Food

#175 My Favourite Cookery Books

During my hiatus i’ve been really inspired to come up with different posts that aren’t all reviews and events. I also have a few new monthly projects starting. I’ll be retiring my The Friday Five in it’s old format in favor of a new one and I’ll be saying bye to my Weekly Wardrobe for good instead i’ll simply for outfit posts as and when I shoot them.

Today I thought i’d share with you my favourite cookbooks. As you can see I have managed to collect a fair few in the nine years since I first moved out. I did originally have more.. but when I was moving a few years back, an ex boyfriend I was living with at the time packed them underneath a six pack of cans which exploded destroying some of my faithful cookbooks I’d picked up while at university, including my favourite ever mexican cookbook! ANYWAY, I digress, I love a cookbook and every year without fail I will ask for at least one from my parents and even when I don’t they usually buy me one anyway. 
So why do I like a cookbook? I mean nowadays you can basically find a recipe for anything on the net! And I admit, I do use the net to look up recipes, but usually the really basic ones such as “how to make perfect scrambled eggs” or “how to make bechamel sauce from scratch” (these are both things I have actually googled!) I like to have a cookbook because I like nothing better than going through a recipe book and marking out my favourite recipes with post it strips. I don’t know why, but it’s just something I enjoy doing. Then when I’m doing my shopping list I like to sit down with a couple of recipe books and decide what i’m going to make that week. 

I also love cookery books because growing up my mum only had one. A very old Mary Berry cookbook that she never used. I think I used it more when I taught myself to cook at 15/16. She rarely cooked from scratch. Now I don’t want to critise my mum because she was the best mum ever and if I’m ever half the mum she is I’d still be a bloody fantastic mum.. but I do wish she’d cooked. We lived of fish finger/pizza fingers/chicken fingers with fritters/alphabites/chips and beans/spaghetti hoops/mushy peas.. I am one of these people who gets bored fast with food so I think I did a LOT of moaning. As soon as I was old enough to be trusted in the kitchen I taught myself to cook. It was a slow progress and I did most of my experimenting when I left home and could shop for myself. Now I’m a revered cook amongst my family and my friends i’ve happened to cook for, not revered enough though that i’d ever want it as a career! 
Anyway, that’s the story about my love of cookbooks! As you know from the recipes i’ve put up here, I rarely follow any to the letter but I usually adapt them to make my own. So these are a few of my favourites that I find myself reaching for again and again. 

Although I have most of Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks, Nigella Express is by far my favourite. I love Nigella, she is by far my favourite “celebrity” chef and I can watch her tv shows over and over again. She is the queen of food porn and I only have praise for the woman (and empathy after what’s happened recently). Anyway, Nigella Express is a collection of meals that are aimed at people who don’t have much time to spend cooking but want delicious food anyway.  They’re also a hell of a lot more attainable than say Jamie Oliver’s. Although I’m not that person and I can spend hours slaving over a meal I do like the simplicity of them.. and like with all Nigella’s recipes, they taste so bloody good! There is also a section at the back about simple entertaining during the festivities, I cannot wait to give the recipes a go in my wee house this Christmas.

My favourite recipe in the book is actually a vegetarian one, Linguine with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Mushrooms, although I have made it with chicken. It is so achievable and tastes amazing.

As a rule of thumb, I’m not a huge Delia Smith fan, I find her recipes complicated and there isn’t many that I usually like when I have a flick through her books. However, I LOVE her How to Cheat at Cooking book. I have tried so many recipes out of this book and it’s one of my go to books when I’m writing my weekly shopping list as so many of the recipes use stuff I pretty much always have in my cupboards for every day use. How to Cheat at Cooking is a book aimed at people who want to make fantastic meals but don’t want to put in all the hard work. It’s for the 21st century man or woman.. or even student.. who wants to do one shop and fill the cupboards without buying all the specialist ingredients. It is a must have book especially for all those busy mummy’s out there, this book is especially good for you lot!

I could pick LOADS of favourite recipes from in here, but the one I have made the most is the Cracked Potatoes with Melting Cheese & Spring Onions, it is one of the most delicious sides ever or works well as a quick lunch. The photo itself is making me suddenly feel starving!

Now onto my favourite book for when it comes to baking cakes, The Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home book. I’ve always wanted a Hummingbird Bakery cookbook but I never got around to getting one as baking really isn’t my forte. However, this one was on offer for £8 in Tesco earlier this year and I got a voucher through the post for an extra £2 off so at £6 I really couldn’t say no! A lot of the recipes are complicated in it and I would of been really put off a few years ago, but I’m gradually working up my confidence to try new recipes all the time. I baked the Cookies and Cream cake for my sisters birthday in July and it turned out amazingly, everyone who tried it said it was the best cake they’d ever eaten haha. I can’t for my nephew’s birthday next month for when I can try something else! Home Sweet Home isn’t just cakes, it has biscuits, pies and even puddings so there is probably something everyone can try in it.

My favourite recipe the Strawberry Milkshake Cupcakes, I just baked last night for the picnic i’m going on with Little Miss, my sister and nephew today and although I don’t think they ever taste as “milkshakey” as they should, they’re so moreish and easy to bake.

Finally, I think I might have a problem with the amount of Gordon Ramsay cookbooks I own.. my total is currently running at nine which I think is over half the ones he has published, the rest are on my Amazon wishlist. Although I do find a lot of his recipes quite a lot more complicated than what my little kitchen can handle, I can’t not like his food or his books. I find his recipes simple to follow and give great results. I’ve struggled to pick just one favourite so i’m going to share my two favourites, Fast Food and Healthy Eating. Fast Food was the first ever “celebrity” chef cook book I got. An ex bought it for me when I was obsessed with the F Word as it contains recipes off of there. It has some fantastically easy meals for a novice cook like I was at the time. Healthy Eating is my go to cookbook when I’m on a dieting kick, the recipes are tasty, filling and still healthy so I always use it when it comes to finding something for my evening meal.

My favourite recipe from Fast Food is the No Bake Berry Cheesecake. This is my dad’s all time favourite cheesecake and I ALWAYS make it for him. It’s become a bit of a signature dessert. In Healthy Eating, my favourite is the Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Sage and Parma Ham, goes fantastically with Parmesan polenta chips.

And there we have it, my favourite cookbooks and favourite recipes from them. I hope this has inspired you to get yourself a new cookbook and get experimenting in the kitchen! I though I’d leave you with a few of the cookery books that are currently floating around my amazon wishlist.

Ella’s Kitchen Cook Book // Food Glorious Food // Nigella Christmas
Mary Berry’s Cookery Course // Mexican Food Made Simple // The Great British Bake Off Learn To Bake
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