Five Cookbooks To Enliven Your Lockdown
by Selina Parmar - Monday April 27, 2020 12:04 pm
With the closure of restaurants and the necessity of lockdown, we all face the challenge of coming up with ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, day in, day out, for who knows how long?
Grasp this opportunity with both hands – there has never been a better time to get creative with your cooking.Use these books to learn how to cook well so that you can master new recipes and invent your own.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat.
The best thing about this book is that it has both a theoretical and a practical approach to cooking.
In the first half of the book Nosrat gives you an understanding of how to cook by explaining the science behind how salt, fat, acid and heat affect food.
The second half is full of delicious recipes from all around the world so that you can put your new knowledge to the test.
My favourite recipes are the Blue Cheese Dressing which adds a salty richness to salads, and the Crispiest Spatchcocked Chicken which is a great, quick Sunday roast lunch option.
This book also contains anecdotes from Nosrat’s time at the legendary Chez Panisse restaurant, and it is reassuring to know that she’s had her fair share of culinary catastrophes.
Cooking is a process of trial and error, and mistakes in the kitchen are inevitable, just believe in yourself and try again!ISBN: 1782112308
Jacques Pepin’s New Complete Techniques
This book is written by a master of culinary technique, Jacques Pepin, whose skill can be witnessed in numerous YouTube videos.
Use his videos and this book to perfect techniques that are crucial to good cooking, such as how to sharpen your knives, how to chop vegetables, and how to prepare poultry, meat and fish.
Bread, pasta, pastry and desserts are also explored in great detail, and there is a simple, delicious apple tart recipe.ISBN: 1579129110
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
Possibly the most-well known book on this list thanks to the film Julie & Julia, Mastering the Art of French Cooking is similar to Pepin’s New Complete Techniques, and the two cooks were indeed good friends.
Child’s book differs from Pepin’s in that it contains more recipes and has chapters on kitchen equipment, wine, and a comprehensive section on sauces.
From a simple béchamel to the more temperamental beurre blanc, you will learn how a great sauce can transform a dish.
This book is full of classic French recipes – from Onion Soup to Crêpes Suzette – that will add a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to your culinary repertoire.
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
If you want to learn the secrets of great Italian cooking, read this book.
Hazan begins with the fundamentals of Italian cooking where she describes how the various regions with their different landscapes have produced an extremely diverse cuisine.
Hazan proceeds to explain the three basic techniques of Italian cooking – battuto, soffritto and insaporire – and then describes several key ingredients including balsamic vinegar, capers and various herbs and cheeses.
Once you have grasped the essential elements of this cuisine, you can enjoy the recipes for soups, pasta, risottos and more.
Try the Fried Zucchini Sauce with Garlic and Basil recipe with pasta for a delicious dinner made from ingredients that you probably already have at home.
On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee
Revered by professional chefs, this book is a comprehensive guide to the science behind food.
McGee explains the chemical composition and reactions of various foods such as dairy products, eggs, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, grains and sugar and you can use this invaluable information to experiment with and bring the best out of ingredients.
An example of the usefulness of this book is when McGee explains how oil and egg yolks combine to make an emulsion so that you can make a beautiful glossy mayonnaise.
If the mayonnaise splits, fear not, because McGee explains how you can use emulsifiers such as mustard to create a stable emulsion.
This book will arm you with a fundamental understanding of ingredients so that you can cook with confidence and achieve fool-proof results.
Filled with diagrams, figures and sections on history, etymology, geography and more, this book makes for an intense but fascinating read.
Read Selina's blog frendialondon.com and follow on Instagram @frendialondon.