Every year we publish a list of our favourite cook and food related books that we reviewed over the last year or two. Below is a list for this year. Enjoy:
Perhaps more than any other person, Marcella is responsible for bringing Italian cuisine into the homes of cooks around the world. Not spaghetti and meatballs, or macaroni cheese, but the real deal – polenta, risotto, hearty fish soups and thick meat sauces. What makes this book even more remarkable is the fact that it does not have a single photograph. Marcella is one of the old school cookbook authors, she’s able to draw pictures with words. In The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking Marcella combines her two earliest works into one updated and expanded volume. In addition to the delicious collection of recipes, this book serves as a basic manual for cooks of every skill level. If you have any interest at all in Italian cuisine, then this is a book you should have.
This book brings you the flavours of the street foods of Istanbul, Ankara and Gaziantep, Beirut, Damascus and Aleppo. It is the kind of food you would expect to find at street stalls and markets – mezze style eating, great for entertaining. 100 light, perfectly balanced recipes for sharing. Added to this is some stunning photography of many of the completed dishes.
A bold taste explosion of Asia and the fresh, lively combination of exotic ingredients. Bill Granger has drawn on elements from all over Asia for this book, from the tip of Singapore right through the southeast Asian peninsula and into mainland China. Apart from the classics such as pad Thai, beef rendang, satay chicken, Thai green curry and fishcakes, there are also a lot of delicious surprises. And all of the recipes are easy to reproduce in the home kitchen. For anyone who enjoys Asian cuisine, who may be put off by complicated recipes with foreign ingredients, this is a perfect introduction to this spicy flavours of Asia.
A 500+ pager must-have for lovers of food and those wishing to get back to the fundamentals of cooking as our grandparents knew it. Matthew Evans is the Gourmet Farmer, in the television series on Food Network. In The Real Food Companion he shows us how to source ethically, cook and eat real food. With a huge range of recipes, the book outlines everything you need to know in order to navigate today’s complex food world. The book will appeal to dedicated foodies as well as novice cooks looking for a reliable and up-to-date kitchen companion. This is a book to make you want to cook.
The book captures the experiences of the author, a former vegeterian, as she learned to cook every morsel on the beast. This book is an up-close look at beef, especially grassfed beef. The over 140 recipes look at everything to do with beef, from great ideas for minced beef, slow cooking and beef recipes from around the world, to the correct way of cooking steaks and roasts, and even a section on sausages and salamis. If it’s beef you want to cook, you’ll find a recipe for the cut in this book.
This is a vegetable cookbook. Whether or not it’s a vegetarian cookbook depends perhaps on your point of view. It is a book on how to cook vegetables, and is in a sense therefore, strictly vegetarian. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, is on a mission to persuade the public to eat more vegetables, and thereby to eat less meat and fish too. With over 200 recipes and vibrant photography, River Cottage Veg Every Day is a true celebration of everything vegetable.
In France, home bakers have relied on a folksy little baking book – the country’s answer to Kook en Geniet, sort of – called Je Sais Faire la Pâtisserie, for the past 70-odd years. First published in 1938, this bestseller, has now been translated into English as The Art of French Baking. In it, the author covers the fundamentals of the French pastry kitchen, from éclairs and fruit tartlets to macaroons and madeleines. When it comes to sweet things, no-one does it better than the French. The book contains more than 350 simple recipes that anyone can follow at home. Beautiful photographs and illustrations throughout.
Growing your own food and cooking it can be an extremely rewarding pastime. Not only do you have full traceability of how your food was growing, but you also have the pleasure of enjoying the fruits of your labour. The Edible Garden Cookbook takes you through the steps on how to grow and cook your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. Arranged by season, it is extremely well laid out. Each chapter starts by explaining what to do in the garden during that season regarding planting, maintaining and picking. It then goes into more detail about how to store, preserve and cook with them. In addition, the text is supported by fantastic illustrative photography, information on planning for production, planting charts and cultivation for success. Each recipe has been triple-tested by The Australian Women’s Weekly Test Kitchen to guarantee success.
Every once in awhile a really absorbing book crosses our desk, A Taste of the Unexpected is one such book. Mark Diacono quite rightly believes that it is a waste of time and effort growing the usual fruit and veg available on the supermarket shelves, they are usually cheap to buy and don’t taste that much different to what’s available at the shops. Mark discusses growing the more unusual fruit and vegetables – Tree Fruit, Nuts, Soft Fruit, Herbs & Spices, Beans & Greens, Leaves & Flowers and Buried Treasures. He reveals that it is no harder to grow the unusual and utterly delicious than it is the entirely ordinary. Each chapter gives fundamental advice on conditions each plant thrives on, varieties available, growing methods and the process of harvesting. In addition he includes a number of mouthwatering recipes for all of the crops featured.
Interested in buying any of these books? Visit – Red Pepper Books – The South African online bookshop, is able to offer you great prices on any book you are looking for, and they deliver to your door. Red Pepper Books is offering Wickedfood Cooking School subscribers an EXTRA 10% off this book. Simply type in the promotional code WICKEDFOOD on the shipping page of the checkout process and your purchase will be reduced by a further 10%.
Wickedfood Cooking School runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built Johannesburg cooking studio. Cookery classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – teambuilding cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference. Our cooking lessons are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and team building cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.