I know cookbooks are on the shopping list for lots of people come Christmas time. Big publishers like to bring out a blockbuster cookbook just before Christmas (hello Jamie and Nigella) because they know so many will be bought either as presents for others or for some Christmas and holiday catering inspo.
As a total cookbook addict myself I’ve been stocking up all year giving me time to actually road test lots of the books. So here’s the low down on my pick of 2015’s offerings. These are the cookbooks which are (and are not) worth your hard earned cash.
Sharing Puglia, Luca Lorusso and Vivienne Polak
Take me back to Puglia! That was my first thought when I discovered this cookbook which includes beautiful photographs of the region which makes up the heel of Italy as well as recipes inspired by the cuisine there. Sharing Puglia was written by two Melbourne women Luca Lorusso and Vivienne Polak and the recipes are rustic and simple. There’s bread salad and lemon olive oil cake. If you’ve ever been to Puglia it will transport you there instantly and if you haven’t beware of some serious travel lust.
Nikkei Cuisine, Luiz Hara
I was lucky enough to become friends with the super talented Luiz Hara when I was living in London. Luiz writes the excellent London Foodie blog and after a few years combining his blog with his job as an investment banker he quit his job and went and studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. Now Luiz writes about food full time and runs an acclaimed supper club (do go if you are in London). Nikkei Cuisine draws on Luiz’s Brazilian/Japanese heritage. Nikkei cuisine was certainly not something I heard of before meeting Luiz and this cookbook is a great way of uncovering this fresh and vibrant way of cooking and eating.
I Quit Sugar Simplicious, Sarah Wilson
Don’t worry I haven’t gone and quit sugar or anything crazy like that. Sarah Wilson’s latest cookbook is quite a useful one even if you’re not interested in her diet. The main emphasis of the book is cutting back on food waste (something I’m always trying to do) and she includes lots of useful tips about ways to use your freezer and slow cooker to live in a more sustainable way. The book is really beautifully produced and feels almost like a hard copy version of Instagram complete with Sarah’s own scribbles and notes. Ignore the cringeworthy title and there’s a lot in here to like.
The Happy Cookbook, Lola Berry
I was intrigued to check out Lola Berry’s cook book, The Happy Cookbook, after interviewing her this year. Berry is a nutritionist so the book focuses on healthy eating and the recipes are fresh and fairly simple. Unfortunately I tested out a few of the recipes, like the zucchini pasta with chicken and pesto, and found them bland and lacking in flavour. They may have been good for me but I wasn’t really inspired to try them again.
Hog, Richard Turner
A whole book devoted to cooking with pigs – complete with a slightly furry cover? Sign me up. Hog is all about pork and the book has a nose to tail focus including lots of offal. Not one for vegetarians but if you are a lover of pig this is for you. It’s written by Richard Turner, the man behind London’s cult Pitt Cue Co. Recipes include everything from how to cook a whole suckling pig (sure to be a party stopper) to bacon marmalade.
Magic Soup, Nicole Pisani and Kate Adam
I love a bowl of soup as much as the next person but I do feel a whole book devoted to soup is perhaps pushing it a bit. There’s a bit of a health bent to this book with a whole chapter focused on “cleansing soups” but there’s also more elaborate dishes like an Italian Wedding Soup. But in the true test of a cook book I’ve had this for most of the year and have only cooked from it once which isn’t a great ad for a cookbook. Leave this one for the soup Nazis.
Some of these books were gifted to me and the remainder I bought myself.