Cooking the Books

Curling up in bed with a good cookery book is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So when Observer Food Monthly published its top 50 cookbooks last Sunday it got me thinking about my own favourites. Of course, I agree with many of the choices – Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries is a must for anyone who enjoys eating and who can’t admit to delving into Delia’s How to Cook for good, homely recipes that are guaranteed to work?

But there were a few of my favourite bedtime reads that didn’t get a mention. As the name suggests, Indulge by Claire Clark (former pastry chef at The French Laundry, no less) is an absolute must for sweet-tooths – I can attest to her baked chocolate mousse with butterscotch sauce being the ultimate end to any dinner party.

When I’m in the mood for something more exotic I can’t help but be enticed by Luke Nguyen’s Songs of Sapa. He zips around Vietnam offering an array of delicious recipes, including prawn and coconut noodle soup, alongside stunning photography. And Salads by Peter Gordon is a colourful and creative reminder of how we should eat during summer.

Then there’s The Moro Cookbook when I’m in the mood for North African flavours, Angela Hartnett’s Cucina for inspired pasta and Larousse Gastronomique for absolutely anything food-related… in fact, the more I think about it, the list just goes on and on.

And just in case I run out of reading, why not tell me your favourites?



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6 responses to “Cooking the Books

  1. Doughface

    Oh, and for impressive desserts it has to be ‘the Last Course’ by Claudia Fleming. I don’t think there is a book that is more inspiring than this.

  2. Doughface

    So many to choose from! If i had to pick one for the rest of my life, I think it would have to be Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries.

    I love cookbooks so much I think I will have to build special shelves to house them all when I get my own place!

  3. sue

    I have just purchased Mary Berry ‘s Baking Bible. I’ m going to make the best cakes ever. Truthfully I will try lots, though sadly most will be my good intentions for next week!

  4. Katharine

    I poured over the Observer list too – there were loads of books I’m already mentally adding to my Christmas list. I’ve lived and breathed Delia’s Vegetarian Collection for years – I love her feta and tomato tart. And Nigella Lawson Express has seen me through many a week-night meal – her prawn, mango and coconut curry is DE-VINE and now a staple in my repertoire!

  5. Izzy

    I love this list and the recommendations! Vietnamese food is incredible so will definately be checking out The Songs of Sapa for some Pho noodle soup inspiration. I couldn’t bake without Nigella Lawson, ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’. Her brownies and snickers muffins are the ultimate indulgence/anti-diet. I’ve just recently discovered the Leon cookbook and their pinto bean and chorizo soup not only keeps me well entertained for a while (cutting up chorizo – bit for me, bit for the pan, bit for me, bit for the pan… and so on) but tastes deeply delicious. I’m dribbling just thinking about it! My biggest revelation this year has been Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food cookbook – I never thought I’d need recipes for such well known classics, but some of the ones in this book are absolute gems.

  6. Sarah J

    Try Bill Granger’s books, they’re full of great weekday supper ideas that don’t require hours in the kitchen. I’m currently working my way through Feed Me Now. Lots of lovely brunch ideas too.

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