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What are your top five cook books?

(135 Posts)
Cousinit Thu 01-Feb-18 06:39:42

I have been collecting cookery books for years and have around 250. I love them but I've run out of space so am in the process of getting rid of the ones I rarely use. There are some that I constantly use and never tire of, although coming up with a top 5 is difficult, I think the following would be on my list: How to Eat by Nigella, Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros, Every Grain of Rice by Fuschia Dunlop, Food from Plenty by Diana Henry and River Cottage Every Day. I also love Nigel Slater but it would be too difficult to choose just one of his books! Would love to have some recommendations for other indispensable books for when I've got some space on my shelves again grin

mrsnec Thu 01-Feb-18 07:01:27

Vefa's Kitchen is one of my favourites. Greek and Cypriot home cooking. I also love Ottolenghi's Jerusalem but haven't cooked anything from it yet, I just like looking at it!

Jamie Oliver's America is also great. Lots of family favourites in there and I use Jamie's dinners a lot as a reference for basics when I can't remember quantities.

Nigella's kitchen has a few things I've made so many times I know the recipe by heart.

Cousinit Thu 01-Feb-18 07:12:59

Thanks for the suggestions. Just looked up Vefa's looks great! I borrowed Jerusalem from the library a while back and it was a lovely book but I don't think I cooked much from it.

mrsnec Thu 01-Feb-18 07:41:57

Yes it's great. Everything I cooked from there turns out well. Basic greek recipes I've done before are in there but there are steps and ingredients that are different and make things taste more authentic. Setting a moussaka with eggs for example and putting brandy in baklava syrup. Following in case anyone else gives me some more ideas too.

Aethelthryth Thu 01-Feb-18 07:53:23

Jane Grigson- English food
Vogue French Cookery by Francine (£1 from remainder bookshop in 1985)
Leith's Cookery Bible- core recipes for everything
Madhur Jaffrey- A Taste of India (and the others)
Claudia Roden- Arabesque and The Food of Italy

I don't usually like chefs' books; but the Marcus Wareing ones I had for Christmas show signs of joining this list.

Jamie Oliver- pages and pages of irritatingly chummy statements of the completely obvious

Agree that Vefa's Kitchen is great: the French, Italian and Spanish equivalents are also great. The Nordic One (fermented puffin anyone?) is more of an entertaining read than anything.

I also find that while the Ottolenghi books look enticing I can never actually find much in them to make

Diana' Henry's book about chicken is v good

Cousinit Thu 01-Feb-18 08:03:36

Not a fan of Jamie Oliver either but I somehow own three of his books. I have hardly used them. I have a few of the books you've suggested but am intrigued by the Vogue French Cookery one. And thanks for suggesting the Diana Henry chicken book. That's another one I borrowed from the library but unlike Jerusalem I cooked lots from it. I need to buy a copy of that one!

everythingstaken123 Thu 01-Feb-18 08:04:18

I'm so glad it's not just me. I have about 200 cookbooks and things are getting a bit crowded in our kitchen! The problem I have is that I have two small children and so am quite limited by the time I have to cook. So i spend a lot of time looking at my cookbooks and not much time cooking anything other than basics. There are definitely cookbooks that I use more than others though so will have a look and post later.

Northumberlandlass Thu 01-Feb-18 08:07:26

I love my Reader's Digest Cookery Year!

Cousinit Thu 01-Feb-18 08:25:34

Same here everythingstaken. Since having kids my repertoire has become pretty dull and I have limited time to spend in the kitchen. My eldest (now 10) is becoming more adventurous though so there's hopefully light at the end of the tunnel. Keep the suggestions coming. Will check in later!

DeepInFrance Thu 01-Feb-18 08:40:32

Probably a couple of hundred on various bookshelves but these are some of the ones I keep in the kitchen because they get used so much.

