I am mad for cookbooks. They stimulate ideas, and inspire me to cook and think in a different way about how I might prepare something and how I might eat it. I have learned so much from my cookbooks; they are an education within themselves. I have lived in many different cities, and I have always managed to drag them around with me, I treasure them so. I actually like to sit down and read them, like a novel or a magazine. It’s soothing and exciting to imagine all the cooking opportunities awaiting me within those pages.
Therefore, I thought it might be of some interest then to share this lovely collection with you. It’s connected to Amazon so if you want to buy it and have a go, just click on the link. I’ve provided a brief description so you have an idea what you are getting yourself into. I have profiled them into flavour and cuisine categories.
World Food Café
Global Vegetarian Cooking
Chris and Carolyn Caldicott
A great little book that travels around all the exotic countries in the world, and turns traditional meat dishes into vegetarian ones, which is really innovative and saves you some thinking time. Lots of good ideas, especially if you are curious about a certain country’s cuisine and want to give it a try.
Recipes From My Mother’s Kitchen
This is a great collection of simple Korean recipes. I actually bought this book originally because I thought it was the book of the classic east village restaurant “Dok Suni” which I could be found at once a week for at least five years. It’s not though, but I was not disappointed at all. There are not to many books around about Korean food, and I like these classic recipes a lot; I really learned how to flavour profile Korean food from this and I can cook it really well now because of it. Definitely worth checking out.
Savour the Pacific
I bought this after a trip to Fiji because I fell in love with the food there. This is a good contemporary take on how to prepare it in the western world. Delicious, healthy, and refined recipes.
Robert Cormack Didier Corlou Nguyen Thanh Van
I have spent a large amount of time in Southeast Asia, and Vietnamese is probably my favourite cuisine after Thai. This is a great intro to how to cook it, and I really like how they are very basic without any fixings, which leaves room for your own interpretations.
What’s Cooking Thai
This book is great for Southeast Asian Cuisine Novices. It gives you good classic dishes to start you off and helps you learn the sweet-sour-salty-spicy thing.
David Thompson has a cool and very posh Thai restaurant in London called “Nahm”.
It is a smart cleaned up version of Thai food, made very elegantly. Which is delicious. It does mess slightly with the spirit of Thai food which is more about its street food and the quick and complicated flavours all thrown together in seconds. His book, however, gives you those with just a little bit of cushioning. Also, a really great intro and history section. A definite must read.
Cradle of Flavor
Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore
After a diving trip to Malaysia, I was really interested in learning more about their food. It’s very interesting, as it’s such a mix. This is a cleaned up version of some of their mainstays. Really yummy.
A Taste of Terengganu’s Heritage
I stayed in this area of Malaysia and it has an amazing history. This book is super cool in that it tells you all about the different cultures that came to this area and all its rituals and celebrations which explains why the food is a combination of Indian, Thai, and Chinese. It also has beautiful photographs and stories that make it very rich and interesting…
Simple Laotian Cooking
This is a book to buy if you want to further your skills with Southeast Asian cuisine, but only get this after exploring the more exciting Thai and Vietnamese areas, as Laotian food is very simple, elegant, and clean…
**Nobu the cookbook
This book rocks. It gives you all the Japanese basics of cooking things like miso soup but also all the dishes served at Nobu, which really improves your cooking skills. Highly recommended.
This is his sequel, and it very experimental. So if you don’t like experimental, don’t go here. However it’s very creative and fun to explore the mind of Nobu through this book…
CONTINENTAL/BRITISH GASTRO/PAN EUROPEAN
**Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood
Outlaw knows everything about fish. And he proves it with this book. He categorizes them into types of fish and what is seasonal, and then gives you neat and simple (but very gourmand and very British) recipes to follow. I love his reporting on when it’s a good time to eat it so you don’t hurt the species. One of my favourite books in fact.
A New Take on bistro food
This is the chef from the London restaurant “Wild Honey”
I am an American living in London, so I like to learn about how the British eat their food. This is a polished version of gastro style British cooking and is really good with meat in particular. The recipes are extremely delicious but some are a bit complicated for the beginner chef.
