I often get asked what kind of cook books I like so today I've decided to pick a sample from our favorites to share with you. We have quite an impressive collection of books that we've acquired over many years and now span over multiple bookshelves over 2 rooms in our house- and that was after halving our collection in a garage sale at the end of last year. Some books stand up to the test of time better than others and we're lucky enough to have the right book for just about anything at our finger tips but for most it's more practical to have a few great books that you can actually use!
From every day cooking, cooking with kids, back to basics or a real challenge here's this weeks top 5- in no specific order...
1. DONNA HAY - Just about any of her books really.. People always want my cheffy opinion on the likes of Donna and Jamie Oliver, to be perfectly honest I think they're great! Some in the Chef world don't rate these guys highly but they've got millions excited about food and cooking and Donna in particular is always bringing out new books with beautiful, modern presentation that's achievable at home.
This book doesn't get a whole lot of use out of me but it is fantastic for at home basics for entertaining and cooking with the kids. Its visually stimulating and has you covered from Roasts, Rice, Pasta, Soups & Salads. Why did I choose this as my first 'fav book'? because its mate 'Modern Classics #2' is down at work, where it gets put to much better use. I love the second book which is filled with all the classics, all the SWEET classics! Having worked in fine dining through the majority of my training I'd never made a humble Caramel Slice or Ginger Bread man, this book has all the classics.
I'm not particularly a sweet tooth but I now have one beautiful niece and two handsome nephews and I love making treats at Christmas time for the whole family. I cant wait until they're old enough to help decorate with me. These books are great for the at home cook of any ability.
2. STEPHANIE ALEXANDER: THE COOK'S COMPANION
LOVE THIS BOOK! This book has been getting a work out in our house for years, as does it's sequel THE KITCHEN GARDEN COMPANION. This massive book is full of helpful hints, modifications and combinations, Wayne and I often find ourselves asking "what does Steph say" when we can't come to agreement or are looking for a new food pair. With no pictures and factual recipes it's aimed at an intermediate cook although it is very informative so it's right up there on my all time fav list.
As is 3.THE GOURMET FARMER
This wonderful book is co written by MATTHEW EVANS, NICK HADDOW & ROSS O'MEARA and you couldn't ask for better authors.. 2 Farmers and one Cheese maker. These down to earth dude's are taking recipes back to their bare bones beginning with amazing produce they make it all from scratch. Butter, cheese, amazing fish, poultry and meat recipes and all the condiments to make for a sensational meal from yester-year
While rugged, manly and rustic the images maintain a farmhouse beauty and get you salivating. If you're hoping to make your own Sausages, Pickles and preserves and thinking about baking some fresh Cheese or wanting tips on trussing meat this book is for you! I hope you love it as much as we do.
4. TARTINE BREAD by CHAD ROBERTSON
I love this book, this book is full of the most beautiful artisan breads and bready recipes. It is thorough and a lot of the recipes require time and the patience of a saint. If you're looking for a quick or easy bread recipe this is not the book for you, if you're attempting to master the art of the humble sour dough look no further. This book has guided us to the most flavorful, crisp breads imaginable. There is also Croissants from scratch, Waffles and plenty of ideas for day old bread which comes with all the ideas you need for Burgers, Sangas, Bakes,Pudding and little sweet treats.
Lastly, my FAVOURITE and not for the faint hearted, WILLIAM CURLEY: COUTURE CHOCOLATE
Be ready to have your mind blown with stunning creations- all Chocolate! Scotsman William who is classically trained draws inspiration from his Japanese wife spinning up tasty twists in this advanced chocolate book. There is a degree of skill, ingredients and equipment required to pull off a lot of the recipes but its well worth a crack if you're up for a challenge! I've made a few and can confirm the instruction is thorough and they are well worth the effort. The recipes not only taste absolutely amazing they do work- albeit not quite to the books incredible presentation. My advice, give this a go, the reward is high and the satisfaction level through the roof! Surprise yourself and delight your friends with genuine, Master Chef quality desserts at home.