The whole world has gone to hell in a hand basket this year but at least we can eat our way out of our misery. To aid in that quest I bring you my list of the best cook books of 2016. Of course you don’t need a cook book to eat well. You don’t even need a cook book to get inspiration for the kitchen – we have the internet for that now.
But it’s hard to beat the tactile pleasure of flipping through a beautiful cook book. What’s even better is when that books pages become stained with flecks of sauce or dressing, the corners dog eared and the margins filled with the occasional note. A cook book which is actually used rather than just existing as book shelf/bed side table decoration is truly a wonderful thing. Here’s what’s been on high rotation in my kitchen this year.
- Neighbourhood by Hetty McKinnon
If you are a latecomer to the wonderful Hetty McKinnon (like me) you should start with her original cook book Community. Hetty ran Arthur Street Kitchen in Sydney where she gained a cult following for her salads. The initial print run of Community was so popular that it sold out although it’s back in store now and has been followed up with Neighbourhood after Hetty’s move to New York. You can expect beautifully balanced salads which really showcase vegetables. Perfect for this time of year when it’s BBQ season and you often have to “bring a plate”.
2. Italian Street Food by Paola Bacchia
Melbourne food blogger Paola Bacchia (her beautiful blog is called Italy on My Mind) released her first cook book this year, Italian Street Food. The book is filled with recipes for pastries, porchetta and pizzette which Paola has developed herself after lots of local research. It also contains a lot of Paola’s own photographs so if you are a fan of her blog there is lots to love about the book. Read my full review and get Paola’s recipe for hazelnut, chocolate and pistachio gelati here.
3. The Natural Cook by Matt Stone
Oakridge chef Matt Stone’s cook book is a great choice for cooks with a conscience. In his restaurants and in this cook book Matt advocates zero waste cooking and ethical eating. Matt’s philosophies are reflected in lots of recipes for brining and preserving and even instructions for milling your own flour. This makes some of the recipes in the book pretty labour intensive if you follow them to the letter but there is also some easy inspiration particularly in Matt’s championing of native ingredients. Read my full review and my take on Matt’s lemon myrtle cake here.
4. Lamingtons and Lemon Tarts by Darren Purchese
I was hooked in by the title here let alone the delicious looking desserts on the cover. What could be better than lamingtons AND lemon tarts? Melbourne’s dessert wizard Darren Purchese of the fabulous Burch & Purchese has a new cook book which dishes his secrets for pastry perfection. One for the serious bakers or those just serious about food porn.
Some of these books were gifted (by friends or publishers!) and others I purchased. Yes I’m a sucker for a good cook book.