Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Your Favourite Cookery Book?

Oh dear, you get to see my very untidy book shelves!

I have a ridiculous amount of cookery books, I just can't resist!  It isn't helped by certain book sellers who leave books at the places I work.  I walk past the pile of books, determined I will not even look, but that doesn't last long.  I think, I will just look, I won't buy.  Ha! The little voice in my head says, 'but they are so cheap' which they are.  Before I can stop myself, I am writing my name on the order form and popping my money in the envelope.  Damn it.

I sit and pour over the beautifully photographed food, marking pages that I would like to try.  Do I use these recipes?  Well no, not very often.  It is usually the case of what have I got in the fridge/store cupboard and what can I throw on the table as quickly as possible because I'm tired and hungry.  I usually don't have the ingredients, or it would cost a fortune, or I'm trying to lose weight and they are full of delicious, but fattening food.

I have decided on yet another challenge (probably not a good idea, I put myself under far too much pressure already).  I will try to use a recipe from one of the books once a week.  It means I will have to be organised and make sure I have the ingredients, and have the time and energy, but I will give it a go.

Looking at my books, I think Delia is the one that I often turned to in the past for good basic recipes.   River Cottage veg has been used a few times. Yotam Ottolenghi has wonderful recipies, but the ingredients lists are daunting.  I turn to the gluten free books sometimes for ideas, and the Indian cookery books, as they are often gluten free and I love Indian food.

I had a huge clear out of cookery books last year as some of them just seemed so dated and not what we would eat now.  Trends change so much in what we eat.  I still cook some of the simple basics that my mum used to cook, stews, roasts, (vegetarian versions) rice pudding in my slow cooker.  But a lot of the ingredients we use now would seem very strange to cooks of the past.  I use a lot of pulses, polenta, tofu, and have a huge amount of  indian spices. Of course I eat a lot of veg, but they were often boiled to within an inch of their lives a few years ago.  I can remember the veg we had in school dinners YUK.  I hated veg as a child, but now literally drool when the veg box arrives.  No, I don't grow enough to be self sufficient you won't be surprised to hear, not even carrots!

So if I had to choose one cookery book to keep and had to get rid of all the rest, what would it be?  It is a difficult choice but I would choose River Cottage Veg, because it is full of things that I can actually eat, and so many ideas to use the veg.

The folder underneath is full of recipes cut out of magazines, and yes it does need a tidy and dust :) There are more cookery books scattered around the house!

If you had to choose just one cookery book, which one would you choose?

Chickpea xx

Welcome to flourgirl :)


  1. That's a difficult question - I love all my cookbooks. Perhaps I would choose Tender part two by Nigel Slater... or Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros...
    I also find I like different books for different reasons: not only the recipes, but also the writing or the photography. xxx

  2. Oh My Word, that is a leading question, I just had to go and look at my bookshelves, Nigel,s kitchen Diaries is well used,Diners, Drive- ins and Dives features regularly. If pushed though like you I would plump for a River Cottage book, and I would be tossing a coin between Everyday and River Cottage year.

  3. dusting tidying ? I don`t like the sound of those two words not at this time of the year winter yes

  4. I am going to show myself up here Chickpea but here goes:
    'How to boil an egg' by Jan Arkless - I could not be without it.
    Am now progressing to a 2nd hand book I found 'The Dairy book of home cookery'.


  5. I have experience of 10 years shelf tidying in libraries,if that's any help! :-)
    My most used is a folder full of cuttings, photocopies and scribbles collected over 30+ years

  6. I have three shelves of cookery books. There is a recipe or two in each of them that I cook from time to time but mostly, I cook from memory. I also have my own cookery book in which I note down my favourites, or I stick in photocopies of the one recipe in the cookbook on the shelf (quicker to find!). There is also a selection of magazine cuttings and blog recipes in there. So I think my own book would be the one I keep for practical reasons more than anything. It is not pretty unfortunately. x

  7. Some interesting cook books I have never heard of, I will be looking them up.....but not buying them of course. I like watching Nigel Slaters programmes but don't actually have any of his books for some reason.

    Boiling an egg is quite hard to get perfect hazzy :)

    I think you need to come around and tackle my shelves Sue. I can never remember recipes Christina, which is why things turn out different every time.

    I tried to avoid doing them at anytime David :)

    Thanks for the replies, I don't feel so bad about having so many cookery books now x

  8. have you made the spouffle from Veg, it's great, my children love it, even though they don't like spinach! I use my incredibly old milk marketing board dairy home baking book more than anything else I think, it is perfect as a basic reference.

  9. I haven't made the spouffle Driftwood, I have spinach to pick and I could make it with GF pasta so I will give it a go :)

  10. I do like and use River Cottage Veg quite a lot, but the most used books in my house are the Happy Herbivore series xxx

  11. Before I had even read this post I was thinking my answer would be River Cottage Veg... Everything I've ever made from this book, and I've made a lot, has been wonderful. I've got far too many cookbooks too!

  12. Loads of cookery books here to, its hard to choose a favourite, I like Better than Store Bought its an american book, I also ten to go for my Slow Cooker One Pot and Casserole book, I suppose my most used one is my little black note book that I write recipes I have changed and use a lot ever since the kids were little.

  13. I've not heard of the Happy Herbivore series Fran, I will look those up.

    River Cottage Veg is full of things I think mmmmm I would like to eat that Gina.

    It is great that people use notebooks to keep their recipes in Dawn. I wish my mum had done that, her recipes were all in her head so they are lost now.

  14. I do like River Cottage Veg, but I love love love all books by Bill Granger and cook from all those that I have often, they are recipes that are easy, tasty, not full of weird ingredients, or lots of ingredients and can generally be pulled together with little or no planning. I have loads of cook books though, so really I would have to keep them all! xx

  15. This so odd that you are doing this too as just yesterday I got all my cook books and bagged them up for the charity shop! Well I left myself two, they have accumulated over the years and are never used. I often make stuff up or many recipes can be easily found online. No need for the clutter. x


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