Favourite Cookbooks of 2011
You might remember last year I asked some of my favourite blogging peeps for their two favourite cookbooks OF ALL TIME (part 1 & part 2). This year I wanted to update you on the cookbooks I got the most use out of in 2011.
I was beginning to lose hope a vegetarian cookbook that could compel me to make a recipe from it would ever be published. Then came Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty. This book reminded me just how satisfying cooking and eating vegetables and grains can be. I knew this once, but I seem to have filed this important piece of information in my mental rubbish bin. Israeli-born, London-dwelling Yotam delivers delightful combinations such as soba noodles with aubergine and mango, chickpea sauté with Greek yoghurt and Castelluccio lentils with tomatoes and Gorgonzola (which I substitute more common Puy lentils).
The caveat with Plenty is that you will either spend a small fortune on fresh herbs at the supermarket or actually start using herbs you planted years ago but never knew what to use them for (assuming they are still alive). The same applies to pantry spices (assuming they are not five years out of date). But boy, how great it feels to be using that neglected bottle of caraway seeds again. Buy it.
Everywhere-man Jamie Oliver’s popularity obliges some vague sense of cynicism. Can he really be this excited about food ALL THE TIME? There’s so much Jamie in this world–TV shows / cookbooks / website / cooking activism / TED award / live shows / magazines / homewares–and yet, as much as I want to mock his zeal, penchant for brand diversification and never-ending re-gigging of classic recipes, Jamie always leaves a positive impression. His enthusiasm is infectious.
Meals in Minutes is one of Jamie’s sixteen books. Yes, it’s another contribution to the already flooded cookbook category dedicated to time-poor workaholics who feel bad about eating boxed tacos for the third time in a week, but let’s face it, there’s at least one night a week (if not seven) when you just want/need ‘quick and easy’. This has some crackers that the kids don’t turn their nose at, which is always a plus.
I’ve just realised that all my picks are by fellows that hail from the UK. What’s with that?
Anyway, add this fellow to your regular reading. I doubt I’m the first to make comparison between James Ramsden and Nigel Slater (albeit a younger and possibly less childhood-traumatised version of him). James has the knack when it comes to writing about food in an enthusiastic, adventurous and intelligent way coupled with a wonderful peppering of wit. Even his Twitter feed is a delight. He operates a monthly supper club from his house before ‘pop-up anything’ was a thing. I feel hip and with-it just reading along (although saying I feel ‘hip and with-it’ likely negates the hipness of it). If watching Jamie makes you want to cook, reading Ramsden makes you want to invite strangers round for a low-key dinner party. If you enjoy gladdening commentary with your recipes, this is the book for you.Share this on: