Sunday, 8 June 2014

10 books you'll see in my Kitchen Library

I love my kitchen, its my happy place, where I love to experiment with different recipes, whip up delicious simple food, bake my cakes, decorate them, give them colour, and then do my happy dance when I see what I have accomplished. My kitchen is filled with baking paraphernalia and I have one shelf dedicated to all my cookbooks. I have a weakness for recipe books. I think I bought my first one when I was 9 and I wrote down recipes from books and Tv shows from the time I was 8. . . .  20 years later, I still find myself going ga ga over recipe books and religiously writing down recipes from shows.

I know very well I have enough and more recipes to try for the next 30 years but I got to admit that this does not stop me from buying more. I used to be a sort of reader, not avid though, but I did read a lot, specially thru college and I'd buy a lot of books, of all kinds. Psychology, self help, poems, literature, philosophy, humour, I enjoyed reading, buuuuut in the last two years, I have mostly read only cookbooks, almost ONLY cookbooks. I did read two Chicken soup for the soul books this year. Funny, . . . .  coz it says chicken soup. On any given day you'll see a cookbook by my table, or bedside. I'm so glad to have these books, although obviously I will never be able to try all the recipes they contain, they are great inspiration for new ideas and recipes. So here are ten of my most loved kitchen books. This is going to be a long post, if you will just, indulge me.

In no specific order then :

1.  Home Sweet Home. By Tarek Malouf and The hummingbird Bakers
You can buy it here

I first heard of the hummingbird bakery when I saw it on a TV show on TLC I think. I was mesmerized by the cupcakes on display, the colours and the touch of charm in their store. Apparently, it is Britain's favourite bakery. Looking at the book, I can see why. Home sweet home, is the third cookbook by The Hummingbird Bakery. As the name suggests, the book is specially written for home bakers, and it has a gorgeous collection of cupcakes, cakes, cheesecakes,  cookies, biscuits, pies, cobblers, tray bakes, puddings, sweets and contains even a small selection of savoury bakes. What more would you want in one single baking cookbook. It has both classic and modern recipes, and I just love love love their cupcake section. They're the kind of recipes that make you want to just get baking. I have tried and enjoyed making their peach cobbler, salted caramel cupcakes, chocolate truffle cookies and many more. And still there are soooooo many more I want to try ; Flourless chocolate cake, Key lime cupcakes, peanut butter cheesecake....... If you're looking to bake classic bakes,  a variety of modern recipes,with easily available ingredients,(mostly), and simple recipes, you're going to love this book.

2. Baking : From my home to yours. By Dorie Greenspan.
You can buy it here

This is yet another baking bible for sweets and desserts. What sets this book apart is the way the recipes are written, it's like having a friend in the kitchen, one who is an expert in the kitchen and who can tell you the best way to bake something. Her recipes are detailed, and when I say detailed, they are really detailed. She doesn't  miss out on even telling you to stand back while making a caramel sauce as the mixture will bubble furiously, or not to worry as a pudding mixture curdles as it boils. It's details like these that reassure you that the recipes in her book are tried and tested, and have been made perfect for you. Lots of recipes to choose from; cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, tarts, puddings and much more. If you're looking to make a dessert or bake something sweet, you'll definitely find something here.

3.  Falling Cloudberries: A world of family recipes by Tessa Kiros
Have a look at it here

Now here's a  book that is more than a cookbook. It's a story of generations, of travel, of family heritage with anecdotes and the history behind a recipe. This is the kind of book, you want to pick to read on a pleasant rainy day, when reading it transports you to a world of food tales. Tessa Kiros, was born in London, to a Finnish mother and a Greek Cypriot father and has lived in South Africa and Italy. So you understand the diversity in her collection. Her book is a reflection of her growing up years, of family recipes that have passed on thru generations and of little food anecdotes. Some of my favourites from this book are her recipes for Finnish Mustard, Pineapple, Cinnamon and allspice cake and Cypriot baked lamb. A very comforting and soulful book.

4. Cake by Rachel Allen.
It is available at Amazon

You've heard me talk a lot about this book, so you saw this coming. Cake is absolutely delightful. My sister gifted me this book last Christmas and what a cherished gift it is. I know you have heard me say it before, but let me just say it again,  I loooooove Rachel Allen. Though I watch a lot of cooking shows, there are very few recipes I try from them, and those recipes are Rachel Allen's. I love her recipes because they are simple, made with easily available ingredients and are very encouraging to home bakers. Her book 'cake' is filled with all sorts of cake recipes, right from tea cakes like apple and walnut to decadent ones like chocolate, rum and almond cake to classic ones; baked alaska and carrot cake and so many more. Have it around and you'll always have a cake you want to try.

