Whether you follow the recipes to a T or just take inspiration from them, cookbooks are a great resource for jazzing up a mid-week meal. While I often look for recipes online (Jamie Oliver and Food 52 are two of my favourite food websites) I’ve amassed quite a collection of books over the years; from the uber-healthy to the super sweet, so i thought i’d share my pick of the best cookbooks for foodies.
I love getting cookbooks for Christmas or birthdays, they’re the gift that keeps giving. I’ll often pull one of an evening and flick through for some inspiration. On the weekends I’ll spend a little longer in the kitchen to cook up something completely different from one of my books. I’ve noticed that I seem to turn to the same cookbooks time again, so i thought it was time to share…
These are the cookbooks that have saved us from many boring dinners and provided friends and family with some delicious treats on special occasions. I often stick to the recipe properly the first time I make something new, then simply use it as a reference when making the dish again (the only exception is with baking, as my misdemeanours tend to be rendered inedible.)
5 best cookbooks for foodies
1. The feel-good cookbook: Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite, Gizzi Erskine
Favourite recipe: Pulled Chipotle Chicken & the Coconut, Banana and Pineapple Cake
Gizzi’s food is good for the soul. Her book,Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite: Food to nourish the body and feed the soul is filled with dishes you can’t wait to make and share. Pulled chipotle chicken, Spanish chicken stew with chorizo and garbanzo beans and roasted cauliflowers with cheese sauce and crispy shallots are just a few of the recipes that are absolutely mouth-watering. Sectioned into textures such as Slurp, Crunch and Ooze, Gizzi makes everything look and sound so appetising – even her Caesar salad is a revelation. I love that this book is filled with recipes from around the world, there’s a roasted pork and cheese Cuban sandwich, Ox cheek goulash and Korean Mul Naengmyeon (cold noodle salad). It’s far from boring, and will impress even your most discerning foodie friends when they come for dinner. An all-round winner.
2. The ultra-healthy cookbook: I Quit Sugar For Life, Sarah Wilson
Favourite recipe: Slow Cooked Barbecue Pork
My I Quit Sugar for Life: Your fad-free wholefood wellness code and cookbook is well worn, smudged with fingerprints and speckled with spilled ingredients. When I first got this book, I used it night after night for literally 3 weeks such was my enthusiasm for Sarah Wilson’s recipes. Puppy Daddy (sugar addict to the core) was even a convert. One of my favourite things about the I Quit Sugar book is that everything looks super appetising. Lovely imagery, easy to read instructions and loads of ideas keeps me turning to this book, even now.
Find scrumptious sides (quinoa mac ‘n’ cheese), unique smoothies (peanut butter ‘n’ jelly porridge whip) and mid-week meal ideas (Vietnamese chicken curry). Plus, the rationale behind quitting sugar is at the beginning helps you understand more about some of the recipes. A great book if you’re on a health kick or simply want to try some different, family-friendly healthy recipes.
3. The indulgent cook book: Simply Nigella, Nigella Lawson
Favourite recipe: Massaman Beef Curry
Please everyone at the dinner table with a Simply Nigella recipe. A celebration of great tasting food, this book is a culmination of food-finds from her travels and delicious traditional recipes. Sectioned into Quick and Calm, Bowlfood, Dine, Breathe, Sides, Sweet and Beginnings, Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food
focuses on the enjoyment of cooking and eating.
You can tell Nigella has done the leg-work in making sure each recipe is perfect in this book – and they really are perfect. She’s included introductions to each and every recipe, sharing her inspiration and thoughts on why you’ll love it. There are some real sensational dishes here, notably the sweet potato macaroni cheese, Massaman curry, Cauliflower cashew nut curry and oven-cooked chicken shwarma. This particular book makes the perfect gift (for one’s self) and had to feature in my best cookbooks for foodies.
4. The quick cookbook: Lean in 15, Joe Wicks
Favourite recipe: Cheesy Chorizo Chicken & Spinach
After Joe Wicks’ meteoric rise to fame, I was eager to see what his first book, Lean in 15: 15 minute meals and workouts to keep you lean and healthy had to offer. I wasn’t disappointed. Much like his Instagram feed, Joe’s book is filled with quick, effortless recipes that are perfect for a speedy dinner. This book features healthy takes on some classic recipes; chicken and new potato hash, tortilla pizza and chilli with avocado, all of which can be whipped up in 15 minutes. I’m not quite as quick in the kitchen as Joe, but I still appreciate that these meals are perfect when you get home after a long day and can’t face cooking. You won’t really find any new ideas here, but what you will find are healthy, tasty recipes that give you a real hit of flavour in next to no time.
5. The baker’s cookbook: Bake Off Everyday, Linda Collister, Mary Berry & Paul Hollywood
Favourite recipe: Lemon Shortbread
Anyone else addicted to The Great British Bake Off? It’s one of my favourite shows and although I can’t see myself ever becoming as accomplished as the contestants, I do feel quite pleased with myself every time I try one of the recipes from this book. Sectioned into cakes, biscuits, breads, sweet breads, pastry and pudding, Great British Bake Off: Everyday: Over 100 Foolproof Bakes is ideal for the want-to-be-baker. It has something for every skill level; basic blondies an Italian chocolate tray bake, to feta-filled Spanakopita and an apricot couronne crown. One of my favourite recipes from the book is lemon shortbread, using lemon slices macerated overnight with sugar. It’s so yummy; sweet, sharp and oh so moreish.
I know with each series a whole hoard of new baking books emerge, but this particular version is one of my favourites as the instructions are really clear and easy to follow. Mary Berry eat your heart out.
I hope you enjoyed my roundup of the best cookbooks for foodies – what are your favourite recipe books?
Until next time,