Eating is one of my favourite pastimes. I find cooking fun too, so mastering food preparation is a means to satisfying my inner foodie. We all have heritage dishes in our culinary repertoire that require no careful measurement or reference to index cards in a recipe rolodex. Whether that be a perfectly seared, yet rare prime rib roast, a rich and savoury shepherd’s pie or beautifully rolled Makizushi sushi. It is great to have a handful of these staple recipes to fall back on when you need dinner to turn out for company or you just don’t have the energy to think of something new after a long day at work. However, challenging yourself in the kitchen with something you haven’t tried before and surprising your taste buds, not to mention those for whom you prepare food for, is guaranteed to keep you inspired. And, you might just find another recipe to add to your arsenal of ready-to-make-perfectly-without-a-doubt-dishes. When I am looking for something new to try, I turn to recipe books. To follow are a few of the favourites in my kitchen cupboard. In fact, they are stacked out in the open on the island in my kitchen, as they are all such visually appealing, beautiful books that I cannot bare to stash them away on a shelf. These can all be found at the online bookseller The Book Depository (free international shipping and great pricing). If you click on each image, it will link you to the applicable page for price information or to purchase.
It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow. This book is as beautifully designed as it is functional. Gwyneth Paltrow, Academy-Award winning actress and bestselling cookbook author, returns with recipes for the foods she eats when she wants to lose weight, look good, and feel more energetic. After a particularly gruelling schedule and lapse of overindulgence, Gwyneth Paltrow was feeling fatigued and faint. A visit to her doctor revealed that she was anemic, vitamin D deficient, and that her stress levels were sky high. He prescribed an elimination diet to clear out her system and help her body heal. But this meant no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deep-water fish, no wheat, no meat, no soy, nothing processed at all! An avid foodie, Paltrow was concerned that so many restrictions would make mealtime boring, so, together with Julia Turshen, she compiled a collection of 185 delicious, easy recipes that followed her doctor’s guidelines. And it worked! After changing her diet, Paltrow healed totally, felt more energetic and looked great. Now, in IT’S ALL GOOD, she shares the go-to dishes that have become the baseline for the restorative diet she turns to whenever she feels she needs it. Recipes include: Huevos Rancheros, Hummus Tartine with Scallion-Mint Pesto, Salmon Burgers with Pickled Ginger, even Power Brownies, Banana “Ice Cream,” and more!
Fresh Happy Tasty: An Adventure in 100 Recipes by Jane Coxwell. Travel the world with 100 healthy, delicious, and simple recipes in this beautiful, evocative cookbookWs a personal chef to Diane von Furstenberg aboard the designer’s spectacular sailing yacht, Eos, Jane Coxwell has traveled to the far corners of the globe. Gathering inspiration from Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Central America, and her homeland of South Africa, Jane’s delectable recipes can truly be called world food. Full of light, lively flavors, the freshest ingredients, and a down-to-earth attitude, and illustrated with dozens of lushly intimate photographs from Jane’s travels, Fresh Happy Tasty is the perfect way to share fabulous food and good times. Jane’s low-key approach applies to both her cooking and everyday life. The most delicious dishes, she believes, are created with fresh food that looks good, tastes great, and is thoughtfully prepared. Never extravagant or ornamental, Jane’s recipes are meant to inspire the freedom to create and enjoy cooking. Fresh Happy Tasty offers 100 of Jane’s favorite light and luscious recipes, including: Bright Green Pea Salad with Lemon and MintHerb, Lemon, and Caper Stuffed TroutHoney Poached PineappleCape Malay Lamb CurryBrussels Sprouts and Oyster Mushrooms with Pine NutsIsraeli Couscous with Shrimp and ZucchiniLobster QuinoaMiddle Eastern Watermelon SaladEnjoy wonderful flavors from around the world with Fresh Happy Tasty!
Treme: Stories and Recipes from the Heart of New Orleans by Lolis Eric Elie. The companion cookbook to David Simon’s HBO series, Treme (pronounced ‘Truh-MAY’), which takes viewers into the rebuilding of New Orleans, post-Katrina. Treme refers to one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and the one recognised as the heart and soul of the city’s African-American culture. Cooking is one of the primary topics in the show and notable food writers and chefs contribute to and appear throughout the series, including: John Besh, Tom Colicchio, Alan Richman, David Chang, Eric Ripert, and Anthony Bourdain. At the center of the food storyline is cook Jeanette Desautel, who is the voice of the cookbook. The 100+ recipes all celebrate New Orleans cooking (and drinking) with its modern-day melange of influences, ranging from Creole to Vietnamese and down-home to white-tablecloth fare, including recipes from Chang, Ripert and Besh. The history of the city’s food traditions is told in about 25 essays that appear throughout the chapters. The book will be illustrated with sense-of-place scenery from the show, along with 24-30 styled food shots. A foreword by Anthony Boudain provides perfect context for the recipes, history and storytelling that will make this a heritage collection.
Hamburger Gourmet by David Japy. In celebration of the burger, this delicious collection of recipes takes the humble food to towering new heights. Reflecting the recent trend for burgers of every stripe and description, this colourful book takes you from the beautiful simplicity of a classic beef burger to the burgers made of everything from chicken to quinoa. With separate instructions on buns, sauces and accompaniments, these 58 recipes will give even the biggest burger-lover new ideas for surprising twists on an old favourite. Fully illustrated with beautiful, full-colour photographs throughout by renowned food photographer David Japy. Key Selling Points: 58 recipes covering; Burger fillings, Buns, Sauces, compotes and Fries Combination suggestions (how to build a better burger!) From beef, tomato and feta cheese to chicken, paprika and avocado to quinoa, there is a burger for everyone.
Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes That Respect the Whole Hog by Matthew McCarry. “Beyond Bacon” pays homage to the humble hog by teaching you how to make more than a hundred recipes featuring cuts from the entire animal. While bacon might be the most popular part of the pig for those following the paleo diet, there is a plethora of other delicious and nutrient dense cuts to enjoy. Pastured pork is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), the “good fats” our doctors want us to eat. “Beyond Bacon” breaks the myths behind this often eschewed meat and shows you how create delectable dishes that are grain-, legume-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free. Beyond Bacon allows you to improve your health and the environment by focusing on sustainable swine. Don’t let the dried out pork of your youth scare you away. All the recipes in “Beyond Bacon” are elegant yet approachable, making it the ultimate cookbook for the foodie in you. You]ll find: Grain-free Pie Crust, made with lard, Perfect Pork Chops, better than most restaurant steaks, Swedish Meatballs with liver gravy, Pho Soup with chitterling “noodles,” instructions on how to properly BBQ and make your own sauces, and a guide to rendering your own CLA-rich lard and how to cook with it. “Beyond Bacon” delivers mouth-watering photos for each delicious recipe. With a rustic aesthetic and appreciation for tradition, “Beyond Bacon” recreates the rich and wonderful food perfected generations ago in a healthful way.