Friday, 28 December 2012

The best 10 cookbooks of 2012

The year is almost over, the last cookbook of the year was welcomed to the household on Christmas Day - so it's time to introduce you to my TOP TEN books of 2012 (4 to 10 in alphabetical order):

1 "Orient Express" by Silvena Rowe

I was simply blown away by the Eastern Mediterranean recipes of this half-Turkish chef (and I was already a huge fan of her previous book "Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume"): light, fresh, completely "new" Ottoman-inspired food which is utterly divine - and easy to cook.

My favourites: Spiced quail and foie gras filo parcels, p. 4 (I used chicken); Caesar-style chicken salad, p. 76 (we had it AGAIN last night with leftover turkey); Rosewater-infused lamb shoulder with saffron and cardamon, p. 165

2 "A Girl And Her Pig" by April Bloomfield

This is SO MY kind of book: down-to-earth Brummie and passionate cook April has taken New York by storm with her three restaurants and it's easy to see why: delicious yet straighforward recipes with, above all, a huge love of nose-to-tail eating (she IS best friends with Fergus Henderson) which I simply adore - and each accompanied by helpful tips and wonderful tales.

My favourites: Mussels stuffed with mortadella, p. 103; Fried pig's ear salad, p. 86; Slow-cooked lamb's head, p. 156 (but even I would remove the eyes and brain before it goes in the oven!)

3 "Curry Nation" by Madhur Jaffrey

I was quite disappointed with Madhur Jaffreys's last book "Curry Easy" (I thought she had pared down her recipes far too much), but this is a most fantastic book: a compilation of authentic recipes from Indian chefs/restaurants - and home cooks! - from all over the UK. This is vibrant, modern and uncomplicated Indian food - an absolute delight.

My favourites: Lamb with potatoes, p. 41; Whole chicken with carom seeds, p. 80

4 "Cake Days" by The Hummingbird Bakery
I LOVE their first book ("The Hummingbird Bakery") and this is surely the BEST follow-up: the most gorgeous, innovative cake recipes you could ever think of... yummy!!!

5 "Everyday" by Peter Gordon
What can I say? You know he's one of my favourite cooks and this book - which is crammed full of mouthwatering recipes - is another winner in my kitchen!

6 "15 minute meals" by Jamie Oliver
I was quite sceptical about this - and I would NEVER attempt to cook these recipes in 15 minutes, but they are all really, really delectable - and (obviously) quick and easy.

7 "How to bake" by Paul Hollywood
Yes yes I "like" him (a lot...), but this book is simply great for the home baker (both novice and experienced) - I especially love his savoury breads...

8 "Recipes from my mother for my daughter" by Lisa Faulkner
A surprise hit by the former "Holby City" actress and winner of "Masterchef 2010": simply lovely, warm yet accomplished home cooking.

9 "Spice it up!" by Levi Roots
I'm a huge fan of Levi (his first book "Carribean Food Made Easy" is one of my all-time favourites) and his latest is - again - full of fresh "sunshine food" recipes that bring a smile to my face every time.

10 "Wahaca - Mexican food at home" by Thomasina Miers
I love, love, LOVE THIS BOOK - and I intend to cook each and every recipe therein!

So: which were your favourite cookbooks of 2012? I'd love to hear from you!

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