My Favourite Cookbooks
Over the years, I have built up quite a collection of cookbooks. Here are some of the favourites from my bookshelf. Click on the book covers to see them in Amazon.
Prashad by J Inder Singh Kalra
Prashad was one of the first cookbooks I bought, and is certainly my absolute favourite. If you want really original and authentic Indian recipes, you cant get better than this book. Although not for the absolute beginner cook, if you follow its recipes faithfully, it will reward you with tastes that hark back to the Nawabs of Lucknow or Hyderabad. Published in the mid eighties, it was one of the first cookbooks in India containing recipes by professional cooks, rather than housewives. So if you want authentic flavour from all over India, beyond the common garam masala or curry paste, this is the book you should have.
Low Fat Baking by Linda Fraser
I’ve owned Low Fat Baking for many years now, and so a lot of my regular baking has been done from recipes in this book. While I own an older edition, there are newer versions available now. Most of the recipes come out very well, without any yumminess discount caused by its low fat nature. The carrot cake and muffins are some of my favourites, having been enjoyed over and over again in our family. If you want to bake frequently, but also want to avoid the fat and calories of regular cakes and pastries, this is the book you need. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with the occasional creamy cake, is there?
Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book
Mary Berry is now very well known thanks to the Great British Bake Off, but her books have popular for many years, earning her the reputation as the queen of cakes. I have her Ultimate Cake Book, which contains over 200 recipes ideal for both novice and experienced bakers. Absolute delights include the walnut brownie, the blueberry muffin, the raspberry meringue roulade, the gooseberry and elderflower cheesecake, and many many more.
The Larousse Gastronomique is the classical reference guide for French cooking. More an encyclopaedia than a cookbook, it is well known for its authoritative and comprehensive collection of recipes. While some say that it is heavy enough to be a doorstop, if you are serious about european cooking, this book is a must have. From a ingredients to sauces to techniques, this book has everything you ever wanted to know about French cuisine.
Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo
If, on the other hand, you want an accessible introduction to French cuisine, nothing beats Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo. It proves that the techniques and flavours of France need not be out of the reach of the everyday home cook. Rachel celebrates the culinary landscape of France today and shows how simple these dishes are. This book will show how you can add a little French culinary touch to your everyday life at home, no matter where you are in the world, or how big your kitchen is! I’ve tried many of the recipes in the book, and can heartily recommend the results.
Dough by Richard Bertinet
Nothing is as satisfying in the kitchen as home made bread. It is amazing to experience flour, water, salt and yeast transform itself into soft, warm bread. I use Dough by Richard Bertinet for most of the bread I bake at home, and can attest that the instructions are easy to follow, and the results are delectable. The book includes a DVD to watch and learn Richard’s technique for working the dough. I’ve also tried some of the more advanced recipes in Crust, by the same author, and they are as good. Highly recommended if you are interested in home baking.