Monday, 21 May 2012

Let's Cook - Top 5 Cookery Books

So, I have a slight addiction.  One that even exceeds my Anya Hindmarch handbag collection.  Cookery books.  Yes, you heard it right, I cannot stop buying cookery books!  It stems from my mothers extensive collection of recipes that she has collected over the years and now I’m getting quite the collection myself.  Also, I have a partner in crime; the boyfriend is as bad as I am!  Admittedly we are both foodies, not in the snooty fine dining sense (even though we love to partake), but just in a food sense.  Good quality, tasty food!  Whether it is buffets, comfort food, a Sunday roast or a light salad, together we seem to have a book for every occasion.  

At the moment we are in the process of planning, in my opinion, the most exciting part of the house renovation – the kitchen.   So I am trying to find a home for our growing collection of cookery books, which are currently sprawled in boxes, here there and everywhere.  In unopened boxes at the house, at my parents home, and at the boyfriends pad in London.  

We are lucky enough to have a gorgeous Georgian marble fireplace in our kitchen, so I am thinking about converting the alcoves either side of the fireplace in to a dedicated cookery bookshop…we just require some shelves, a joiner and to retrieve all the books from their hiding places!

I long for the day for when I will have the time to cook from each and every recipe book, however until this day comes I will simply have to use my time at the weekends more wisely and begin to crack open the summer inspired books to create an al fresco feast or two. 

Here are Butterfly Lane’s top 5 cookery books from my collection…at the moment!

English Food by Jane Grigson

Invest in a classic

‘’A selection of traditional and modern recipes as well as informative, evocative discussion on the orgins of all kinds of British food.’’

This book can be classed as your cooking manual.  It covers all food and prefers quality to quantity, and the writing is just sublime.  Think soups, hot crossed buns, roast dinners, everything that is British and fabulous. 

Thai Food by David Thomas

The modern choice 

This book is the bible of all things Thai food.  With his extraordinary knowledge Thomas brilliantly captures the essentials of an entire cuisine.  Covering one of the most complex, wide ranging cuisines in the world.  Let your taste buds go in to over drive and invest in this book.


The Restaurant Cookery Book

Bocca di Lupo is London’s premier, award winning Italian restaurant in the heart of Soho and the accompanying book by head chef Jacob Kenedy allows you to bring the experience in to your own kitchen.  Kenedy travelled the length and bredth of Italy over the course of a year, gathering his favourite recipes, many of them obscure and slightly bizarre but all absolutely delicious.  The chef declares, ‘’be warned – this is a cookbook with teeth’’.  The recipes are accompanied by a stories from his travels, which not only makes this book is a must read, the restaurant is a must visit too, and his recipes…well, you must recreate! 

Voluptuous Delights by Sophie Dahl

The obligatory celebrity cookbook

I fell in love with Sophie Dahl’s whimsically and poetic take on cooking during her BBC cookery series, and I equally love her book.  Full of enchanting stories and gorgeously indulgent recipes.  Divided in to the seasons, the book is clear and the recipes easy to recreate.  In fact a few of her recipes are in my ‘cook everyday’ repertoire, including her punchy tomato and red onion soup, a flavorsome shepherd’s pie and her orange victoria sponge recipe with homemade jam, which I use for every birthday cake I make.  Don’t be put off by the ‘model turned chef’ element of this book, the essence is amazing food by a genuine food lover. 

Complete Traditional Recipe Book by The National Trust

For the Aga Owners

Now that I rely on an Aga for all my culinary requirements, this book is great as every recipe is converted in an Aga format, which is very handy for an Aga novice like myself.  Jam packed with over 300 traditional British recipes:  Apple Crumbles, Bread and Butter Pudding, Lancashire Hot Pot, Bubble and Squeak,  oh my mouth is watering as I type!  Including sections on preserves, drinks and confectionary, along with a background knowledge on key dishes, this is a definite for your collection, even if you don’t have an Aga!

My Wish List: 

Modernist Cuisine:  The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold (and team)

Wow, this collection of six books is definitely on my wish list.   It is virtually an encyclopedia of cooking with 1500 recipes of scientific, laboratory inspired creations.  The main pull of this book to me is the incredible photography.  Everything is photographed with a cross-section perspective, with incredible results.  However, with the £400 price tag these books are very expensive, maybe one to save for!

Amazing images from the book

If you have any cookery books that you cannot live without please get in touch and let Butterfly Lane know, as I always need an excuse to add to my collection! 

Happy cooking everyone…X 

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