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Favourite Cookery Books

Updated on May 13, 2012

Cookery Books I Cannot Be Without

I can't think of anything nicer than sitting on the couch in front of the fire with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and reading through cookery books, to me it's one of my ultimate relaxation 'non-activities'.

I used to buy food magazines each month, sometimes 2, sometimes 3 and then something dawned on me the magazines were costing me around £4 each, and if I didn't buy the magazines I could actually buy a really good cookbook that wouldn't end up in the recycling bag (minus some of it's pages of course), and I would much rather have a good old hefty cookbook to keep me company that would last for years and so I stopped buying magazines, although I occasionally relapse at Christmas to see all the new trends in Christmas recipes.

Oh how I love Christmas - but that's an entirely different hub yet to come.

So now to my love of cookery books, there are so many cookery books out there that the choice is overwhelming and I have been sorely disappointed on at least one occasion when I took my treasured new book home so I thought that I would pass on my list of my favourite, cannot do without cookery books and I would love to hear what you think and I would also love, love, love some recommendations for my growing library so please let me know about your favourites.


My First Ever Cookery Book

I have to say I've never given away a cookery book, even very out of date old ones that I no longer use, and rubbish ones are just put on a top shelf and stay there, I'd hate to pass on a rubbish cookery book to anyone.

This book is an excellent starter for children it is on this list because it is the book that first sparked my interest in cooking all those many, many years ago - I won this at primary school for 'General Excellence' (ah the good old days), the book is now very yellow but still in pride of place, it's called "My Fun-to-Cook Book" by Ursula Sedgwick.

The illustrations are quaint and adorable and the child is taught to cook by a Dog called Alex and a Cat called Sebastian. One page in particular is covered in sticky marks and fingerprints and that is the recipe for Raspberry Buns which were my speciality as a child, although since at the time I didn't like Raspberry Jam they became my Strawberry Buns and were wonderfully sweet and sticky little buns.

I still love to look at this book and although some of the recipes are rather outdated like the Toasted Sugarbread and Corned Beef Burgers, it is still a delightful book to give to a child.

(Note: This book has been renamed My Learn To Cook Book and may have different recipes and the dog and cat have been replaced with much slimmer models - a sign of the times obviously).


Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater

This is the cookery book that is always open, as it is right now sitting by my keyboard where it has a semi-permanent house when it's not open in my hands.

It really does have 350 really good recipes that take 30 minutes from start to finish and some of them a lot less, one of my aim's in life is to cook every single thing in this book, there are lots of gorgeous recipes in here, one of which is the Chicken with Spices and Cream - which is basically a fabulous Chicken Curry and one of my family's all-time favourites. Note: Every time I make this dish I double the quantity of sauce and freeze it, when we need it I boil it in the bag straight from the freezer so that my husband has a quick ready-made sauce for pouring onto prawns and rice. If you don't have this book you need it!


Baking Bible by Mary Berry

Basically you have to own this! If you want to learn to bake then this is the book for you, full of tips and great ideas, information on what utensils and pans to buy and why and full of wonderful, wonderful recipes, we especially love her Melting Moments cookies and in fact I make the dough, wrap it in clingfilm like a Christmas Cracker with how to bake instructions and give it to friends for Christmas. Oh and her flapjacks are to die for.


Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson

No list of favourite cookery books would be complete without Nigella's Domestic Goddess, fabulous page and after page after page of yummy baking ideas. Although I'm sorry to say that I don't like her biscuit recipes, but that may be because Mary Berry's are so good (see the book above) but in such a very thick book with so many fabulous recipes I can forgive her for one very small failure.


Linda's Kitchen by Linda McCartney

This is a vegetarian book and I have a few but this really is one of my favourites, I've had it for over 10 years and I still love it - it has a sunny bright approach to vegetarian food that the whole family will love. A few of my favourites have to be the Chinese Stir Fried Rice, Cheese Enchiladas and the Tuscan Bean & Cabbage Soup, but it really is hard to tell how many great recipes are in this book. Even carnivores will love it!

Fired Up by Ross Dobson

I am always on the look out for great ideas for BBQs, not that in England we get a lot of time to enjoy them, BUT a lot of these recipes can also be cooked in the kitchen too. This is a fabulous book and it makes my mouth water just reading through it. There are 100 no-nonsense recipes accompanied by great photography and a relaxed approach in writing - my son bought this as a Father's Day present - but my husband's not getting his hands on it - it's mine - and it could be yours, a very affordable price for a great recipe book.

Fresh Food Fast by BBC Good Food Magazine

This is a great book but not $65 worth of great, I bought this book at £12 (RRP £16.99) a couple of years ago, if you can get it at a good price it's worth having, full of lots of ideas, most of the recipes taking under an hour to cook, one of my family's favourite recipes is the Teriyaki Chicken & Vegetable Bake which takes 5-10 minutes to prepare and then you just bung it in the oven, how easy is that?

GOOD FOOD 101 BOOKS

This isn't actually one book, this is a whole series produced by the BBC Good Food Magazine, each book has yep you guessed 101 recipes, they are tiny little books 5½" x 6" and ½" thick. I have a few of these little wonders:

101 Fish & Seafood Recipes

101 Speedy Suppers

101 Cupcakes & Small Bakes

and one which I can't find which was to do with Curries and Spicy Food and I may need to re-buy it shortly, but they're so cheap and so good I don't mind - they're worth every penny. Ah ha and now I've put in a link for you to find them on Amazon I can see that the one I've lost is 101 Best Ever Curries - yum!

I can't tell you how good the Cupcakes & Small Bakes one is, I don't think there's any cakes in there that I wouldn't love, there are some wonderful ideas for children's party cupcakes in it and also some fab bakes that will be perfect for children's lunchboxes. If I had to, really had to choose 2 from the series I would have the Cupcake and the Curry editions.



Happy Days with the Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver

You can't really go wrong with Jamie Oliver's recipes books I haven't found a bad one yet, great photographs, great recipes and his usual cheeky charm - bliss!


New Scottish Cookery by Nick Nairn

This is a beautifully illustrated book with re-tweaked traditional recipes and new recipes using traditional Scottish fare. I highly recommend the Seared Monkfish with Mussels, Fettuccine, Curry and Coriander it's fabulous, and for those with a sweet tooth there's always Scottish Tablet.


BAKED - New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

And last but certainly not least is this marvellous book that my daughter bought me for my birthday. Baked is the name of a bakery in New York owned by the authors, Matt and Renato, and although this is a new book to me I have to say that the Brownie recipe in here is to die for, in fact by the look of the photographs and listening to other people's feedback I think every recipe will be of the same standard. Fabulous book, fabulous baked goodies. Can't wait till I get your next book guys! The only thing to watch out for in this book is that the recipes are for ENORMOUS cakes - they're definitely the catering or party size so I tend to half all the cake recipes.

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