My four favourite cookbooks of all time
Before I started my current job, I used to work for a non-fiction publisher, who, amongst other things, published a lot of cookery. It means I was exposed to lots of different cookbooks, and have a lot of great books on my shelves. But so many of those books end up collecting dust after I used them once or twice. Some I read through like a magazine, but never actually cook from. And some are so great that time and again, I end up coming back to them. Unsurprisingly, they books I return to over and over feature straightforward recipes that are mostly healthy but still packed with flavour. These are the four I absolutely love…
4. The Kitchen Revolution – Rosie Sykes, Polly Russell, Zoe Heron*
This is a full on, year-long meal plan cook book. It gives shopping lists for the week, gives recipes using leftovers, and is generally brilliant. I have used it as a meal planner quite a few times, but now I just use individual recipes. This has been my go-to book for inspiration for years. Whenever I think I’m not sure what to cook, I can turn to the relevant month and find something incredible to make. I actually thought for a little while that I had lost my copy, and my relief at finding it again was significant. My copy is so well-loved after being covered in splashes of food and little bits of sauce, it feels like it has its own personality…
3. Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals – Jamie Oliver
There is not a single meal in the book I can cook in 15 minutes. Fact. But that’s kind of irrelevant, because they recipes DO take very little time and are very delicious. I remember when Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals came out, and it broke sales records and everyone at work was like ‘Ahhh, Jamie has sold so many copies, why don’t we publish him?’ and then we heard he had a new book coming out and we were all like ‘What’s it going to be? 15 minutes!? Hahahahaha’ and then that’s what it was. Ha! Jamie’s amazing – he really seems to have his fingers on the pulse of what people want in their kitchens, and delivers exactly what they’re looking for time and time again.
2. Plenty – Yotam Ottolenghi*
Vegetarian treats. Ottolenghi spurred on a whole new way to eat with his big sharing platters. We had ‘Ottolenghi style’ food at our wedding and I’m a little biased, but it was hands down the best wedding food I’ve ever had. His flavours are so punchy and the recipes in Plenty are really pretty special. I loved his first book (Ottolenghi, written with Sami Tamimi), but there were loads of difficult to find ingredients and the recipes were pretty complex. Plenty is much more straightforward, and there are several recipes from this book that I return to again and again.
1. A Modern Way to Eat – Anna Jones
I’ve written an entire post about the book, because I love it so much. I won’t write too much more about it, apart from to say that if you are looking for fresh tastes, delicious vegetarian cooking, and straightforward recipes that won’t take days to prepare, then this is it. Her new book, A Modern Way to Cook, is out in the Autumn, and it’s already on my wishlist.
What are your favourite cookbooks? I’d love to know which books you come back to again and again.
* I have starred the two books I got for free because of my previous job. I didn’t work on the Ottolenghi campaign, but was quite involved in setting up a website for the Kitchen Revolution. Getting free cookery books really was a pretty good perk of my old job, but as a result I have LOADS of cookbooks, so I don’t think I’m too biased when I’ve picked my favourites. I should also note that this post contains affiliate links.