There’s a real sea-change in my cooking at this time of year. I want brighter, fresher meals and newer, interesting flavours. And while the weather over Easter left a lot to be desired, it also left me a bit of time, while waiting for my slow-cooked lamb, to wade through the enormous pile of new books I’ve received recently, to find the best ones just for you (you’re welcome).
First up, then is Bill Cooks for Kids. I love Bill Granger’s food, and he certainly fits the ‘brighter, fresher’ theme very well. His new book is jammed full of really great, interesting recipes to cook with children and I love that there are some more complex flavours in amongst the more simple cakes and biscuits: spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, ricotta, spinach and Pecorino is easy to cook, but Bill makes it much more interesting (and appealing to adults to) by roasting the cherry tomatoes with garlic and red onion first. If you’re looking for simple, fresh suppers and rainy-day baking, look no further. A great book with Bill Granger’s easy style and bright, stylish photography. Loved it.
Bill Cooks for Kids is out 10th May, currently priced £6.79 on Amazon.
Claudia Roden’s new book, The Food of Spain, is nothing short of a magnum opus. This absolute feast for the eyes took, apparently over five years of research, and it shows. Roden travelled extensively around Spain to bring us delicious, traditional dishes from every region, plus interesting commentary and fascinating notes on ingredients. This book is a MONSTER. I’m only about a third of the way through but so far I’ve marked so many pages of incredible food – I’ll be working through it for a while. The papas arrugadas y mojos canarios reminded of my Disreputable Dad, who adores the salty Canarian potatoes, while the almond ice cream takes me straight back to the Majorcan holidays of my youth. I can’t wait to dive into a proper paella and the Catalonian chocolate and almond cake looks utterly sumptuous. With gorgeous photography and Roden’s trademark attention to detail, I reckon this is a must-buy for anyone who adores food.
The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden is out now, hardback priced £15.00 on Amazon.
Donna Hay is another writer who consistently produces beautiful, inspiring cookery books and her new offering, Seasons, doesn’t disappoint. The photography is gorgeous and the recipes, while being garnered mainly from her eponymous magazine, will be new to most of us here. As it’s (obviously) split into seasons, this is the book to grab NOW for inspiration for fresh new dishes for spring. The coconut bread (made with buttermilk and ground almonds) is an absolute delight and the pan-fried salmon with fennel salad has already been bookmarked for one of this week’s suppers. My one complaint is that the book is so massive, it’s difficult to perch somewhere in the kitchen while you’re cooking! It’s actually quite magazine-like in its feel (if not its weight!) and I love Hay’s choices of recipes – from easy midweek suppers to gorgeous dinner party blowouts.
Seasons by Donna Hay is out now, priced £14.48 on Amazon.
Last, but my no means least, and actually quite Claudia Roden-like in its delivery, is my surprise of the season: Cooking from the Heart: A Jewish Journey Through Food, by Hayley Smorgon and Gaye Weeden. This is another epic tome, but if you’re a bit of a food buff, like me, you’ll adore reading the stories of the Jewish people in the book (who all ultimately ended up in Australia) and sharing in their stories and family recipes. You know me: I love a bedside book with proper food stories, and this is one to get lost in. There are plenty of what you would consider classic Jewish dishes, but lots of fabulous fusion too. Utterly adorable and addictive: buy it for someone you love.
Cooking from the Heart is available now, priced £22.63 on Amazon.