Eric Frechon and Sylvia Gabet
These recipes come from the brilliant chef Eric Frechon of the Bristol Hotel in Paris.
It is organized by land, sea, air, and water and has sublime food porn photographs. The recipes are really for a super special occasion, but they are extremely beautiful and poetic. It’s also a gem to have this book in your library, like taking a slice of “Le Bristol” back home.
**Lever House Cookbook
Dan Silverman and Joann Cianciulli
This is a cookbook from the chefs at New York City’s “Lever House”, which is now closed sadly. It was a particularly exceptional place in terms of design and cuisine, and the recipes in this book are outstanding and just as good as eating there was. I like the casual and informative way it is written, and the outcome is always incredibly tasty and super posh without looking overdone. It is sort of pan European in style.
**Rick Stein’s Seafood
Rick Stein is the godfather of Fish cooking in the UK. He hales from Cornwall, which is also the fish capitol in the UK. He has an extremely fuss free but exact way to prepare fish, and you can really learn how to cook properly from this book.
This was one of his first books, and really a classic. Lots of easy but very delicious recipes that I still draw from today. Plus he is really great person, making healthy food a household name.
**Honey from a Weed
Rick Stein recommended this book, and since I think he knows something about food, I bought it. It’s more like a novel than a cookbook but there are loads of recipes. It is about a woman married to a sculptor in 60s Italy/Greece and how she learns to live and cook off the land. It is a fascinating take on “keeping things natural” but also very informative about herbs, spices, and ancient Mediterranean recipes. Fascinating book.
The Silver Spoon
This is sort of like a manual on how to cook every single Italian dish. Its great to have around if you want to learn how to cook Italian dishes the simple and clean way the Italians actually eat them. It is very basic, but then so is Italian cuisine. Really good for your cookbook collection.
A Venetian Cookbook (of sorts)
This is a really cool book and the recipes are fantastic and simple. Also he gives you history on the dish and explains everything only Italians know and will never tell you about cooking their food. It has a great selection of Cichetti (venetian Italian tapas) that is all the rage in NYC and London (but only exists in Venice, not in all of Italy, I hate to break the news). This chef has a cool restaurant in Soho in London called “Polpo” (Website: http://www.polpo.co.uk). I must admit I was a little disturbed that there was no “Polpo” being served in the entire restaurant however! I also have to say that some Italian dishes are not meant for sharing (like soup) and not meant to made into dish in a restaurant that you pay for, like thickly sliced fennel, on a plate. But the book is actually excellent!
**The Zuni Café Cookbook
I read about this book on a blog some time back. I bought it before I had moved to Italy so it was very new to me, authentic Italian cooking. But the recipes are really very delicious with a sort of Californian twist (which if you are Italian you will frown here and do not buy this, it will only irritate you). I still cook a lot of these recipes and have made them my classics. She is great with vegetables and turns them into movie stars. I visited her restaurant in San Francisco, “Zuni Café” (Website: http://www.zunicafe.com) and was really disappointed, but the book is a must for any serious cook, I promise. Beautiful, rich, and pleasing for all palettes.
**A Day at El Bulli
This is the book about the most famous restaurant in the world “El Bulli” in Spain. It no longer exists, but it was a remarkable place, where some of the most incredible food in the world was created, making food truly into art. This book is very large, with beautiful photographs, and is more of a story than about cooking, although you do get a few recipes. But it is a fascinating book to have in terms of what El Bulli was, which will undoubtedly go down in history and this book documents that.
Norman’s New World Cuisine
Norman Van Aken
I have had this book for over ten years, it was one of my very first cookbooks in fact, and I still go back to it, particularly around thanksgiving as he does some great stuff with birds. He is quite a famous chef in America, and is known for his fusing of African, Mexican, Caribbean, and American cuisines. Think barbeque and cajun. He has two famous restaurants in Miami and Orlando (Website: http://www.normanvanaken.com/#!restaurants). They are both super yummy and I love how stylized his food is.
