I spend more time that I would care to admit looking at recipes and cooking blogs online. It’s easy to get carried away with inspiration and sometimes I feel that I neglect my cookbooks a bit. However I recently decided to make a conscious effort to use them more – after all, they’re not just sitting there to look pretty! In honour of this I thought I’d post some of my favourites. By favourites, I mean a dependable book that you can thumb through and be inspired every time, that never feel old or tired, and that obviously have been the source of a lot of great meals. I don’t have that many cookbooks and would always love to own more, but I am slowly building a small collection. In no particular order: (NB: the links, for some reason, are not appearing in a different colour, so you’ll have to scroll over – sorry!)
The Best of Chef at Home: This was the first cookbook I ever owned, given to me by my dad for Christmas one year (’07? ’09?). Chef Michael Smith is from PEI and his recipes celebrate straightforward, accessible, flavourful cooking. I have made countless things out of it this book and it never fails to please. See: mustard & orange marinated pork tenderloin, sweet potato & chickpea curry, & Thai coconut curry soup.
Simply Thai Cooking: Regular readers of this blog will know how much I love making and eating Thai food, and this is my bible. First introduced and given to me by my wonderful aunt J2 (I have two aunt J.’s!), I have come to adore this book. The instructions are extremely precise and look complicated at first glance, but they are easy to follow. This book has not let me down once and in fact quite frequently I am bowled over by it! See: spring rolls, cashew nut chicken, & chicken satay with peanut sauce.
Ottolenghi the cookbook: This was another easy choice for its amazing flavour combinations. The only negative thing I can say about this cookbook is that the ingredients are not ones most of us have on hand and so you really need to plan well for most of the recipes. BUT, it is worth it – the food is simply amazing. See: lemon, sumac, & zaatar roast chicken, sweet potato gratin, & cauliflower fritters
Chef Craig Flinn’s Fresh and Local: Chives is a staple of Halifax fine dining and I just love the first book produced from dishes served at the restaurant. Its food is more complicated and fancier than Smith’s for example, but I always find that the recipes can be simplified if you wish. I especially like how the recipes are divided by season. See: mushroom & goat cheese risotto & buttermilk biscuits
Tana Ramsay: I chose all four of the above very easily but when it came to choosing a fifth favourite, I was a conflicted. Nothing jumped out at me. I eventually decided on Tana because I think she and her recipes rock (and I’m not the only one). I’ve cooked things both out of her Kitchen Secrets (which I own) and Home Made (which I borrowed from a friend in Germany). Tana’s recipes are simple but packed with flavour and I think she is underrated. See: red rice & shrimp salad, spicy bean & lentil soup, & corn & coconut soup (two of my favourite soups ever!)
I could make lists of honourable mentions and my least favourites (Nigellissima!), but I think I’ll leave it at that. 🙂
What are your faves?