If you read yesterdays post you would have seen my coffee table covered in books. Today I decided a shelf reshuffle was in order so I could fit some new books in. I will screenshot and zoom in on peoples bookshelves when they share photos so I thought there might be some of you out there curious to see some of what’s on my shelves and perhaps I could chat about what books I use, and love, the most.
My book shelves are kept in semi order. I have a section for baking, for bread, for all my AWW books and of course Jamie Oliver gets his own shelf. I like to group the same author together and I like to group similar subjects together. If you ask me for a specific book I’ll know where to find it. If you ask me if I have a certain book I miiiiiiight be able to answer but I have to keep photos on my phone if I’m out book shopping because I have been known to forget I already own a book. Oops!
I don’t utilise my cookbooks as much as I should, often using them for reference more than following an entire recipe. I have a subscription to Eat Your Books and I have most of my books catalogued on there so I can search a specific meal, ingredient or cuisine. I think it’s worth the money. But if you were to ask my favourite recipe for a certain thing, or for my favourite book on a certain subject here is what I’d say-
Favourite biscuit recipe- Chocolate Wheaty Biscuit from Michelle Crawford’s A Table in the Orchard. I think she has shared this recipe on her Instagram so check there.
Favourite hummus recipe- the one from Falastin. It’s perfection. I found it here for you.
Favourite baked beans recipe- Sophie Hansens version from her book A Basket by the Door. Sorry, I can’t find it online so here’s a photo of the recipe in my book with my adjustments.
Best all round dough recipe- the magic dough from Everyday Veg by Hugh Fernley Whitingstall. It’s what I use for naan and pizza dough. This is the recipe made into pizza bases. To make it into naan do the same thing but fry in a dry pan.
Go-to chocolate cake recipe- this family chocolate cake from AWW. It makes a huge slab cake and freezes really well.
If you were to ask me for one sourdough bread book to own I would have to say buy the Artisan Sourdough Made Simple. I pretty much only bake sourdough and this is my most used. Everything I’ve ever baked out of it is perfection and the everyday loaf is what I bake most weekends. The bagels, English muffins and ciabatta are regulars too.
Most used Jamie Oliver book is the Ministry of Food. It has excellent basic recipes in it, especially the curry paste recipes.
The Asian book I reach for the most is Adam Liaw’s Big Pot. I’m hopeless at stir fry dinners but Adam makes me feel like I can pull it off.
Is there a difference between cookies and biscuits? I don’t know but Sarah Kieffer’s 100 Cookies is well worth owning. I love the oatmeal cookies the most but my family have enjoyed everything I’ve made from it. Bonus points for having the yummiest dough to eat raw!
All round baking book I reach for the most is Home Baked by the Australian Woman’s Weekly. It is the book that my go-to chocolate cake recipe is from. I don’t love fancy baking so this is a good one to reach for.
If you want a cookbook that also has beautiful writing in it I can’t go passed Ella Risbridger’s books. Both are simply beautiful. Not only is she an amazing writer but her recipes are great too.
When I’m looking for a veggie dish I reach for the first veg book I ever book, Veg Everyday from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. I find the recipes easy, approachable and adaptable. The barley broth is a winter favourite.
When I want simple, everyday, family meals it’s Bills Basic by Bill Granger that I pull from the shelf. Again, I can’t find my favourite recipe from the book, chicken satay, online so here’s a photo from my book.
We are mad for Indian food and these are the two books I think you should own if you want to cook great Indian food at home- Meera Sodha’s Made in India (best Dal recipe. Thank me later) and if you have a pressure cooker buy Indian Instant Pot Cookbook by Urvashi Pitre. This is the one that has the best butter chicken recipe in it that I’ve shared a few times before. Cooking curries in the instant pot is a dream.
And finally, these are the books I’m most excited to cook from out of the (many) ones I’ve recently bought. I’ve bookmarked many recipes to try. It’s fun to have things to look forward to!
Honestly, I love reading cookbooks as much as I love using them. Tim laughs at me when I climb into bed with a cookbook to read but they are SO interesting and inspiring. Even if I don’t cook everything, or anything, from them, they just make me happy. Often at night when I’m lying in the floor doing my yoga I look up at my shelves and smile at all the possibilities waiting for me.
I am a collector and I don’t see me stopping any time soon. I have a wish-list of books saved to booktopia, I keep photos on my phone so I know when new books I’m excited about are being released. I pre-order books by cooks and chefs I love, I scour second hand shops for cookbooks to fill gaps I think I have in my collection (if ANYONE ever comes across Silvia Colloca’s Live Laugh Bake PLEASE let me know, I can’t find it anywhere!!!) and I check out many, many more from the library just to see if there’s something I’m missing. It’s a fun hobby to have.
Over to you. I’d love to know what your feelings on cookbooks are- love them or not bothered? Got a favourite? See any you have on my shelves and love to use? And if there was one cookbook you think everyone should own what is it?
Talk soon xx