Five cookbooks helping me get through the pandemic

My secret cookbook obsession is not a secret. It's hard to put into words just how much I love them. I love how the transport me to a faraway place and I am obsessed with the stories which come with each recipe. Food is so personal and so deeply ingrained into all cultures. I read them like novels and my favourite thing to do on a weekend afternoon is to read one cover to cover, making notes and googling the history behind each dish. However, I fear one day the house may collapse under the strain. They are in my kitchen, on my coffee table, under my bed, in my loft and hiding in the spare bedroom. One day I will get my dream kitchen with a library attached to house all my 300+ cookbooks. One day.


I have been a demon in the kitchen since we went into lockdown in the U.K. Cooking and baking is the only thing which seems to be keeping me sane right now. According to social media, it seems to be the same for a lot of you out there. Despite owning far too many cooking than a normal person should, I seem to be going back time and time again to the same ones. The cookbooks where I can pick any recipe at random and know it will always be a corker. The books with unidentified splashes on them, turned over pages and ineligible notes scribbled over the copy. They are the books which bring me comfort. Here are my top five cookbooks I wouldn't be without during a pandemic. What are your favourite cookbooks?

1. Ottolenghi's Simple
I simply adore this book and have done since I first got my grubby paws on it. I should really make that lemon and blueberry loaf cake again. There are a surprisingly good amount of recipes which can be made with store cupboard essentials and I have been taking full advantage of them. I've been really enjoying making the vegetable side dishes to enjoy with a BBQ in this warm weather.  Apart from the avocado butter, which was not worth the faff, everything I have cooked has come out perfect. Ottolenghi just has such a special way with flavours and he can do no wrong in my eyes. He is probably the food writer who I refer to the most in my cooking. We are an Ottolenghi household haha!

2. Meera Sodha's East
Admittedly I am cooking lots from this book because I am going to be reviewing it soon for my blog. But even if I wasn't, I would still be religiously flicking through the pages to hunt for something to cook. I didn't think anything would come close to my Fresh India book but Meera seems to have done it again with her latest offering. I love the fact she takes inspiration from all over Asia, putting her own spin on them. I am still raving about her mushroom bao. I can't believe I made bao! I just adore how she always puts fresh produce at the forefront of all her recipes. I feel we need all the veg in a time like this!

3. Rachel Allen's Home Baking
I love to bake and have never had as much time on my hands as I have now. So I seem to be baking non-stop! This is my favourite baking book. There is such a great range of bakes, from easy peasy to quite the challenge.  I love the combination of flavours she chooses. Her date and banana bread is a great riff on a classic. Over the next couple of weeks I want to try my hand at tackling the biscuits chapter. I don't really make many biscuits or cookies so would like to expand my repertoire.


4. Dishoom cookbook
Oh how I miss the London restaurant scene! Alas I shall have to just recreate it in my own house. This is such a beautiful cookbook, if not one of the most beautiful I own. It almost reads like a novel and the stories inside it are perhaps better than the recipes. It's given me such a yearning to visit Mumbai and see it for myself. The recipes are far from simple. But if you're looking to lose yourself for a few hours in your kitchen then this is the book for you. Some of the ingredients are obscure, unless you love to cook so you may have them, but they can easily be ordered online.

5. Meera Sodha's Fresh India
Two Meera books in one list! Can you tell I have a favourite? If you love India food then your collection really isn't complete without this in your collection. The ingredients are always so easy to find, recipes are easy to follow and there is a emphasis on vegetables. All three things which are essential in lockdown cooking. I haven't actually attempted anything from her pudding chapter so need to make that my mission over the next few weeks!

1 comment:

  1. Simple is my all-time fav cookbook! I really need to try some of the Meera Sodha recipes too...

    LIFE & LOVES: A Foodie Blog

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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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