to food for hikers, breakfast in bed or even spectator sports, every occasion when you might wish to take luscious food with you is covered. Spring and summer are well covered, of course, but so are Autumn and Winter, so this book's well worth a peruse year-round.

The USA Cookbook by Shelia Lukins

The late Shelia Lukins' absolutely huge book features around 600 recipes from right across America. From diner food to celebration dinners and plenty of cakes, pies and desserts too. If you've travelled to the USA, if you've eaten there, you'll find the recipe for all your favourites here.  From breakfast, through lunches, to cocktails and dinner, from East Coast to West Coast and every place inbetween, there's a recipe to suit every mood. Well worth a look.

The Legal Seafoods Cookbook by George Berkowitz and Jane Doerfer

If you've visited Boston, Massachusetts, you'll likely have discovered at least one branch of Legal Seafoods – a near legendary and seemingly eponymous restaurant chain in the city. If you've eaten there, you'll know that the meals feature the freshest fish and seafood and are delicious too. This book is full of delightful recipes for the pescatarian and include a version of the chain's signature clam chowder.

The Nantucket Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase

Written while the author, an owner of a fine food store and restaurant, was living and working on Nantucket, this wonderful book is one of the most used on the bookshelf. Reading through, you really get a sense of island life, of the characters Ms Chase meets and of her love of fine food. If you're looking for a book that's a little bit special, that will help you create gorgeous, tasty food then this is the one for you.

J Salmon's 'Favourite' Cookbook Series

Technically several dozen recipe books, you'll see this range at tourist spots and farm shops and gift emporiums across the UK. Tiny, light and temptingly inexpensive, the entire series can be very addictive. There are no photographs, the books are neither glossy nor glamorous, but they are packed full of fascinating and traditional recipes. With books devoted to tourist areas like Dorset, Cornwall, Scotland and the Peak District, and subjects as diverse as the kitchen garden, puddings, chocolate and even Romany recipes, every one of these books are a good deal.

The Coastal New England Series by Sherri Eldridge

This charming series of books specialises in  heart-friendly recipes. The calories for each are laid out clearly at the foot of each recipe and they are all low-fat and healthy. But most importantly they are fabulously tasty and easy to pull together. There's a book each for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter each containing seasonal breakfasts, main meals, soups, stews, baked goods, desserts and even breads. Lovely!