1. Jerusalem by Ottolenghi--his recipes always work, and are not nearly as much faff to make as they look.
2. Quick and Easy Indian Cooking by Madhur Jaffrey
3. New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant (excellent global vegetarian) an old book of mine and worn to shreds. Read the reviews on Amazon.

user1497863568 Thu 01-Feb-18 08:55:50

Charmaine Solomon: The Curry Cookbook
Chandra Padmanabhan: Dakshin (South Indian veg food but use a lot because DH is South Indian)
Deborah Madison: Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Family Circle: Cooking a Commonsense Guide

I'd love to do more French cooking beyond chicken chasseur but I always seem to have trouble getting one ingredient or the other (eg rendered duck fat).

everythingstaken123 Thu 01-Feb-18 09:33:24

Oh wow, user 1497. I don't have any of those. This thread could be dangerous....!

I guess my favs would be:
Save with Jamie because i often have leftover meats from roasts etc to use up and that's pretty much what the book is about.
Stewed! by Alan Rosenthal - everything has been delicious and good enough to serve guests and get a wow.
The Roasting Tin - my new favourite for low hassle, delicious one pot wonders. The sausage one has already become a bit of a staple.
Leon Happy Salads - again it's a new one I'm enjoying. The salads all appeal to me and so far have been good.
Easy Meals by Rachel Allen has some really nice recipes in that I make quite a bit.

Cousinit - I have all the books you mention other than the Diana Henry one although I do have her Bird in the Hand (which I have never made anything out of). What are your fav recipes in those books? Sorry if that's an annoying question but i haven't made too much from any of them. My other problem is that I'm usually on a diet of some sort so i get a new recipe book and then can't eat anything out of them. It's like a sort of torture! Haha. I'm now following the moderation diet so ready to start cooking again....

FluffyWuffy100 Thu 01-Feb-18 10:12:11

Top 5 cookbooks? That is HARD!

1. HFW Veg Everyday. Love this book so much, have cooked most things in here multiple times.

2. Jamies 30 min meals. Lots of tasty but pretty easy things to cook in here that are suitable for mainstream tastes so a safe bet whne having friends around. Didn't like 15 mins nearly as much.

3. One of Jamies first books but can't remember which - got me into cooking as a teenager

4. Persiana - love this style of lots of the super fresh salads and the tagines. Not keen on the more complicated rice dishes.

5. BBC Good Food website - probably us this more than anything. The comments and tips/ from users are invaluable.

I really like Fresh India but I haven't made much out of it.

I really like Nigel Slaters 30 mins book because it was invaluable when I was developing my cooking in helping me move away from set recipes into e.g. choosing a 'thing' and then working out what to do with it and what goes with it.

My cooking has been suffering recently. I used to live 5 mins walk from the most amazing shop - sold every kind of fruit and veg you could possibly think of, as well as olives and other jars of lovely stuff - plus all kinds of grains, spices, and an ok selection of yogurt and tofu and normal cheeses.

So on a Saturday or Sunday I woudl sit with my recipe books in the morning and choose something lovely then toddle off round the corner safe in the knowledge that I oculd buy all ingredients.

Now i'm a 5 min walk from a 'normal' shop where you can get basic veg and supplies or 10 min drive to a big Asda but that isn't great for the more unusual vegetables and ingredients.

Going to the veg shop in itself was an exciting and fun part of the process and I always came away with some kind of strange fruit to try. Going to Asda is soul destroying and grim.

FluffyWuffy100 Thu 01-Feb-18 10:16:52

@everythingstaken123 I saw the roasting in Oliver Bonas the other week and it looked good. One tin cooking is my kind of cooking! I might have to get it on your recommendation now!

FluffyWuffy100 Thu 01-Feb-18 10:19:25

Oh and I love my Ottolenghi books but mainly to look at the pretty pictures because i can't be fucked to make about 80% of his stuff. I am a regular at Ottolenghi Spitalfields tho ;-)

everythingstaken123 Thu 01-Feb-18 11:57:24

@fluffywuffy100 the thing I like about The Roasting Tin is that it gives you a recipe that is good but gives you the confidence to completely muck around with it. I made the sausage with sweet potato and onion the first week - as the recipe said - and then did it with normal potatoes and peppers the next week and then aubergine and squash the following week. There is a great table at the start of each chapter that lists cooking times for all the different things - like grains for example, if that's what the chapter is on - so that you can freely interchange everything. I like the combination ideas that I wouldn't have thought of and that I don't have to worry if I don't have that item in my fridge. I would recommend it although I'm just starting my journey of working through it.

