So, after last week’s Part 1 post I couldn’t help myself and went on Booko over the weekend to finally order Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries and Tender Vol 1, plus Rose Bakery’s Breakfast, Lunch, Tea. Naughty I know, but after so many recommendations how could I not? Besides I am excusing flagrant cookbook buying behaviour as an upcoming birthday present(s) for myself. Anything to justify more cookbooks for a bookshelf already groaning under the weight of more than my fair share. I tell you though, I felt a whole lot better about the situation when I saw Rodney Dunn’s cookbook collection (above). No matter that he is a former Editor for Australian Gourmet Traveller and owner of the beautiful The Agrarian Kitchen just out of Hobart, Tasmania. My collection is measly in comparison. Let temptation lead us astray once more with recommendations for favourite cookbooks by some of the internet’s loveliest foodie and design bloggers, with this, Part 2.
Rodney Dunn of The Agrarian Kitchen
Mouneh by Barbara Abdeni Massaad. Those who know me also know I’m a sucker for a good food book. So whilst perusing the stalls at Salone del Gusto in October I came across Mouneh on a stall from Lebanon, after instantly falling in love with the book I tried to purchase it only to be told it was to be released in November and this was an advance copy. After writing down the name I searched for it on the internet and came across the website This book has stayed beside my bed now for weeks and I wax lyrically about it to anyone who’ll listen. It is a truly original work from which the author conveys cooking from her culinary roots that is near and dear to her heart. Another reason to buy the book is that each copy sold will contribute to an Arabic version being produced which means the people of Lebanon will have a record of their own food culture, which as with most traditional foods is being diluted or lost. So buy two copies as they make great gifts.
Sarah Trotter of Trotski & Ash
It’s so difficult to choose one cookbook that I love. It is like choosing a favourite album. Impossible. So in order to tackle this, after standing in front of the cookbook shelf, eyes cast upward until my neck got sore, I have decided to choose the cookbook that I have used the most in the last couple of months. While Nigella Lawson’s How To Be a Domestic Goddess , Moro Cookbookby Samantha & Samuel Clark, The Fruit Book by Jane Grigson and The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden all compete endlessly, I think my favourite book of the moment is The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater. This book is organised by season and is based on what Slater has in his backyard, or his cravings of the day. Taking the highlights of every season, from a sweet peach picked from the tree for a Peach Cobbler, or a simple warming stew for winter with Sausages & Puy Lentils, having it organised in this way lets you browse through it almost always finding something you feel like cooking, or running out to the garden to plant those beautiful white beans. It is printed on nice, thick stock with grainy images of food, simply arranged and close up. Its not about the postering or fashion. It is just delicious.
Romy Ash of Trotski & Ash
My Mexico by Diana Kennedy My newest purchase and current favourite! I love how Kennedy writes. The reader journeys through Mexico recipe by recipe, and I feel like I’m right there beside Kennedy in her dusty truck as she drives winding highways through the forest. The recipes are simple and authentic – no TexMex here.
Catherine Miller of Little Glowing Lights
The Naked Chefby Jamie Oliver. This is the first ever cook book I purchased for myself and that along with the same TV series was what really got me into cooking, or at least trying to make things other than cakes. I love the recipe for roast chicken. In fact the book naturally opens to that page now! It is a bit different because it uses a lemon inside the cavity while baking which I think really helps keep the chicken moist, all the herbs just under the skin give a lovely crust too. The book also has great basic recipes for pasta and bread and risotto and a lemon & lime tart that is so good.
The Central Cookery Book by A.C. Irvine This book is a newer version of the one that was used by Tasmanian school students in the 1960′s-1970’s. My mum had her old copy at home, it’s falling apart but much loved. When I moved into my own house she gave me a copy of the new edition. The book has so many simple recipes: scrambled eggs, pancakes, scones, crumble for fruit, tea cake (notice I use mostly the sweet recipes). It is definitely my go to book and I would be lost without it, all the basics are there and very simple and easy. As far as I am aware the book is only available here as it is Tasmania based.
Jacqui Lewis of Folke
I have so many cookbooks its a little obscene. Sifting through bookstores buying cookbooks has to be one of my favourite pastimes, and much time is spent in Ariel and Chef’s Warehouse doing just this. Choosing my favourites is a tough one as there are so many I love. I tend not to even cook the recipes straight from them, but just sit around reading them at night and over breakfast and then coming up with ideas based on what I have read. The shortlist is Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries I love this book more than anything. His writing is inspiring and the photography is just my style. Additionally, he’s big on seasonal produce, so you walk through the months of the year as he describes what to do with a glut of figs or tomatoes, and when lamb is at its best. Tender Vol 1 is his latest (and I believe Tender Vol 2 was just released?) and I love it too, but the copy is a touch too poetic at times for me.
Karen Martini’s Cooking At Home. I really enjoy all her recipes, and this book I like as much as her others truth be told.
Breakfast Lunch Tea by Rose Bakery This is a killer cookbook. The photography, paper stock and typeface are awesome. Oh, and then there’s the recipes. Contrary to what I said earlier, as soon as recipe calls for flour, I’m all over the recipe with a fine-tooth comb. As a rule I’m a terrible baker, but I’m getting there with much practice. I still sneak in the odd Careme frozen pastry when needed but…
And of course, Stephanie Alexander’s The Cooks Companion is a must for all cook book collections!
And Jacqui’s copy of Skye Gyngell’s My Favourite Ingredients – note the many Post-Its
Nicola Greenaway of Concrete & Honey
Gosh I do love cookbooks, I just wish I cooked from them more often that I do! My favourites are definitely Skye Gyngell’s My Favourite Ingredients. Why? Because it’s my favourite style of foods so fresh and full of flavour and honest and uncomplicated. I have been to her cafe in London and it’s just so perfect surrounded by gardens and beautiful bits and pieces. And I love that she’s Australian. The most amazing recipe is the broad beans with mint and ricotta. My next favourite has to be Tessa Kiros’ Falling Cloudberries. What a name for a book, can you believe they have cloudberries in Finland? The photography and feel of her books is truly beautiful.