Monday, January 11, 2016

3 Cookbooks Worth Owning

Books are something I could easily become guilty of having too many of. I love the way they look lined up on a shelf, I love the way they smell and I love flicking through them. However, I don't have a bottomless wallet nor do I have half a house to devote to the sole function of a library. Storage is very limited in our home, and as such, any book purchases I make are only after careful consideration. There are two questions I always ask myself before purchasing a book: will I actually read it or use it?

Despite the amount of beautiful cookbooks on the market, there are few that are actually worth owning. Before a new cookbook is added to my shelves, it has to tick a few but essential boxes. It must be filled with recipes I can't wait to make, ones I haven't tried before or don't already have another version of, it must have good quality photographs of the dishes and it must be overall inspiring, beautiful and delicious.

Knowing how difficult it can be to discover books worth owning, today I want to share with you the cookbooks that make my heart sing and that form a solid part of my meal repertoire.
The first book I want to share with you is The River Cottage Australia Cookbook. From the stunning photography, thick matte paper to the fresh food that is perfect for seasonal eating, this book is an absolute gem. My favourite part of it is the vegetable/salad section. I'm always on the lookout for new salads and the like, and I started off by trying the first recipe in the book - watermelon salad. It was so good I made it several days in a row for both lunch and a dinner side dish.
As I turned the pages of this book I fell more and more in love with it. There are so many recipes in here I am bursting to make! Some are designed for winter so I will have to wait to try them, but there is plenty to cook before then. Aside from the recipes, it's such an inspiring book that makes me feel that any little step towards growing, producing or baking even a morsel of food is such an achievement and is making a difference.

Details: The River Cottage Australia Cookbook by Paul West with foreword by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall retails for $31.50 AUD at the Book Depository with free worldwide delivery

Lemon Curd from My Petite Kitchen
The second that is an absolute favourite is My Petite Kitchen Cookbook by Eleanor Ozich. The cover says Simple Wholefood Recipes, and it's the only book I've found that delivers on it's promise. Not only are the recipes simple, easy to follow and perfect for everyday cooking, each one is written with wholefood ingredients. I find many books claiming to have wholefood recipes do include some with sugar, white flour and other refined ingredients. Eleanor's recipes, however, are made with only unrefined ingredients, many of which are easily substituted (i.e I swap the coconut flour in one of the cakes for spelt flour). Many of the recipes can also be made gluten free and vegetarian, and include notes for which ingredients you can effortlessly swap. The book has over 100 recipes, covering from breakfast through to dinners, drinks and kitchen basics. Each recipe is so flavoursome and nourishing - this is one of those rare books I could happily cook through from cover to cover!

Details: My Petite Kitchen Cookbook by Eleanor Ozich retails for $30.35 AUD at the Book Depository with free worldwide delivery
Eleanor's second book, My Family Table, has also recently be published. At only $28.72 AUD I'll be adding it to my shelves very soon!

Butter Cake from the Gourmet Farmer Deli Book, made with Cultured Butter, also from the book
Another Australian cookbook, The Gourmet Farmer Deli Book by Mathew Evans, Ross O'Meara & Nick Haddow is the final book I want to share with you today. As the title suggests, this book is filled with recipes for making artisan goods you'd usually find in a deli, along with a handful of recipes at the end of each section for using the goods you have just created. You'll learn how to pickle and preserve, cure meat, make sausages, culture dairy products and even make fresh curd cheeses. Along with recipes it has tips for buying small goods and cured meats from delis, and combined with the boutique feel of the entire book it's well worth adding to your library. My personal favourite from this book is the cultured butter and the cake I made using it. When Missy was milking, I also made paneer, a fresh curd cheese, and used the recipe at the end of the chapter for saag paneer. I'm planning on making bresaola next.

Details: The Gourmet Farm Deli Book by Mathew Evans, Ross O'Meara & Nick Haddow retails for $33.76 AUD at the Book Depository with free worldwide delivery

What are your favourite cookbooks?
Share below!

You might like to check out the other books listed in my Library or read 3 Newly Published Books Worth Owning
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  1. We have the Gourmet Farmer deli cookbook, and have big plans for making our own ham and sausages this Autumn.

    1. That sounds like a great plan Jo. We made our own pickled pork from the Gourmet Farmer book this year after raising our first pigs and it was delicious :-)

  2. Oh there are just so many beautiful books out there! I like the sound of the River Cottage book. I have the Gourmet Farmer Deli book but haven't used it heaps. Perhaps I need to revisit! One I think you would love is It Tastes Better by Kylie Kwong. It is not like her other very glossy, styled Chinese books but much more focused on fresh produce, farmers, growers, fisherman and real food. Just tonight I am roasting some fresh figs with honey inspired by that book. A favourite of mine x

    1. Oh my - honey roasted figs sound absolutely heavenly!
      Thank-you for the book recommendation Jane, I'll have to have a look at that one as it sounds great! I haven't ever used any of Kylie Kwong's recipes so I'm intrigued.

  3. I had only used pinterest or google to look up recipes up until a couple months ago. My daughter received a couple children's cookbooks that we've been using all together as a family, and now I have a new obsession with cookbooks! I don't know why it's so different than using the internet, but it has been a game changer in this house. I had no idea what I was missing! Love this post...thank you.

    1. You're welcome Kimberly and I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it. The internet is wonderful for recipes but I still prefer cooking from a book when I can. I hope you enjoy discovering the many beautiful cookbooks out there x

  4. This is such a great idea for a post!
    I have shelves and shelves of cookbooks but these days I either go the way of the tried and safe family faves or I google. You've encouraged me to flick back through some of my books and get some fresh ideas. Thank you!!

    1. Thank-you so much Kate! I glad to hear you enjoyed it. Happy cooking xx


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