At some point in the 2010s, it felt like cooking suddenly became a very, very good thing to do again. Was it Instagram? Was it the death of slightly porny big-chunks-of-meat restaurants as a cultural force? Was it Bon Appetit's merch range? Whatever it was, it was extremely welcome.
Honestly, cooking is one of the most satisfying, enriching, and kindest things you can do for yourself. Really, it is. Look, nobody's saying you have to buy a sous-vide. There's no need to hike across town to find that particular brand of Turkish biber salçasi. Just take your time, pick it up as you go, and relax. You're a chef now. Congratulations.
Community Comfort: Recipes from the Diaspora
A beautifully shot and illustrated comfort food e-book, curated and created by Riaz Phillips, bringing together 100 British cooks from migrant backgrounds. It’s all in aid of the bereaved healthcare colleagues and families of Black, Asian & Ethnic minority victims of Covid-19, and the donations will go towards providing and building awareness towards mental health to people within BAME communities, as well as providing grants for memorial events and tributes for those who have passed. Contributors to the project include Ruby Tandoh, James Cochran of 12:51, Jeremy Chan of Ikoyi, Evening Standard restaurant critic Jimi Famurewa and many more famous names, cooking up everything from hand-made Caribbean roti to simple Japanese dumplings.
Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley
Anything about Middle Eastern cooking necessarily has a bit of an Ottolenghi ring to it, and Falastin's got the royal assent from Yotam himself – with whom Tamimi put together his Jerusalemim电竞官网- cookbook and Tamimi has been writing recipes with for nearly a decade – in the form of a foreword. This celebration of Palestinian cooking is very handily organised as a retinue of dishes to pick and choose to serve together as part of a big spread, with particularly handy 'get ahead' tips. Sunny, simple and relaxed. Start with the chicken musakhan and go from there.
Table Manners by Jessie Ware and Lennie Ware
This is altogether a different class of podcast spin-off cookbook. As you'll know if you've listened to Table Mannersim电竞官网-, Jessie and her mum Lennie are great cooks. The recipes in here aren't revolutionary, but if you're stuck for something to make for a gang of mates (whenever they're actually allowed round again) then it'll more than sort you out. Each recipe gets a neat little intro too: the turkey meatballs in tomato sauce, for instance, "invite a confession like when my dear friend the singer-singwriter Sam Smith explained they thought Mexico was in Spain".
My Korea by Hooni Kim
This is a thorough grounding in the elements of Korean home cooking, finessed by a Seoul-born chef who opened the Michelin-starred Danji in New York City. Kim's collection of recipes moves from the traditional and everyday, like jjajangmyeon, a meaty black bean noodle dish, to more considered stuff like a 12-hour ramen. There's also an extremely useful introduction to ingredients that might be less familiar to Western palates, as well as where to source them from.
Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman
Yes, it came out late last year, blah blah blah, but just trust us: you're going to need Nothing Fancy in 2020 and for the rest of your days. No, not an overstatement. Alison Roman's books are all very, very, very good, and her warm, laidback attitude to cooking comes through both in her writing and her recipes. Don't be fooled by the title – the emphasis here might be on simplicity of assembly (the secret is loads of anchovies, it turns out) but these dishes are deeply impressive when you whack them on the table. Do the anchovy-rubbed lamb shoulder on garlicky tomatoes with the hot sauce-doused grilled carrots and bask in their glory.
Keeping It Simple by Yasmin Fahr
A long, slow Sunday spent lazily putting together an artfully dishevelled roast and four or five sides with increasingly subtle and complex spice combos is a wonderful thing. However, there are six other days which aren't Sunday, and on which you'll not have seven hours of nothingness to play with. On those days, reach for this book, which slims down the cooking process without losing any of the flavour or, just as importantly, the satisfaction of putting it all together. Recipes like the roasted halibut with lemons, tomatoes and herbs aren't quite five-minute bung-it-in-the-oven jobs, but they're still deeply achievable for midweek tea.
Tin Can Magic by Jessica Elliott Dennison
im电竞官网-However much you might like tending to your sourdough starter and Yoga With Adriene, being locked down is a state of asceticism and misery. That thing you like? Nope, can't do that for the next three months. Turn out your pockets. Show me your Monzo. There are more enjoyable ways of refocusing your money and time, and cutting corners, like leafing through Dennison's book and using up all the bits and pieces in the back of your cupboard on recipes like spiced lamb and tomato flatbreads or the carrot and toasted cumin lentil dahl.
The Irish Cookbook by Jp McMahon
im电竞官网-This is a hefty refutation of any lingering sense that food culture away from the mainland of Europe is about assembling as many beige and brown items as possible and encasing them in pastry. Chef and restaurateur Jp McMahon has collected 480 recipes which showcase the extraordinary produce found across the island of Ireland, from oysters and fish to beef and lamb, as well as pointing out all sorts of bits and pieces that can be easily foraged.
Dinner In French by Melissa Clark
Ah, France. Le gastronomie. Escoffier. Robuchon. Boursin. All very bon, but if vous fancy getting un petit look at what, exactement, the French mange day to day, le New York Times food writer Melissa Clark has put together more than 150 classique recipes but avec un nouveau spin on them. Have un butchers at le cornmeal and harissa soufflé or the ratatouille sheet-pan chicken en particulare. 'Dinner in French' in French is 'dîner en français', if vous etreim电竞官网- interested.
The extremely quirky Mayfair restaurant and Through The Looking-Glass-style wonderland will definitely have featured on your Instagram feed at some point in the last two or three years, but the food served across sketch's four distinct rooms is why it's become an institution. This book – apologies, this, uh, "phantasmagoric compendium," per the promo bumph – pulls together 85 recipes from its three-Michelin star restaurant, its brasserie and its bar with notes from head chef Pierre Gagnaire. Plus! Much like sketch itself, there's artwork too.
Bitter Honey by Letitia Clark
For some reason, Sardinian cooking has yet to get quite the brand awareness that, say, Tuscany or Sicily or Naples' food has in the UK. Letitia Clark's new book looks to right the under-appreciation of the island, being full of recipes which show off the more rustic and wilder leanings of Sardinian food compared to your Italian classics. The recipes here are homely, simple and agreeably olive-centric.
The Vegetarian Silver Spoon
This is meat-free reworking of the monolithic collection of kitchen standards which has stood as the bible of traditional Italian cooking, and it takes a less puritanical approach than the original. Among the 200 recipes are your classic Italian dishes which are already veggie, of course, but also newer additions to the corpus which work in contemporary ingredients from further afield than just Italy.
What Is Cooking (June)
im电竞官网-Note the lack of a question mark here. Though it sounds like how Arnie might deliver a droll one-liner after flamethrowering a henchman to death, it's a statement of deep philosophical intent. This is pitched as being as much a chin-stroking treatise as a book which tells you how to make food, though perhaps that's to be expected of the former head chef of elBulli. Think of this less as a cookbook than a conceptual sketch of the inside of head chef Ferran Adria's head: very big picture, and very thought-provoking. The subtitle – 'The action: cooking. The result: cuisine' – is very funny though, there's no two ways about that.
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