It might be hard to tell that I love to cook because of all the pictures of pizza on my Instagram (I’ll admit, these aren’t homemade). But I really do – I love cooking – and due to this culinary hobby of mine, I am building quite the collection of cookbooks.
Although I have started to put my own little twists on the most basic of dinners (the other night I conjured up a pretty tasty steak marinade out of olive oil, soy sauce, chilies and an Oxo cube) I still rely on the experts to help me grow in confidence in the kitchen.
These books not only provide inspiration and and content for my #foodstagram posts (much to my boyfriend’s annoyance when I’m taking pictures of his plate instead of letting him eat) they also teach me to be a little more creative with flavours and ingredients.
So, without further ado, here’s a selection of some of my favourite cookbooks…
Good + Simple, by Hemsley + Hemsley
Last year, I really enjoyed watching the Hemsley sisters’ Eating Well with Hemsley + Hemsley TV series that I went out and bought their new recipe book (I’m a sucker for a marketing ploy). When I’m wanting to be a little healthier but not wanting to sacrifice some of my favourite ingredients, I turn to this book. Their recipes are sustainable and nutritious but bursting with exciting flavours. This is a book for healthy comfort food.
Recipes to try: One Pan Full Monty Breakfast, Plum Clafoutis, Curry Night Fish Curry
The Little Paris Kitchen, by Rachel Khoo
If my home was burning down and I was only allowed to take one cookbook with me (because, let’s be honest, I probably would just emerge from the flames with armfuls of books) this would be the one I’d choose. I lived in North Eastern France for a year and j’adore Paris so this book holds some of my favourite French foods. I also own Khoo’s The Little French Kitchen which dives even deeper into regional French delicacies. I love how these books not only outline recipes but also tell the story of the author’s own experiences and discoveries.
Recipes to try: Nids de tartiflette, Ratatouille, Millefeuille aux pommes
Persiana, by Sabrina Ghayour
If you’d told me a few years ago that I’d be trying my hand at Middle Eastern cooking I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Throughout my twenties, my taste buds have become more adventurous and most recently I have started falling in love with Persian, Arabic and Turkish foods. When eating these cuisines in restaurants it seems like the aromatic dishes would be really complex to make at home. This book show you that this is not the case and that you can easily recreate some of your favourite meals from the Middle East at home. Perfect for dinner parties!
Recipes to try: Ezme, Persian Flatbread, Lamb Biryani, Za’atar Cod with Relish
The ASK Italian Cookbook
You may be a tad dubious as to why a cookbook from a chain restaurant is on my list. I have long been a lover of ASK Italian and their wholesome Italian food and wine. Their lasagne is my absolute favourite meaning that I order it every time I end up at one of their restaurants (no matter how much I try to explore the rest of the menu). This collection of simple recipes (compiled to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital) means that I can attempt to recreate the lasgagne at home or perhaps deviate to other delicious pastas and pizzas.
Recipes to try: Lasagne (did I mention that I really like it?), Prima Pizza Caprina, Chef’s Salad
Toast Hash Roast Mash, by Dan Doherty
This is a great book for when you’re making brunch for friends. Although, as the cover says, these recipes from Duck & Waffle Head Chef Dan Doherty can be used at any time of day. These relaxed and informal dishes are simple to make and perfect for hangovers (not that I have many of those, of course…).
Recipes to try: Mexican Eggs, Coconut Pancakes with Rum-roasted Pineapple, The Patty Melt
I am constantly looking to expand my shelf of cookbooks (there’s still some space left) so tell me your favourites in the comments below.