The average Briton has just seven cookbooks on their shelves; one fifth of us don’t own a single one.  Regular readers of this column won’t be surprised to learn that this particular foodie has rather more than that - at the last count there were more than 100 on my creaking bookshelves.

I can’t claim that I regularly cook from all of them, but the dog-eared appearance and stained pages of many of them bear witness to the fact that a good proportion do indeed find their way onto my trusty cast-iron cookbook stand.

Inevitably, though, we all have our favourites, those volumes we keep going back to.  This is as much about the way they are written as it is about the recipes themselves, the character and joy of food which leaps off the page of a really good cookbook.

One of the most-used cookbooks in my house is my go-to curry recipe book: The Hairy Bikers’ Great Curries.  Unless you are determined to delve into the deepest recesses of regional Indian cooking, I contend that this is the only curry cookbook you will ever need.

Not only do the recipes all work, and the dishes taste delicious, but the sheer enthusiasm and unalloyed enjoyment of the authors leap off the page.  They are not chefs, and you don’t need to be a chef to cook up a masterpiece – you just need to understand that cooking should be fun.

That book has been on my cookbook stand this week, that fun tempered by great sadness at the passing of one of its authors, Dave Myers, last week.  He and his fellow Hairy Biker Si King have given us so much joy over the 20 years they travelled and cooked together, and few of our TV chefs have done so much to champion the ‘real’ food of Britain.

Although they started out by travelling the world (their first three series saw them cooking in Namibia, Ireland, Transylvania, Vietnam, Turkey, Mexico, India, Argentina, Belgium and Morocco), in 2009 they turned their attention to their home country with the 30 part Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain, which visited every corner of the UK, including both Norfolk and Suffolk.

In the years since then, they have again criss-crossed the country showcasing the best of real local ingredients, always bonding immediately with everyone they met.

Just a year ago we were able to see them back in Norfolk visiting a goose farm in Pulham Market, an orchard in Burnham Overy, a tofu factory in Lenwade and a pub in Fakenham, as part of their first TV series after Dave’s initial diagnosis and treatment.

Being on TV is a strange existence; it is very easy to be seduced into thinking you are more important than you are.  I have worked with quite a few celebrities during my career, and it is surprising how many of them have an ‘act’ which they wheel out for the screen, which is nothing like their real persona. 

With the Hairy Bikers, and Dave Myers in particular, what you see was what you got.  Their genuine warmth and enthusiasm shines through.  There is no big ‘I am’; just two ordinary blokes who love what they do, and can’t quite believe that they are getting paid for it. 

Their ordinariness and their authenticity is the reason they remained at the top of their game for two decades; only Dave’s too-early death has brought the partnership to an end.

There are lots of great entertainers in the field of TV cookery, and many very talented chefs as well.  It is hard to think of any who are as genuine and nice as The Hairy Bikers, and the foodie world is infinitely poorer for Dave Myers’ passing.

It is estimated that over two million Hairy Bikers cookbooks have been sold in the UK alone.  If you are one of the many who have a copy on their shelves, can I suggest that you get it down and cook yourself something from its pages. 

Revel in the cooking, and especially in the eating.  I somehow feel that indulging in the joy of food is the very best way we can remember such a lovely man.