While many of us now turn to the internet for recipes, the good old cookbook refuses to die.
The pleasure of a well-produced book, well-edited and with fine photos is still something to savour, to read for inspiration and to sometimes simply marvel at.
There were plenty of new books in 2016, some destined to never leave the sitting room being too expensive and gorgeous to sully, while others demanded to be in the kitchen getting increasingly stained and sticky as proof of their worth.
We aren’t going to look at the fashionable books, few of these here would feature on The Observer shortlist for example, but these are some of the ones we think deliver the most for the home chef and food fan and so make great Christmas presents..
The man at the top of the Heron Tower in charge of Sushi Samba does it again. His laddish food is designed for urbanite hangovers.
Easy-peasy breakfast/brunch style dishes – things to slam onto toast, hashed up dishes using last night’s delicious leftovers, stuff made using the magic power of an egg added, gear from under the grill, pots to whack in the oven and puddings to pile on the pounds in a happy way.
A tasty book from one of the millennial generation’s finer chefs.
The Hairy Bikers’ Meat Feasts – Dave Myers and Si King
This chunky book is well worth a place on the kitchen shelf and it’s worth jettisoning a few of the other TV cooks overboard to make room for it. A treasure trove of excellent, beguiling, robust and remarkable recipes.from two people whose occasionally irritating banter can’t conceal that they are two genuine food lovers without pretension.
Starters could be a delicate frisee aux lardons, or a roast beef and beetroot salad or even a rose veal tonnato. Or get a meaty soup or broth down your neck, a bacon and sweetcorn chowder or a beef pho. It’s all good.
Mr Todiwala’s Spice Box Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Cyrus Todiwala
A regular on Saturday Kitchen, Cyrus’s love of cooking is infectious and his charitable work highly laudable. The is refreshingly simple compared to other Indian cookbooks, as it focuses around just 10 spices that Mr Todiwala considers essential for the base of all classic Indian cooking. T
Beautiful recipe photography, which makes you dream of delicious dishes before you even get to the kitchen, accompanied by simple, easy to cook dishes make this book such a hit.
This is a big book, a very big book, but it has a big ambition. J. Kenji LÃƒÂ³pez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer at www.seriouseats.com and he is a curious mixture of noisy self-confident food blogger with bad jokes and serious, well-informed, studious scientist.
He explores how to make dishes better, for example Macaroni Cheese. How does it get to the right gooey consistency? Step by step instructions and photos show you how. Even frying and boiling eggs gets the scientific analysis to achieve consistent success.
Add to that chapters on tools, knives, temperatures and conversion charts and this hefty tome that is well worth its price.
The point Ekstedt is keen to make is that cooking with fire is not the same as cooking over fire. In his restaurant they have an open fire, a wood-fired stove, a smoker, a fire pit and a box that’s warmed with smoke from the open fire. He calls it analogue cooking.
The book is a fascinating story of one man’s obsession and even if you don’t fancy building a fire-pit in your back garden, you’ll still be able to enjoy most of these recipes using traditional barbecues and your boring old oven.
It’s not the greatest cookbook in the world but it’s a perfectly good one and if you buy it you’ll be helpig a good cause, All proceeds from the book go directly to The Clink Charity to support the creation of further prisoner training schemes across Her Majesty’s Prison Estate.
The book features recipes from Clink Ambassadors and friends of the charity including Albert Roux, Antonio Carluccio and Giorgio Locatelli. Clink Restaurant founder Alberto Crisci has a number of recipes and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also shares the recipe for one of his favourite dish for people who are short on time.
The Jewelled Kitchen: A Stunning Collection of Lebanese, Moroccan and Persian Recipes – Bethany Kehdy
This a book that combines recipes and culture, dishes learnt from her grandmother and stories from her parents and aunts and blend classic and contemporary to great effect for plenty of tempting Lebanese dishes as well as Moroccan and Persian too.
This book Meyer describes as a kind of manifesto; light sauces with low fat, pickling and curing as well as frying and braising, seasonality (of course) and as much energy from plants as possible and, if foraged, so much the better.
This is a book to revive jaded palates, to inspire new combinations and to give you ideas of what to do with that dill – scandis do love their dill.