Cookery: Books To Buy Now


This post is a tad later than I had anticipated but with the Advent season upon us, I thought this would be a great inspiration, not only for the holidays. Here are a few recipe books that would be the most excellent gifts, basic references, and inspiring pages for both seasoned cooks and novices. 

#1. The Joy of Cooking (the original version). 

This is a book of basics—if you're a budding cook this book has a wealth of knowledge within pages 
upon pages.  I don't use this book now but when I was a teen and rubbish about cooking terms and such, this was helpful. It covers everything from seasonal food preparations to entertaining spreads. A good basic foundation for newbies, even though times have changed with decades of reformed culinary methods, the book has data that does remain relevant. 

There are rudimentary lessons and instructional “How-tos,“ learning about fermented kinds of milk, proper cooking terminology to use, etc. Sometimes it’s nice to have a simple reference for that certain type of fowl that you’ve never cooked before or learning how to create the perfect NesselrodeThere’s also bits of food history throughout the book. *Rating: 6.9/10 Stars

#2. The Christmas Chronicles: Nigel Slater 

If you love food and good writing paired with the occasional palate cleansing jaunt from the kitchen then you will like this book. It’s a rather beautiful one—from the crisp photography to the ingredient list (a medley of the practical and the eccentric), not to mention, the rose gold foil on the covering. 

If you don’t know Slater’s work, you definitely should get with the programme! Generally, Slater's format is more of a warm storytelling one (a style that I have appreciated more and more), and this style of writing is not for everyone, namely when it comes to cooking. With that being said, there is a reason he has won many accolades for his writing ... it’s quite present in the pages. 

This book takes you on a food journey, a personal food diary rather full of imagery and from November to early February. There are fun snippets and memories from his travels (i.e., Nuremberg). As always, a range of recipes occupy the pages: roast duck, tarts, dressed up gourmet toast options for any time of the day, and interesting marzipan facts to love, amongst others in the spirit of the season! Yes, it's a gift worthy book to read on a rainy day in a comfy chair or wrapped in a fuzzy throw but more importantly, pre-Christmastide through mid-winter.  *Rating: 9/10 Stars

#3. At My Table: a celebration of home cooking by Nigella Lawson 
If the title of this book sounds familiar, that is because it's synonymous with the BBC Two series where Nigella Lawson shares her favourite recipes that she's cooked over the years as well as her new recipes.  

What To Expect: I have two Nigella Lawson books that I love and occasionally borrow one from my mum once a year or so; a desideratum by request via family members keen on an annual pudding. And, who knows puddings better than Nigella ... or grandmother Edith? 

This isn't like most of Lawson's books; the layout is a tad different, and the storytelling aspect is a slightly different, which I did like. The book starts the recipes list at the beginning, similar to an e-book format, which Lawson says was her inspiration. This book nods toward somewhat, more approachable cooking. With that said, dishes are diverse and most without traditional yield rules. 

This a book for anyone you say? Anyone? Well, if you're one to faff around or lack patience, erm, this is probably not the book for you. I want to say that all of the recipes are quite easy to createand for the most part, they very much areonly if you actually cook or don't mind getting your hands and the necessary tools, and dishes dirty from all the effort. It is, however, for those loving to share memories around the table, for friends and loved ones—to bring togetherness to your own table at the same time utilising speciality cupboard items more than once. 

To be honest, this is not my personal favourite Nigella Lawson cookery book but it certainly is a really lovely one. Her humour and style still shine through and you can find plenty of meals to enjoy, including the following: bulgar wheat, herbed lamb, roast poussins, slow pork, and delectable desserts. 

I loved the relatable concept for the book, essentially celebrating the connections that we make in life around the table with food at the core. Let's face it, Lawson just makes it look effortless when it comes to cooking and in the same take looking beautiful doing it!  *Rating: 7.9/10 Stars

 (Above) Tales from my own recipe scrapbook. More to come soon!

#4. The Kitchen Diaries III: a year of good eating by Nigel Slater 
Of Slater's series of books, I think this one is my absolute favourite, which is why I included it amongst others on this list.  

What To Expect: For some, if cooking novices, it may seem that one might lose their footing, therefore it might be best to start at the beginning of the series (The Kitchen Diaries). Although for most folks (if you cook at all), you will catch on quickly—dishes run from very easy and tasty to more complex and layered epicurean flavourings.  

There are definitely loads of food to make for entertaining, I promise, even without having to do pirouettes whilst serving your guests. I have cooked from this book in the past and I enjoyed the fact that Slater always lets the food do the talking. Yes, I know food should be pretty and there is a beauty to thoughtfully placing the perfect rosemary sprig on a plate but in my opinion, if your dish doesn’t taste good, then what’s the point of it all?  *Rating: 10/10 Stars 

On a lighter note, I’ve got to head out because the smells of roasted root veggies and duck cracklings are literally perfuming my kitchen for tonight's feast. I do hope you enjoyed the breakdown of these books. 

Do you have anyone in your life who might enjoy these cookery books? 

The goods: At My Table, and The Kitchen Diaries III-c/o. Shop Nigella's latest book here. To purchase more from Nigel Slater- Buy it here. I was given Amazon UK gift cards to purchase these books. As always, all opinions and content are honestly expressed and my own. View French cooking inspiration here