As a huge cookery book enthusiastic/hoarder/collector I wanted to put together a list of some of my favourites that I’ve collected over the years. Some are recent, some not so recent and some super ancient. The excitement and pleasure I get every time I pick up these books can’t be beaten. I’m forever editing and adding titles to my Amazon wish list and I’m constantly trying to find new spots round the house to store them (the 4 kitchen shelves are jam packed as are the shelves in my bedroom and I now have a stack by my bed that I like to peruse at night that is as tall as me!) It now feels like I’m having to smuggle in new books due to lack of room in the house and they are beginning to slightly take over. If you have the same addiction I’d love to hear what books are currently topping your favourites list. It’s been a hard call but I think this is where my top 10 are currently sitting. I’m aware I’ve left out a load of strong contenders, Polpo, Jerusalem, The Two Greedy Italians, A Girl and Her Greensthe list goes on (I’ve also got Gizzie Erskines’s Healthy Appetite on it’s way to me as we speak). I’m sure on a different day they’d be up there also but for now here’s where I’m at.
Genius Recipes – Food 52
Think Cauliflower Steaks, Grilled Pizza, Tomato Sauce with Butter & Onion and Rosemary –Brined Buttermilk Fried Chicken…a whole collection of ‘Genius’ recipes from chefs, bloggers and serious food enthusiasts. Every image is the perfect shot, expect simple but inspired recipes. It’s a must for your collection and succeeds in paired back perfection.
Repailles & Pork & Sons- Stephane Reynaud
Stephane Reynaud’s aesthetic and sense of humour puts him up there as one of my favourite chefs. His collection of books are the amongst the most entertaining, humorous, personal and inspiring cookery books you’ll find, plus you’ll want to cook everything. Not wanting to gush too much but I love every picture and drawing alongside every profile of the people he’s worked with, learnt from and cooked alongside. These two books really will be highlights within your collection. I’ve gifted 5 of these to date and they have always been well received. From Rapailles try Boeuf Braise aux Carrots, Stuffed Cabbage, Baked Custard Creams, Crème Brulee, Chocolate Tart or just anything in the book!! From Pork & Sons (bought for me by my vegetarian boyfriend) begin by enjoying the funny tongue in cheek sketches of pigs then get stuck into Sausage Confit with Split Peas, Black Pudding Gratin with Caramelised Onions, Dried Fruit Terrine and the Fillets Mignons with Peanuts. The recipes are pretty meat heavy but traditional and styled to perfection in the most amazing rustic and enticing way. You’ll read this book and fall in love. He’s a complete foodies hero.
A Modern Way to Eat – Anna Jones
A vegetarian’s heaven, this book will ensure you never have a bad meal ever again. Every recipe is vibrant, hearty and well thought out. Particular favourites being the Dosa-Spiced Potato Cakes with quick Cucumber Pickle, the Farrow with Roasted Leeks and Smokey-Sweet Romesco and Goodwill Rainbow Pie. The desserts look next level amazing and are hearty, generous and definitely enticing enough to make you want to go out and make the lot in one go…think Salted Caramel Crack Brownies, Cherry and Rosewater Macaroon Tart and Chocolate Chip Cookies (and Ice-cream Sandwiches). The styling and photography of this book only reaffirm it’s place as my fav veggie book. Vegetarian or not, this is worth the space on your book shelf!
The Violet Bakery Cookbook – Claire Ptak
I live about a 3 minutes walk from the Violet Café and have over the years tried and tested many a cake (in fact all birthday cakes are bought from there) how could I not buy the book!!?? Have to say it definitely doesn’t disappoint. You’ll be immediately enticed by the hearty, homely and achievable recipes. Cake recipes come out just as you’d hope they would, super moist and cooked to perfection. There’s nothing that you don’t want to create from this book. Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake is a household favourite along with the salted caramel icing. The Violet Butterscotch Blondie is also worth a try, completely delicious.
Thai Street Food – David Thompson
This books been part of my collection for a good few years now, a birthday present that has kept on giving. From the soup broths to BBQ pork and steamed pumpkin dessert this book offers recipes for authentic Thai street food. If you’re lucky enough to live near an Asian supermarket take full advantage of it and make as many recipes from this book as possible. Everything’s delicious.
Eating With Chefs – Per-Anders Jorgensen
Another must for your collection, this is a collection of ‘family’ style meals that are served up for the staff of some of the world’s best restaurants. Think Osteria Francescana (no2 best restaurant in the world) St John, Roberta’s (the most amazing pizzeria out in Brooklyn) Noma (speaks for itself!) and The French Laundry the list goes on… This book is to be treasured, incredible photography that has depth and warmth while also offers a real insight into behind the scenes of the restaurants and chefs. You can sit down with this book (dribble a bit) and lose yourself for hours on end, you’ll want to eat everything.
I Love NY – Daniel Humm and Will Guidara (Of Eleven Madison Park and The NoMad)
This book champions everything NY but goes that one step further and takes a look at where the produce comes from. The book is broken up by produce and has amazing intros and details on where the produce is grown. It’s beautiful and the recipes are compelling …. Raw Cauliflower Salad, Roasted Carrots with Wheat Berries and Cumin, Poached Black Sea Bass with Wild Nettles, Clams and Squid, Glazed Beets with Bone Marrow and Horseradish, and Yellow Bloody Mary. Each dish is delicate and constructed with precision and accuracy.
The Italian Cookery Course – Kate Caldesi
If you’re a lover of Italian food then this is the book for you, it covers all techniques and offers ‘masterclass’ style step by step details to making the perfect ravioli, how to prepare a lobster, how to clean and gut various fish, how to make Cappeletti, the list goes on. This book gives you a real insight into traditional Italian cuisine and family cooking while the imagery offer a comprehensive guide on everything Italian that you may have previously considered too difficult to make. The entire chapter dedicated to Pasta is absolutely where my heart lies, I suggest a week’s fasting before even opening this book, you’ll want to make the lot. Try the Spinach Sformato, Wild Boar with Olives, Chicken Breasts with Stuffed Pesto and Mozzarella, Tuscan Fish Stew, Summer Minestrone, Stuffed Courgette Flowers and classic Bolognese.
The Art of Eating Well Hemsley & Hemsley – Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley
This book is the bible for healthy, balanced meals that are low in sugars, gluten and processed produce. It also offers some background on what we should and shouldn’t be consuming, the ways to get the best results from the meals you’re cooking and how to feel the best from what you’re eating. There’s also a great index with details on all staples you should have in your kitchen, what’s in them and what they’re best for. The 12 Golden Rules really help put you on track and make you rethink what’s in your diet. The recipes don’t disappoint either, I’m loving the Apple Cheddar Buckwheat Muffins, Feta and Black Bean Burgers, Kale Caesar Salad, Beetroot and Goats Cheese Terrine, Malaysian Lentil & Squash Curry, The Paradise Bars, Pear and Five Spice Crumble with Ginger Crème Fraiche.