People are always asking me which books are my favorites so I’ve finally had chance to write them down. Below are my all-time most loved and most used cookbooks. These are a fraction of my ever-growing collection but they are the ones I turn to time and time again when I want something good to eat or when I want to kickstart my imagination. Nigel and Jamie in particular have taught me more about what tastes good and what works well with what, giving me the freedom to experiment and come up with my own recipes. As I look at this list I realise this is also a list of lots of my favorite places to eat in London. All but Nigel and Nigella have places to eat so be sure to try everyone else’s places when you can.
Nigel Slater – All of his books are delicious to read. His recipes are simple and focus on great ingredients cooked simply as do mine. I’d start your collection with ‘Real Food’, ‘Real Cooking’ or ‘Kitchen Diaries’.
Nigella Lawson – The woman I dream of having as a sophisticated older sister. Her first book ‘How to Eat’ covers all bases beautifully. If you like to bake ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ is a great collection of recipes. I also love her more recent book ‘Kitchen’. My husband cooked a couple of recipes from her ‘Forever Summer’ book for the picnic when he proposed so that is a special one too.
Jamie Oliver – I am unashamed in my adoration of Mr Oliver (you will have seen him referenced in my Facebook posts, recipe emails and in class). All his books are brilliant but his ‘Jamie’s Italy’ has a special place in my heart and contains some of my most-cooked recipes of his. We took our, then 5 month old, son on a four-week road trip of Italy and France three years ago. We worked our way through ‘Jamie’s Italy’ on our little camping stove and still talk fondly about the amazing meals we had. If you want to master risotto this is for you.
Ottolenghi ‘Plenty’ – This book is a must for anyone wanting to expand the ways in which they eat veggies. His recipes make veggies the hero and will introduce you to all sorts of new flavors. His mini chain of cafés in London are heaven to visit too.
Ruth Rogers and Rose Grey – ‘The River Cafe cookbook’ – This is one of the first cookbooks I ever bought back when I was at University. I actually ended up working next door to the restaurant of the same name for many years in London and love recreating their take on simple Italian food from this book. The photography is gorgeous and the recipes are simple and delicious. Rose and Ruth’s kitchens have spawned so many cooks (Jamie Oliver, Theo Randall, April Bloomfield, Sam and Sam Clark, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall to name but a few) and their style influences so much English cooking today.
Allegra McEvedy ‘Leon Ingredients and recipes’ – A great family cookbook full of healthy food. From the gorgeous café of the same name in London. Oh how I miss their meatballs and slaw.
‘Casa Moro’ Sam and Sam Clark. I love the fact that the husband and wife team behind this london restaurant (Moro) have the same name but that aside, this book is a great introduction to food from the Mediterranean and Middle East and full of amazing recipes to help you travel without leaving home.