M Y C O O K B O O K C O L L E C T I O N
As was made abundantly clear by this instagram photo, I adore cookbooks and have a rather sizeable collection! My first priority, as soon as I moved into my new flat, was to get all my books on the shelves, and one of my favourite things to do is to spend time browsing through my collection, pulling out books and getting inspiration. It’s like having my own personal little library! Some people, including the lovely Melanie, asked if I could share some of my favourite cookbooks with you all, so I thought it would be fun to take you on a tour of my shelves with a little video (click here or scroll to bottom to watch it). I could honestly talk for hours about my books, but I only had time to give you the very briefest of highlights (I may do another one, though, if you’re keen!). If you don’t have time to watch the video (or prefer to read a post), then I’ve summarised it below.
M Y C O O K B O O K C R I T E R I A
Although it may not seem like it, I am in fact very particular about which cookbooks I buy, and in general I select a cookbook based on 4 main criteria:
1/ The recipes have to be fantastic. That goes without saying, but I also tend to prefer cookbooks that focus on simple, often seasonal, ingredients with incredible flavour.
2/ The books must be visually pleasing. I’m fascinated by lifestyle and food photography, and a lot of my inspiration comes from the cookbooks I buy. For instance, I love Donna Hay’s books, not only for their recipes, but because I think the photography is always exceptionally good.
3/ Well-written, please! I find reading cookbooks one of the most soothing things I can do. If I’m having a bad day, then I find reaching for a well-loved cookery book often calms me down (currently, I’m enthralled by Seven Spoons; Tara O’Brady is one of the best food writers I’ve ever come across, and now I realise she has a blog too – yay! – I’m devouring every word of that as well.).
4/ A great personality. This is linked to the writing quality, as when I read a cookbook I like to get a real sense of who the author is and whether I think we could get along. I enjoy making recipes from people I feel share a philosophy on life and food that is similar to my own.
A F E W O F M Y F A V O U R I T E S
My cookbook gurus: these are the authors I turn to time and again, and who never fail to disappoint. The Barefoot Contessa (aka Ina Garten) is one of my absolute favourites. Her recipes really are foolproof, and I appreciate her laid-back philosophy to entertaining. I rely on The Pioneer Woman (aka Ree Drummond) whenever I’m throwing a big party, as her recipes are delicious, easy to double (or quadruple!) and are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Giada de Laurentiis is my go-to for lighter, Californian-meets-Italian style cooking, and Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver are my weeknight heros.
As good as they look: for fantastic photography (and holiday planning / dreaming!), I turn to Tessa Kiros‘ books (mentioned in the video are Limoncello & Linen Water and Venezia). I also love the cookbooks Sugared Orange and Rose Petal Jam for their stunning imagery, as well as their classic Polish recipes.
Wonderfully written: My absolute favourite food memoir is Molly Wizenburg’s A Homemade Life (it also has some great recipes!).
Scandi style: I adore Scandinavian food, especially when it comes to baking! Fika is a sweet book, full of traditional recipes, and personal favourites of mine are Signe Johansen’s Scandilicious and Scandilicious Baking (the Banana Spice Cake mentioned in the video is in fact in Scandilicious Baking).
Lesser known: A cookbook I believe deserves to be much better known is French & Grace’s Kitchen & Co, which has a terrific selection of easy recipes that burst with flavour (one of my favourites is their Barley Risotto with Blue Cheese and Spinach).
For more about my favourite cookbooks, watch the video below!
What are your favourite cookbooks? Please do share your recommendations – I’d love to hear them, and let me know if you’d like a Part 2 to this video, covering a few more recommendations. Be sure to share it with a friend who loves cooking too!