Aethelthryth Thu 01-Feb-18 13:21:12

All that is happening here is that people are suggesting books which I will now have to buy, even though I have absolutely no more space!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Thu 01-Feb-18 13:28:10

Ooooh good thread!

Ottolenghi - both Ottolenghi and Jerusalem are the books I turn to first when I'm entertaining.
Jamie's 30 min meals - I just find this is a practical book for dipping into and going 'oh yeah, chicken satay would be good' and then I usually have most of the ingredients to hand
Diana Henry's Bird in the Hand - a friend just got me this book and I love, love, love it
Fay Ripley - my DS is incredibly fussy and I use her books with him more than any other. It's not teaching me 'new' things or stretching my skills, but there's just something about the recipes that make them DS-friendly while still being acceptable for me to eat.
Nigella How to eat though I don't cook much from it, I tend to read it like a novel every couple of years.

Laska5772 Thu 01-Feb-18 13:34:27

Top fives most used

Moro has lots of cooking stains on it
HFW meat book
Madhur Jaffrey Curry easy (in fact all of her books)
Rick Steins very original fish book Taste of the sea (though his Far Eastern Odyssey is almost s much used)
Delia Smiths complete cookery course (still ! and my originals from 1974!)

But two new to me and fast making it onto my Classics
list are;
Felicity Cloake A-Z of eating
and Giorgio Locatelli Made at home

Laska5772 Thu 01-Feb-18 13:36:46

I really recommend the Felicity Cloake one.. its incredibly varied and goes by ingredient

and her 'Perfect' series in the Guardian (all on line)

Taffeta Thu 01-Feb-18 16:48:18

Food for Friends & Family - Sarah Raven
Kitchen Diaries - Nigel Slater
Save with Jamie

Joining them will he Made in India - Meera Sodhs

Cousinit Thu 01-Feb-18 18:47:24

Some good suggestions here. I like the sound of The Roasting Tin. I think that would suit how I cook nowadays. Yes to BBC Good Food website as well. I probably use that once a week at least. I also have Good Food magazines going back to the late 1990s which I like to browse through sometimes blush Not an annoying question Everythingstaken, I will have a think and get back to you with my suggestions.

Cousinit Thu 01-Feb-18 19:19:29

Does anyone have any of Rachel Roddy's books? I've been reading her columns in the Guardian and love her writing.

littlebillie Thu 01-Feb-18 19:30:01

I've got Jerusalem by Ottolenghi I would recommend Braised Eggs and all the salads they are really easy and beyond wonderful recipes

millymae Thu 01-Feb-18 19:58:30

Hard to choose really. Like a lot of people I've got too many cookery books, some of which I've only ever flicked through once.
I definitely couldn't get rid of Delia's Complete Cookery Course - it's the one I always go to if I want to know something, but not always for a complete recipe. My copy is in a disgusting state and I often think I'd be better treating myself to a new copy of this than buying yet another book that just sits on the shelf for a while then ends up in the garage.
I use Jamie's 30 Minute Meals quite a lot so that would be a keeper along with his recipe for salmon wrapped in prosciutto and served with lentils which was in one of his older books
HFW's Three Good Things is another that I'd keep mainly for its simplicity along with Peyton And Byrne's British Baking which like Delia's book is not in the best of condition because its been so well used. The brownie recipe is to die for.
As to my 5th choice I'm not entirely sure. I've ditched completely a lot of the books from so called 'celebrity chefs' because their recipes are just too complicated for me to replicate in my basic kitchen, but Marcus Waring's How to Cook the Perfect ...........hasn't ever let me down.
Because it was cheap in the supermarket I recently bought Tom Kerridge's Lose Weight For Good and although it may not pass the test of time each of the recipes I've cooked so far has turned out well and tasted good.

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