I own ALOT of cookbooks, some of them are worn out, covered in splashes from cooking and full of notations then some of them have been tried a couple of times and left on the shelf only to be picked up every so often. It’s amazing how ‘first impressions’ really runs true with cookbooks, the more I try from a book that is successful the more I am tempted to try those recipes that I wasn’t sure about at first glance. You start to trust the author and weird combinations become genius recipes.
I have lots of non vegetarian cookbooks, I actually prefer using them because you can get creative with how to adapt the recipe. Chicken in red wine can easily become a rich mushroom stew etc.
These are my current favourite cookbooks which I go back to over and over! I recommend them if you enjoy cooking rustic, flavoursome food which isn’t fattening or expensive.
I got the book before I visited Lukas Volger’s delicious blog. Scott bought it for me for our anniversary because I am always trying new veggie burger recipes and this book is jam packed with inspiration. There are bean burgers, tofu burgers, vegetable burgers and more! I love that he also includes lots of great topping ideas to compliment the burgers.
One thing that helps me decide whether to buy a cookbook is the photography and I really love the photos in this book. They definitely make me hungry looking at them. I also found the layout really easy to follow with nice clear sections and easy to read instruction.
Definitely a must for burger fans!
A list of my favourite books was always going to include a Jamie Oliver book! He is, in my eyes, one of the best chefs around at the moment. There are soo many but Jamie puts everything he has into connecting with people, helping people and spreading a much needed message about the importance of cooking from scratch. It’s not about being ‘cheffy’ it’s about knowing what’s in your food, being healthy and saving money.
I surprised myself a bit by choosing his 15 minute meals book, I didn’t want to buy it for ages because I can’t even make a bowl of cereal in 15 minutes I find cooking too relaxing and I’m always faffing around adding things here and there. Every time I make one of his 15 or 30 minute meals I end up sweating with cuts on my fingers and a kitchen which looks like a bomb hit it. But the food always looks and tastes amazing. What I do now is spend some time reading the recipe in advance, take my time preparing all of the ingredients before I turn the oven on, even if he preps them half way through, then I follow the recipe at my own pace setting timers where something only needs a minute cooking.
The other reason I chose it is because most of his meat dishes are actually vegetarian dishes with meat on the side. A firm favourite of ours is Jamie’s chicken and butternut squash laksa which is actually a very flavoursome butternut squash laksa with spicy chicken served separately. This is also great when I want to add meat for Scott!
It is separated into protein sections (veggie, chicken, fish, lamb etc) so it is easy to find what you need and of course the photography is inviting in every way.
Hugh promotes a very traditional style of cooking, using a lot of ‘from the garden’ ingredients with rustic flavours and simplistic, healthy cooking techniques. I find myself relaxing and enjoying myself whilst I am cooking a recipe from this book and the end result is always fantastic.
I love all of the illustrations throughout the book, it makes it more exciting to flick through and it enhances the rustic simplicity of his style. I like to think he got a load of friends around and painted veg to print for this book…but I doubt it hehe!
I also really like the way the book is categorised, titles like ‘hefty soups’ and ‘bready things’ speak to my heart..and my stomach!
There are some really interesting recipes such as beetroot tarte tatin and kale pizza, just trust me, you want to try these! There are also some lovely classics such as white bean salads and Welsh rarebit. Great for new and experienced home cooks who like to make the most of whole, real ingredients.
I was bought Leon’s first three books for Christmas and even though they are all brilliant, this one is my favourite (especially because it is by Allegra McEvedy)! LEON is a ‘fast food’ restaurant selling very healthy, freshly cooked food including wraps, salads and hot meals. if you find yourself in there then try their baked chips and home made sharp yet sweet lemonade!
The first half of the book is dedicated to ingredients. How to buy them, how to prepare them and what to match them with. Some health facts are thrown in and there are some great facts on the history of ingredients such as grains and cheese.
This book made it to the top 5 of my list simply because everything I have ever made from it has been a new favourite recipe. Their soups are all full of depth and warm your soul. Their salads are packed full of everything good for you. Plus the book is full of memories and photos of friends enjoying food together.
The second half focuses purely on healthy yet bold recipes. I found a lot of their recipes really easy to adapt and the meat dishes have enough vegetable element to easily substitute out the meat, for example I have changed up a couple of their meat based soups to make it suitable for both me and Scott.
The other really cool element of this book is all the bits that you pull out or pages which open to reveal secret pages. They also have an upside down cake in one of their books which is literally upside down. It’s the small things…
I would recommend this book to those of you who love world food and who like to play around with different flavours.
I used to do weight watchers and I have mixed feeling of it, I lost weight and have kept it off (finally) but on their point system I found myself eating small amounts of rubbish rather than larger quantities of good fats. It was when I combined the diet with my own research into the health benefits of many vegetables and veggie proteins that I found it really worked for me.
This book is great for really simple dinner ideas, there are lots of alternatives to family favourites like pasta bake, enchiladas and pies. I don’t follow the diet any more but I still use the points as a guidance. If I’m after a light dinner I will choose a low point recipe.
I have found some of the recipes need a bit more seasoning than suggester but they are all easily adapted to what you have in the cupboard and they are really easy to make. I’ve made most recipes and so far there have been no duds!
What are your favourite cook books? Do you stick to Vegetarian cookbooks? Do you own any of these books?