Anyone who knows me or has ever been to my home will know that I have a general book obsession. I have always loved to read and a trip to the local bookshop is one of my most favourite things ever. Therefore it makes sense that this should continue into the kitchen. There are a wealth of good online sources for recipes these days but you can't beat the feel of a real book. Hmmm maybe I should write one..... : )
When we had our kitchen refitted last year, open cookbook storage was a must. I love it when I have the time to spread my books out across the kitchen table with a good cup of coffee and plan my weeks meals (n.b this most definitely does not happen ever week!)
I believe a good cookbook should be more than just a collection of recipes no matter how good they are. For me I like to read the story behind the book and I want to understand the author's love of food and their journey. There doesn't need to be a dramatic back story, I just want to connect a little with the author. I also need a lot of photographs. I have bought many books over the years with great recipes but few photos and found they get relegated to the back of the shelf despite my best intentions. I enjoy the visual inspiration from the images and am always inspired to improve my own photography skills!
The following are a collection of my most used favourites; the ones I return to again and again. They are full of scribbles and ratings and recipe modifications, turned down corners and food spillages. Not all of the books are vegan or even vegetarian but all are filled with page upon page of delicious recipes. Any one of them would make a wonderful gift for a friend, vegan or otherwise. Please do get in touch and share your recommendations.
A Modern Way to Eat - Anna Jones
This wonderful book is the first of Anna's two with the second being 'A Modern Way to Cook'. There are so many fabulous recipes it is really hard to choose a favourite. The flavour combinations are just wonderful and many of the dishes have become firm family favourites. I was lucky enough to go on a cookery course hosted by Anna and her approach to cooking greatly inspired me to continue with this journey.
Favourite recipes: Dhal with crispy sweet potato and quick coconut chutney pg 128
Peace and Parsnips - Lee Watson
It is hard to pick up this book and not be drawn in by the wonderful photographs and travel stories, plus Lee's enormous smile! The recipes often have a long list of ingredients but are undoubtedly work the time and effort. Also check out the sesame and sweetcorn pancakes, they came a close second to the sausages!
Favourite recipe - Chestnut, Millet and Sage Sausages with Homemade Raw Ketchup pg 57
The Plant Powered Way - Rich Roll and June Piatt
This is a great resource not only for wonderful plant based recipes but also includes huge amounts of information with regards to the plant based lifestyle, ingredients and cooking methods. This would be a great book to share with people just beginning the transition to a healthier lifestyle. Being a runner myself I found his story of particular interest and one I have gone back to again and again.
Favourite recipe - Kids' Mac and Cashew Cheese pg 204
River Cottage Veg Every Day - Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
A kitchen staple, this book is full of vibrant simple recipes that you literally could use everyday. Although vegetarian not vegan, most recipes can be easily adapted. I particularly like the hearty salad and hefty soup sections.
Favourite recipe - North African Squash and Chickpea Stew pg 30
Plenty - Yotam Ottolenghi
In true Ottolenghi style the recipes in this book are generally time consuming with lots of ingredients but are so delicious and well worth the effort. Many of the salads are great for making as large platters and entertaining when you have a crowd to impress. The paella has been a dinner party centre piece on a couple of occasions and the pan has been licked clean!
Favourite Recipe - Multi Vegetable Paella pg 80
Anjums Indian Vegetarian Feast - Anjum Anand
A wonderful friend gave this book to me last year. She had bought it for herself but said she realised she was far more likely to taste the delicious recipes if she gave it to me and I could invite her over! It has been very well used since that day and she has indeed often been round for dinner. A well stocked Indian pantry and lots of spices are needed but make the initial investment and you'll never buy processed Indian food again. the flavours are fresh and delicious and a joy to cook.
Favourite Recipe - Royal Raita (made with coconut yoghurt) pg 133
The Sprouted Kitchen - Sara Forte
I was bought this book as a gift from my husband for my birthday last year but somehow it had hidden away on the shelf and not really read. I rediscovered it a few weeks ago and now I can't put it down. The treats section is a particular favourite with the lemon cremes soon to appear on our new supper club menu.
Favourite Recipe - Dairy Free Lemon Cremes with Oat-Thyme Crumble
Vegan Richa's indian Kitchen
The newest book to my collection, I bought this after reading rave reviews online. Her blog has been a long time favourite and the book certainly lives up to the hype. I have a whole list of recipes on the list to try and love the simple, easy to use design of this book. If you love Indian food, this is a must.
Favourite Recipe - Chickpea Spinach Stew with Lentils and Quinoa
Dough - Richard Bertinet
This book is so jam packed full of gorgeous breads, you'll never want to buy a loaf again. The simple ingredients comparison in the introduction reminds you of the importance or making your own wherever possible and steering clear of processed loaves for both taste and health reasons. Since my son has been unable to eat gluten we have unfortunately used the book less because as a family we try to eat less bread. Purely so as not to make him feel bad as we eat these delicious breads in front of him! That said this is always the book I turn to for entertaining and the pizza recipe is in my eyes unbeatable as are the sesame and aniseed breadsticks.
Favourite Recipe - Pizza pg 84
Vegetarian Tagines and Couscous - Ghillie Basan
I received this book one Christmas as a gift from my parents along with a beautiful terracotta tagine. Since then I have cooked many of the recipes and am pleased to say I have mastered the art of proper couscous! it truly tastes sooo much better when you cook and season it correctly. The tagines are a big hit with the kids and many are full of simple everyday ingredients. a real winner.
Favourite Recipe - Carrot and Potato Tagine with Peas pg 83