5. Essential Baking: Published by Murdoch Books.
If you want to add it to your wishlist, check this

I came across this book at a book store and I just couldn't leave it behind. It's a baking guide, that covers all kinds of baking. More than for its recipes, I picked up this book because, it has detailed instructions for all kinds of baking and recipes with photos that really help. From making puff pastry from scratch, to getting a souffle to rise, to the common baking mistakes we need to avoid, it has evvverything. Really!!!!!! Everything.. I read instructions in this book before I begin some new baking technique and I'm assured I can't go wrong. If you love to bake anything and everything and want to get one book that has all your basic baking recipes, this is THE book for you.

6. Cookery Book: Mangalore Ladies club....
I found my copy at this store in Mangalore

I'm an amateur cook. I love simple recipes and shortcuts to complex ones and this is exactly why I love this book. The cover of the book is in the tatters as a testimony of my usage. It has all the recipes an amateur cook will love to try. Cakes, Indian food, sweets, continental and yes a section dedicated to traditional mangalorean cooking, which is what I use most. This is one of my earliest cookbooks and definitely remains very special. This book has recipes that come straight from  mangalorean kitchens and homes where food is a way of celebration.

7. Gordon Ramsay: Ultimate cookery course....
Read a sample of the book here

The name's Ramsay... Gordon Ramsay and you just can't ignore him. I had watched Ramsay on Hell's kitchen, Ramsay's kitchen nightmares and Masterchef , and it was obvious he was a man of fury. It was only when I watched his Ultimate cookery course show that I saw this amazing chef with a insatiable passion for food and a side to him that was so in contrast to that angry chef we had seen all this time. I loved this show and also his show home cooking. Loads of recipes, techniques, and skills, all from the man himself. Hubby darling got me this book; he just couldn't avoid the crazy hints I was dropping all over the place of how much I loved this book and how it would be perfect in my kitchen. This book is about great food, made in the best way possible, with good ingredients and cooked to perfection. You can see why it's been named the Ultimate cookery course. I love this book because it adds taste to my collection and glancing at it in my kitchen makes me happppppy..................

8. Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Julia Child.
You can find it here

I first heard of Julia Child when I watched the movie Julia and Julia and since then her book was on the top of my wishlist. I was overjoyed when my sister found this book for me. It is one of those classic must haves books. Her recipes are complex and very honest to French cuisine and I must admit, I've found it hard to convince myself to try a lot of her recipes but I still love this book, because you just have to have it. It's detailed, it's filled with techniques and there are no short cuts to a great dish here. But what you will love is  this woman's passion and knowledge for French cuisine. It leaves you amazed. And despite the complex nature of her recipes I have enjoyed making a few of her recipes, souffle de saumon, Poulet Roti a la Normade'( so fancy... It's roast chicken with cream and herbs) Lemon tart and some more. Of course in each I had to adapt the recipe using ingredients that were available. This book is not for everyday cooking but for those absolutely show stoppers you want to make once in a while.

9. The chef by Isidore Coelho:
I actually found an edition available

 My mum says when she came to mangalore as a young bride, in the late 70's, almost every mangalorean catholic home had a copy of this book. "The chef" has several editions and has been reprinted numerous times with new additions of recipes every time. Filled with  recipes;  vegetarian, poultry, lamb, soups, salads, breads, baking, it's hard not to find a traditional recipe you want to try. My darling mum has given me her copy and I treasure it for it's sheer vintage feel, and because it's a story of tradition, nostalgia and heritage.

10. The Cook's Encyclopedia by Gunter Beer and Patrick Jaros.
I could find it only here

Now this is a real encyclopedia. Another very cherished Christmas gift, I received from my brother-in-law. I had just started my blog and was immersed watching every possible cooking show and trying out an insane amount of recipes when I was gifted this book, also the Australian  Masterchef show was an addiction then. When I first read this book, the first thing that struck me was that it had almost every recipe and technique featured in the masterchef series. This book has EVERYTHING. Do you hear me? I said EVERYTHING. It's the cook's bible, it has the recipe for every classic you ever heard of; Hollaindaise, Carpaccio, Gazpacho,  Bouillabaisse, Paella, Bolognese, Swiss roll, Panna cotta. With plenty of pictures. step by step instructions and techniques, it teaches you a lot need to learn about cooking. I love this book for it's knowledge and authenticity. Though I have tried only few recipes from this book, it's my go to book to learn everything I need to know about cooking.

So I leave you with this list of my favorites. Are you tempted to read any.? Do you have a favourite cookbook, that you absolutely adore and consider a must have for every kitchen. I would love to hear from you. Leave your comments here or email me.

Till then Happy Cooking.....

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