Book. Eat. Blog. My Must Own Cookbooks.
At Cook. Eat. Blog. I’m eternally searching for recipe inspiration from around the globe. My must own cookbooks are always those that focus on one specific ethnicity of food – Whether it’s a Burmese Chicken Curry or a Japanese Katsudon rice bowl – they enable me to immerse myself in a nation’s cuisine and help me learn about unusual and often overlooked recipes and flavours. I own a world of books. A lot. But then I EAT a lot, so it kind of balances itself out.
Here are a few of my picks. Some old, some new, all highly recommended! These are the cookbooks YOU should own! If you’re inspired, click on the link to buy a copy* and have any one of them added to your collection or gifted to someone special in no time! Do you own one of these books? Did you just buy one? What did you think? Have any cook book recommendations of your own? Let me know in the comments below.
by Claudia Roden
Category: Turkish, Moroccan, Lebanese
For 30 years, Egyptian born, Claudia Roden has become the authority on Mediterranean cuisine. Her most famous book, A Book of Middle Eastern Food is one of the biggest sellers in the world. In Arabesque she focusses her attentions on three specific regions – Moroccan, Turkish and Lebanese. Throughout this wonderfully considered book she offers up some mouth watering recipes and beautifully styled photography. Her knowledge is without question she’s the authority on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. This is one of my top 5 go-to recipe books, and never fails to inspire.
The Complete Asian Cookbook
by Charmaine Solomon
Charmaine Solomon, a Sri Lankan born food writer is a world authority on Asian food. Her Complete Asian Cookbook (pub. 1976) explores the greatest hits of some 14 Asian countries and giving us everything we could need to produce a lifetime of authentic Asian dishes. I have the 1976 edition, which has some of the most hideously styled photographs ever produced together with 30 years of drips and stains from its previous owners – it’s a real timepiece! Thankfully this edition has new photography, but the recipes remain largely the same. It’s my Asian food bible.
by Sam & Sam Clark
Sam & Sam Clarke are the married couple and owners of Moro restaurant, London. Unfortunately they are also slightly pleased with themselves. This book, their first, is packed full of photographs of the couple on their mediterranean journey of enlightenment – be it cross legged amongst the locals in a remote Spanish village or wafting through a field somewhere off the beaten track, it’s all a tad self conscious. If it weren’t for the food, which is amazing, this book would have been tossed years ago. However, the duo have a knack of making everything look and sound utterly delicious. The recipes are inspired and feature some of the tastiest things I’ve cooked at home. It’s smugly essential!
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Category: Mediterranean, Vegetables
Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli/British food writer and Restaurateur has over the last decade produced some of my most used recipe books. His 2012 Book, Jerusalem is so tattered and stained it resembles an ancient treasure map. But it’s his latest treasure, Simple that is my newest go-to for creative, wholesome dishes. His focus on vegetables in inspired – he creates food that appeals to the eyes, but that are also brimming with flavour. As the title suggests, the recipes contained in Simple are just that. Nothing taxing, only inventive, colourful food that anyone can create themselves at home.
by Olia Hercules
Category: Ukraine & Eastern Europe
As I bunker down for winter’s approach, I gravitate toward my European cookbooks. I’m looking for hearty, comforting food as the temperature falls. This new title, Mamushka A Cookbook, by Olia Hercules delivers on so many levels. Fabulous soups and stews, lots of unique vegetable dishes and some great fish and meat recipes. There’s also a chapter focussed on jams and conserves, something Eastern Europe do better than anywhere else in the World, and a perfect little stay-at-home activity when it’s too cold to venture out. I have many pre-emptive post-its marked in this book ready for the weather to turn.
by Pushpesh Pant
If there’s something Indian that you wanted to cook that isn’t in this book then you’d surely need to ask, “Is it worth cooking?” With 1000 recipes, India by the fabulously named Pushpesh Pant is quite literally a bible for all things Indian. Featuring regional recipes from every corner of the country it has some amazing and some unusual recipes. It’s the first book I go to these days to get the authentic spin on any Indian dish I’m thinking of preparing. For anyone who only wants one book of Indian food in their cookbook collection, then this is THE one.
by Deuki Hong
& Matt Rodbard
I’m relatively new to the Korean food scene. For whatever reason, nobody invited me to the party! I can only describe what I’ve been missing all these years as devastating! I’m big on flavour as are the Koreans as I’ve discovered. Koreatown delivers knock out recipes for all your Korean favourites like Kimchi Fried Rice and Bibimbap alongside profiles and interviews with some of America’s top chefs. It’s a great introduction to the country’s cuisine and the revelation that Korean food isn’t too scary to approach making at home. This book is HOT!
Thailand the Cookbook
I never tire of Thai food – I’ve traveled there a few times and having lived in Sydney for over a decade had been exposed to excellent quality Thai food on my doorstep. The need to cook Authentic Thai food for me is a must, so this telephone directory sized offering from the excellent Phaidon series is a welcome addition to my collection. There are recipes for literally every Thai dish I could ever wish for – and some I may not -(Spicy Red Ant Salad) interspersed with beautifully curated food photography. If like me, spice is your thing you’re going to love this cookbook.
by Marti Buckley
I love Spanish food but I often see cookbooks fall into the same greatest hits of Spanish cuisine. Basque Country by Marti Buckley explores what is arguably the finest region of Spanish cuisine. From recipes for Pintxos (Basque tapas) through to some super authentic fish and seafood dishes, then on to hearty meat and poultry – it’s a complete taste masterclass from this fabulous region of Spain. The crowning glory of this book must be the recipe for Gâteau Basque – a delectable custard pie that quite literally blew my mind cooking it at home. If you want to eat a different kind of Spanish, this is the book for you.