JC Cooks: Top 3 Cookbooks

January 3, 2015


I love cookbooks, not only just for cooking, but also just to sit and have a read through in the evenings in front of the TV. Most of the cookbooks I own, I have only ever cooked a handful of dishes out of, but I have sat and read them many times! I had a huge collection back at my parents house but as cookbooks tend to not be the lightest of objects, I have had to restart my collection now I am in London.

There are a few things I look for in cookbooks, they need to be relatively simple – not completely basic but I don’t want recipes that will be taking me hours or need to have fancy implements. It also needs to be rich and full of photos – I want to lust after the pictures, if I have a recipe without a photo then I am not likely to make it. I pick up most of my cookbooks from Amazon as they are so reasonably priced on there and you can usually get free shipping which is ideal. From all the ones I have picked up in 2014, I have whittled it down to my top 3 – all of which I enjoy reading and cooking from.

Save With Jamie – Jamie Oliver

Now this has to be about my tenth Jamie Oliver cookbook, I love them! I actually got gifted the same JO cookbook 3 times over the course of my birthday and Christmas to give you some idea. But this Save with Jamie book has surprisingly been my favourite. It has the traditional Jamie features, amazing photos, delicious, easy recipes which are full of flavour and have all the nutritional value broken down. This one is a bit different as it focuses on low cost meals and using left overs. In each section of the book, it has a main recipe, and you can then use the leftovers of that in the others (such as roast chicken, then lots of chicken recipes). I don’t usually stick to this format as it’s very rare that I will cook a big piece of meat but the recipes are still applicable if you do them as a one off. I also really like that this cookbook has a huge amount of vegetarian recipes which can usually be forgotten. I have cooked a few meals out of this, with my favourites being:
BBQ Baked Beans with Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Singapore Noodles (pictured below)
Seared British Beef Carpaccio

Photo 14-09-2014 6 31 42 pm

How to be a Better Cook – Lorraine Pascale

I hadn’t previously read any books from Lorraine, nor was I really aware of who she was until recently! I saw this as a bit of a bargain on amazon and thought that I would pick it up. I really love her recipes as they are quite Asian influenced and all have a whole ton of flavour. They are advertised as quick and easy and so far that has been the case. She also adds a little blurb to the side of all her recipes which has some advice or a tidbit about where the recipe came from. I thought this was a nice touch as it makes it an interesting read. Again, the pictures are all flawless, full of bursting colour and tempting me to make a whole heap of things – honestly, reading this I wanted to cook almost every recipe which is a rare thing! My favourite recipes so far are:
Carribean Toastie Cups with Avocado, Mango and Mint
Vietnamese Chicken and Peanut Salad with Sesame and Lime
Sesame Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry with a Honey Soy Sauce and Ginger and Chilli Rice

Jerusalem – Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Now this is the most beautiful cookbook I own – I can happily sit down and read it but have yet to venture into cooking anything from it. This focuses on the food of Jerusalem which isn’t food I have eaten much of, but the book also goes so much into the life and feel of Jerusalem, the pictures aren’t just of the food but of the culture. Each recipe has a full on back story, of the traditions and who would cook this which is amazing to read about. A lot of the food is more specialised but the recipes do seem pretty easy to make, I am determined to try the hummus and falafel recipes as they look absolutely delicious! My favourite recipes I have read so far are:
Fried Cauliflower with Tahini
Burnt Aubergine with Garlic, Lemon and Pomegranate Seeds
Turkey and Courgette Burgers with Spring Onion and Cumin

What are your favourite cookbooks? Are you like me and just like to sit down and have a good read?

JC xx

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