Miranda Loves {Video}: My Favourite Cookbooks

My Favourite Cookbooks

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.

My Favourite Cookbooks + Video

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.

My Favourite Cookbooks + Video

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!

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  • Lizzie

    Cookbooks are probably my favourite type of book, but you’ve covered so many of my favourites already! I would just give a shout out for what I term “brillliantly ridiculous cookbooks” though – my favourites being Laduree’s Entertaining book (“for a truly relaxing breakfast, why not hire a butler to serve you?”) and the Duchess of Argyll’s fabulously 1980s Entertaining At Home cookbook – absolutely essential if you ever need to know how to seat a prominant member of the Royal family and JFK at dinner…… 🙂

  • Kristina Collins

    Definitely keen to have a Part 2! Such a super tour of your amazing collection and I’m sure you have lots more to share! And hope your oven arrives very soon. xx

  • Hi, I am much less influenced by lovely photography and some of my best books are very plain. I too am a great fan of Nigella, though I rate “How to Eat” as her best book in my collection. Other much featured authors are Nigel Slater and Rick Stein. Some that I think you didn’t mention but which I think are superb are Marcella Hazen’s “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” and the wonderful and very lierate (and literary) Claudia Roden’s “Middle Eastern Food”. I have a number of Jane Grigson classics and an excellent (though less used than 20 years ago) French Cookery book by Anne Willan “French Regional Cooking”. I wouldn’t be without “Moro” and “Moro East” either. I have three much loved (i.e. falling apart) books by Madhur Jaffrey which are just fantastic sources of excellent food and inspiration.

  • Thank you so much for doing this post and video, Miranda! 😀 I’m slowly starting to turn into somewhat of a cookbook hoarder, so I definitely appreciate the chance to get a glimpse into your beautiful collection! Tessa Kiros’ books are now on top of my cookbook wishlist (Travel and food? You know that that’s the way to my heart!) – I hope I’ll be able to track them down in Germany! 😉 One of my recent favorite cookbook is Green Kitchen Travels. It’s all about healthy, wholesome and vegetarian recipes inspired by the travels of the authors and it has easily some of the most stunning food and travel photography that I have seen in a long time. They also have a blog called Green Kitchen Stories which is really worth checking out! 🙂 Oh, and before I forget it: I definitely would love a Part 2! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for inspiring this post Melanie! I’ve just looked up Green Kitchen Stories – and am now following their blog! The recipes look fab and the photos are gorgeous; thanks for a great recommendation. I definitely recommend checking out Tessa Kiros’ books – I think you’d love. So fun to chat cookbooks! xxx

      • I’m glad that I could give you some food blog inspiration! 🙂 I’m actually making one of the recipes from their cookbook today! 🙂

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  • I am never confident about what cookbooks to go for so this was really helpful, thanks Miranda. Giada sounds amazing, I am going to check her books out for sure xx

  • I am the worst cook – which is why I needed this post 😉 You have inspired me to whip up something that isn’t exclusively pasta or an omelette

    xx http://www.qustomquinns.com/blog

    • Haha, thank you! I was lucky because my Mum taught me how to cook, but I still need a decent recipe to follow, so I’m thankful for my cookery book collection! Good luck with your own cooking adventures 🙂 xxx

  • Simon Fogg

    I am more of a recipes-on-the-internet reader. Fave cooks are Nigella and Hairy Bikers. I also love Rick Stein’s TV programmes (love that he takes notes!). My fave food is Thai and stumbled over this cook a while ago – http://srjf.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/cook-david-thompson-thai-food.html. I need to get his book out and read and cook! Also, loved this Julia Child book (you seen Julie and Julia? love that film! cooking AND blogging!) – http://srjf.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/profile-julia-child-american-tv-chef.html

    • I’ve never seen Rick Stein’s programmes – clearly I’m missing out! I love Julia Child too and have seen Julie & Julia – it’s brilliant! Meryl Streep was just so perfect in it 🙂 (and you’re right – it combines two of my favourite things – blogging and cooking – bound to be a winner!). xxx

  • Great post, love it!

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