10 Of The Best Cookbooks To Buy Food Lovers This Christmas
From sourdough to pasta, Istanbul to Indonesia, these cuisine and location-spanning recipe books are the gifts that keep on giving
A cookbook is a valuable addition to any bookshelf; beautiful to look at, and brimming with delicious recipes, we're sure these new releases from the likes of Nigel Slater, Diana Henry and more will be received with open arms.
1. From The Oven To The Table by Diana Henry. $50, Hachette NZ
The magic transformation of a dish bubbling away behind a closed oven door has inspired UK food writer Diana Henry’s latest cookbook. Most of the recipes featured can be cooked in one dish or tin, and while the result looks gorgeous and complex, they require far less kitchen prep than you might think. The adaptive nature of her recipes means you won’t be running out to grab an ingredient.
Good for: Bung-in-the-oven cooks.
Best dish: Butter-roasted salmon with beetroot, horseradish puree and dill sprigs, perfectly festive for Christmas lunch.
2. The Baker's Companion by Allyson Gofton. $55, Penguin NZ
Prepare to swoon over the picture-perfect baking in Allyson Gofton’s new baking bible. Enticing photography of more than 100 recipes covers all bases — from cakes and loaves to pastry, slices, biscuits, meringue, baked puddings and breads. Gluten-free are also catered for.
Good for: Someone who believes butter is best.
Best dish: Yes, it’s on the cover, but these pink-iced Belgian biscuits oozing with jam are simply delicious.
3. Greenfeast: Spring, Summer by Nigel Slater. $50, Harper Collins
Nigel Slater’s latest food tome, Greenfeast: Spring, Summer is a collection of zingy, plant-based recipes. His options and ideas are based on what he would like to eat for dinner and are brilliantly simple, heroing the best produce right now.
Good for: People who really like vegetables.
Best dish: Halloumi, melon and chilli.
4. The Whole Fish Cookbook by Josh Niland. $60, Hardie Grant Books
Most of us are familiar with nose-to-tail dining, but what about fish? Sydney chef Josh Niland nudges readers towards a nose-to-tail approach to seafood where more than just the odd fillet gets eaten. His groundbreaking book includes ideas on sustainable sourcing, in-depth butchery instructions, and a section on fish offal. Inventive recipes include a salmon Wellington, swordfish bacon and salt and vinegar blue mackerel.
Good for: People who like to make good use of food.
Best bit: Niland’s powers of persuasion.
5. Istanbul Cult Recipes by Pomme Larmoyer. $55, Allen & Unwin
Istanbul Cult Recipes is an excellent guide to eating your way around Istanbul. In each section, maps highlight the author’s favourite food spots along with the food creators’ profiles and recipes.
Good for: Adding flavour to humble grains, vegetables and meats.
Best dish: Kazandibi, cut into squares and eaten like a cake.
6. Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri. $50, Allen & Unwin
One of North London’s top sourdough bakers, Michelle Eshkeri of Margot Bakery, reveals her secrets. The book includes a step-by-step guide to making a sourdough starter, as well as methods for folding, shaping, scoring and baking. Recipes for focaccia and brioche feature, as well as challah and babka drawn from Eshkeri’s Jewish and Australian heritage.
Good for: A trendy friend impossible to buy for.
Best bit: It’s a celebration of glorious carbs.
7. The Camping Cookbook by Sara Mutande & Andrea Lo Vetere. $25, Beatnik Publishing
Anyone sick of pre-packaged grub when camping will like this one. Food lovers Andrea Lo Vetere and Sara Mutande moved to New Zealand and became passionate about camping. But the couple (who are from Sicily and Spain) started thinking about much more tasty options. They’ve written 30 Mediterranean-inspired recipes that are easy to prepare wherever you are.
Good for: Outdoor enthusiasts.
Best bit: Practical tips and cute recipe illustrations.
8. Tel Aviv by Neni. $55, Murdoch Books
Neni is a restaurant chain that started in Vienna and now has locations throughout Europe serving eclectic Israeli and Middle Eastern cuisine. For this book, owner Haya Molcho and her sons head back to her hometown of Tel Aviv, exploring its cultures and cuisines with recipes made from ingredients from the local markets.
Good for: Wanderlusts.
Best dish: A show-stopping vegetable curry with paneer and prunes.
9. Pasta Grannies by Vicky Bennison. $45, Hardie Grant
After rising to fame on their YouTube channel, the Italian grandmothers, who have spent a lifetime cooking, have their recipes and stories brought together in a cookbook. There’s most kinds of regional pasta— from corzetti (a coin-shaped pasta typical of Liguria) to pici (a thick spaghetti from Tuscany) — paired with ragus, pestos and dressings.
Good for: Someone in need of comfort food.
Best bit: Getting to know Giuseppa, who is still making pasta at 97.
10. Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia by Eleanor Ford. $55, Murdoch Books
This book delivers a taste of Indonesian cuisine at home with recipes inspired by Sumatra, Java, Bali and more. Think
street-food snacks, sambals and sauces, stir-fries, noodle broths and sticky desserts.
Good for: Spice plays a starring role, so best for those who like it hot.
Best dish: Prawns with red chilli sambal, lime, and best eaten with sticky fingers.