I like food, I like trying new things. Here is a short list of inspirational cookbooks which will get you really thinking.
First of all you have to buy Family Food: A New Approach to Cooking by Heston Blumenthal. This is a completely fantastic book which will inspire you on each page. The recipes are not at all easy (as you’d expect from Heston) but well worth the time and effort.
Whilst talking about Heston I have to mention his new book In Search of Perfection which accompanies his new TV series. Again, the effort to which this man will go is astounding. Finally on my “Heston fest” it’s worth EVERY cook owning a copy of McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture by Harold McGee. This is one of the books Heston lists as his inspiration and it truly is crammed full of all the info you’d ever need about food. Want to know why overcooked cabbage tastes so bad? Read this book!
So, I’ve mentioned one food hero, time to mention the other. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is another inspiration. He’s the reason we have chickens, eat organic when we can, buy from farmers markets, and so on. All you need to know about cooking meat can be found in the excellent The River Cottage Meat Book. For further inspiration, advice and fantastic recipes check out The River Cottage Cookbook and The River Cottage Year. In my opinion if you care about where your food comes from then these books are essential.
My next author is maybe not as “trendy” as Hugh or Heston or even has a first name beginning with an “H” but he consistently produces excellent “real food” cookbooks. Nigel Slater has written many cookbooks and articles but it was his TV series (and book) Nigel Slater’s Real Food which really turned me into a fan. Whilst that book may not fit in with the whole “cookbooks with a twist” idea his “The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen” certainly does. The book takes you through a years worth of cooking where the recipes reflect seasonal produce. A great idea and a great book to delve in if you’ve just received a glut of seasonal veg in your Veg Box! Also worth a read is his non-cookbook autobiography, Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger.
Two final books. The Best is from the BBC TV series and may be difficult to track down these days. Paul Merrett, Ben O’Donoghue & Silvana Franco (now all successful writers and broadcasters in their own right) battled it out each episode to make “The Best…” …tuna dish …summer salad etc. A really interesting book with easy to make recipes. A book with a twist? Maybe not the recipes, but the TV series was.
My final book is a bit of a shot in the dark. Vegetables by Sophie Grigson hasn’t got the best reviews but I’ve tried one recipe from it (passed on to me by our veg box supplier) and let me tell you, if a recipe can get me eating Kale then it must be good!
Anyway, I hope this short list gives you some inspiration to try something new. Post me a comment and let me know.