Whenever I visit a new city, I always take time to go to a bookstore and peruse cooking titles. In London, I always dedicate an afternoon to Waterstone’s to look through stacks of books to buy the paperbacks right away, but jot down titles to buy online if they are hardback, to save the weight in my suitcases for other things. [Here you can see but a portion of my book and mag collection placed temporarily until I choose the right bookshelves with doors (Hello, IKEA Billy!).]
I thought I would put these books to even better use by going through past, recent, and new releases for those of you who like cookbooks. I will start this week with two books that match the essence of the recipes we try to bring to you each week – simple recipes that you will actually try – and one book which goes to the heart of design*sponge -a student cookbook. I will try to put together regular thematic round-ups to fill the gaps left by the column. Please let us know what you look for in a cookbook, and what types of recipes you’d like to see more (or less) of!
One last note: The books I will review cover both the US and European markets. At times, especially on the recent/new releases like this week’s titles, you will see a lag between availability in one market or the other. Follow me on Twitter to tell me what you like and don’t like, ask questions, find recipe recommendations from books, and many other food related resources (and a little bit more!). twitter.com/kristinagill
CLICK HERE for kristina’s cookbook reviews after the jump!
(1) From Pasta to Pancakes: The Ultimate Student Cookbook by Tiffany Goodall (published by Quadrille). This is a brand new release, and I chose it for all the design students who read design*sponge. The recipes (mostly for 1) are very simple because the target audience is someone who is completely new in the kitchen– the book includes basics (pasta, cous cous, stir fries, pancakes) that the new cook will soon adapt to fit personal tastes. The photography and the styling are at first a shock– and before you let it put you off, realize that that’s exactly how a novice’s first attempts might look. No one will be intimidated by the idea that the food has to look perfect! Quite a good idea to do the photography this way, I’d say! In short, it’s a fun basic resource for first-time cooks on a budget.
(2) Feed Me Now! by Bill Granger (published by Quadrille): Bill Granger, Sydney-based cook and restaurateur, has a new title available on this side of the world! I love Bill Granger’s cooking style— typically Australian in its simplicity, but also includes a mix of Asian flavors and more familiar US/British style dishes. Feed me now! provides family oriented recipes that are quick and easy for those who are willing to work a bit harder for a huge reward (NB many of them take no less than 30 minutes to cook, not including prep time.) Finding the ingredients may present a small challenge depending on where you live, but the book more than makes up for it with simple recipes like Alsatian Bacon & Egg tart, Miso Fish, and Gooey Chocolate Cake. Yes, Bill’s smile is annoying, but did I mention the photography is by John Kernick? Worth it for the images alone!
(3) Just Five Ingredients by Ainsley Harriott (BBC Books): Keeping with the theme of good meals prepared in little time, Ainsley Harriott’s new book knocks it out of the park! I won’t hide that I’m an Ainsley fan after trying his prawn and beef kebabs from an issue of delicious. (Australia) a few years ago, or that his personality also keeps me interested in his work. (Some people who have seen him on Ready, Steady, Cook! may have their own opinions, sure!) But even if you have no idea who he is, this book is a great addition to your shelf. Why? Each recipe is well thought out, limited to five generally very common ingredients you will often have on hand, tThe technique is not difficult. You may find you reach for it for parties and quick meals during the week, when you’re alone, any time, all the time! And keeping with the theme of simplicity, the photography is quite nice with minimal styling and a focus on ingredients, so it is a pleasure to look at.