This is a mixture of Arabic, Central Med, the Balkans, and Eastern Med. They do really sing together and by cooking some of these, you really get how each area the other influenced. There are some great recipes in here from many famous chefs. Plus the recipes are pretty easy to do, and quite clever.
New Middle Eastern Food
Greg and Lucy Malouf
This is very elegant Arabic cooking with a beautiful presentation of photographs and typeface. Each recipe I have tried have been perfectly balanced and very clean, but exotic and full of color, both in your mouth and on your plate.
A taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon
This writer knows the inside out of Arabic cooking. It is obvious she has spent a lot of time researching and visiting these countries, as she gives a very interesting intro to each as she introduces you to the food. All of the recipes are very simple to make and very fresh and healthy. Its great for ideas and influences to your own cooking when you are stomped, and you can create a great menu of mezze around the many dishes she includes.
Culinary Travels with Spain’s Top Chefs
This book jumps all over Spain, giving you great recipes from Spain’s greatest chefs. Some of them are classic, but most are innovative smartened up versions of classics. It is very creative and very delicious.
VEGAN & HEALTH
The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook
Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
This is the “Silver Spoon” of vegan recipes. Its jam packed with every vegan recipe for people who don’t know how to cook them just yet and want to learn, plus they are pretty easy. Particularly when vegan stuff goes raw, it can get pretty tricky and people lose interest. A great reference book for new vegans.
The Angelica Home Kitchen
Recipes and Rabble Rousings from an Organic Vegan Restaurant
I used to live across the street from this restaurant in the East Village of New York whilst attending art school. (Website: http://angelicakitchen.com) Lets just say I had quite a colourful collection of people in my building…but my savoir was this insanely delicious restaurant. I once saw Lisa Bonet in the take out section (whom I had a huge girl crush on since I was six) and it soon became my guaranteed local. The book is awesome and gives you truly yummy recipes from their kitchen.
Ani’s Raw Food Asia
East East –West Fusion Recipes
This book has really creative simple clean raw recipes with an Asian spin. Sometimes when I get bored of eating steamed veg for lunch I grab this book and try something new. It also has some good nutritional advice that goes along with the recipes, which I always eat up.
The World Goes Raw
An International Collection of Raw Vegetarian Recipes
If you are on a raw diet, you will probably want to buy this book. Because it can get very boring on a raw diet and it’s very time consuming. There are some good keepers in this book and will give you some variety. I would not eat them if I was not on a raw diet however, but when I have done a raw food cleanse, I found this very helpful.
SELF HEALING (WITH FOOD) BOOKS
Alejandro Junger, M.D.
I am not the type to do fad diets. Ever. I believe in eating healthfully when you can and splurging when it’s to good to say no, or when in a country that allows you only a few unhealthy options and you are ravenous(!)… But this book is really wonderful. Its gives you a full explanation on how to clean out your system and check yourself back into health as a LIFESTYLE. The recipes are all really great and it’s a good way to get off sugar, caffeine, all the “bad stuff” when you need a clean out. Its great for people who have found out they may have some sort of disease or are having bad digestion problems, acne, etc. It proves that food really can heal you if you learn the tools. Definitely a good read.
The Self – Healing Cookbook
A Macrobiotic Primer for Healing Body, Mind and Moods with Whole Natural Foods
This is not a diet book, and all the recipes are very filling. In fact, I think great for kids who like their veg., cooking for men who want to go vegetarian, and women who need to put on weight in a healthy way or get rid of disease or illness in a cold climate. The recipes are all macrobiotic and it’s done in a very simple format so you learn as you cook them. This was one of my first cookbooks as a teenager and really inspired me to cook the way I do now. It’s also a cool gift for a young person interested in health!
A Way of Life
Dr. Vinod Verma
If you are interested in looking into Ayurvedics, this is a great starter. It helps you to classify your own system and gives you a full understanding of your body type. I don’t always follow this to a T, but I think its helpful knowledge and a smart and ancient system. If it didn’t work and have truth to it, it wouldn’t still be around.