Cookbooks I’m loving this Autumn

I love cookbooks! I have so many now and I definitely don’t cook from them as much as I should, but I just can’t resist them. For me its only partly about the recipes – it’s just as much about the ethos of the author as well as the styling and photography.

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Food plays such a fundamental role in how we feel and also in how we interact with our family, friends and the wider community. I wanted to share with you the cookbooks that I am absolutely loving right now and that I feel bring something more than just recipes into our homes and kitchens.

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The three books here all have their own unique angle on food, but they do share some things in common. Pretty much all of the recipes have an accompanying photograph showing the end result. I don’t know about you but I’m way more likely to cook a dish if I can visualise the outcome. The other commonality is obvious – they’re all full of great dishes!

Gather – Gill Meller

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I love how even just the title “Gather” carries with it so much meaning and immediately stimulates your imagination. For me, the idea to frame the recipes around the landscapes their key ingredients come from – farm, seashore, garden, orchard, woodland, moor, harbour – is inspired. What a beautiful way to get our minds wandering to a crisp British seaside or imagining pheasants hopping around in a field before you’ve even started cooking! Sure, everyone would love to actually be out in the countryside picking damsons and greengages, but life looks very different for most of us. Gill Meller is allowing us to engage mentally and emotionally with our countryside and our environment whenever we desire which I think is just a bit magical! And then there are the photos! Andrew Montgomery has used beautifully soft, subdued lighting which gives the book an ethereal coziness.

On a more practical note, I love that each vegetarian/vegan etc. recipe is clearly labelled at the bottom of the page so you can easily flick through the pages and find appropriate recipes without have to stop and read the ingredients list or use the index which frankly just isn’t as fun!

On my to-cook list from this book:

  • Honey-roast seeds with chilli, thyme and rosemary p41
  • Damsons with sage, Camembert and cacao p137
  • Barbecued partridge in yoghurt, fenugreek and black pepper p227
  • Venison stew with nettle dumplings p247
  • Scallops cooked in fire embers with seaweed butter p282

Simple – Diana Henry

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Since Diana Henry’s Cooking Simple came out almost ten years ago, we have begun to experiment more with flavours in our day to day cooking . Ingredients like pomegranate molasses and miso have started to creep into mainstream supermarkets making them far more accessible than they ever were. This evolution of our cooking is reflected in Simple and the recipes are perfect for home cooks wanting an easy midweek meal that isn’t boring.

Flicking through this book I have noted so many recipes that I can’t wait to try and it think that’s partly to do with the fact that I look at the recipes and think “that looks like something I could make” and they use ingredients that most of us have access to. It was a real struggle to come up with the list below of just a few highlights! Can I also just say how much I love the textured paper used on the cover?

On my to-cook list from this book:

  • Carrot houmous, roast tomatoes and harissa yoghurt p54
  • Mumbai toastie p57
  • Pappardelle with cavolo nero, chilli and hazelnuts p94
  • Ginger-miso pumpkin and mushrooms, black sesame p241
  • Turkish mocha pots p328

Stirring Slowly – Georgina Hayden

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Georgina Hayden starts the book with her very personal story of how the process of cooking, as well as the food itself, can be restorative and healing. She encourages us to allow ourselves time to enjoy the experience rather than staying in a rut and cooking something that we always cook before moving quickly on to the next task.

If you only saw the title, a first impression might perhaps be that Stirring Slowly is a whole book of soups, stews, and slow cooks that are all going to take hours – Not so! This book has everything from those long thoughtful cooks that you savour and linger over, but also quick cooks and make ahead recipes because you can enjoy the process even if it doesn’t take as long. It’s just all about finding pleasure in making gorgeous food. With this book you’re covered for any meal of the day and I particularly love the breakfast section. It inspires me to set myself up for the hustle and bustle of the day with a delicious breakfast, a warm tea or coffee with my husband.

On my to-cook list from this book:

  • Quick flapjack cherry granola p23
  • Roast harissa butter chicken and cracked wheat p142
  • Charred brassicas with tahini yoghurt and sumac p176
  • Nectarine, chamomile and honey granita p 222

Which cookbooks are you loving at the moment?

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