Looking for last minute gift ideas for food lovers who read cookbooks like novels? Check out these great cookbooks and cookbook apps.
Looking for last minute gift ideas for food lovers? Check out these great cookbooks and cookbook apps. I read cookbooks like some people read novels, and I love ones that share stories and knowledge and give me a real sense of the writers’ personalities. That’s why I love these three new releases. If you’re shopping for someone who already has more cookbooks than they know what to do with – or someone who prefers to get their cooking inspiration digitally – I’ve got you covered too, read on!
Of course the ideal gift for any keen cook is a gift certificate for a year of culinary inspiration exploring the cuisines of the world through recipes + cooking videos, perfect for all ages anywhere in the world (no postage required).
Here are five more great gifts for recipe lovers.
Ester by Mat Lindsay with Pat Nourse
Just reading Mat Lindsay’s introduction to this book will make you a better cook! I’ve never read an opening chapter so full of simple but essential wisdom: like taste, taste, then taste again; how to season properly; and when to add lime juice (at the very end). And I love anyone who applies my favourite Coco Chanel quote to cooking: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Less is more. There’s so much knowledge here beyond recipes, from how to render fat and bone a cooked whole fish to how to season a cast-iron pan. Pat Nourse, Mat’s wingman on this project, says Ester is “by no means the defining Australian restaurant but … [embodies] many of the qualities that are starting to coalesce into an Australian way of doing things.” And this is an obviously Australian cookbook, celebrating generosity, flavour and a very Aussie laid-back approach to cooking and eating (use your hands). You have to love a cookbook with an entire chapter dedicated to toast and what to put on it (not avocado). Whether you want to master complex squid dumplings with a pork and squid filling (the only recipe other than chocolate crackles I’ve ever seen that uses copha) or whip up a simple orange, witlof and fennel salad or roasted mango for Sunday night supper, you’ll find a lot to love in this inspiring book.
The Best Things In Life Are Cheese by Ellie & Sam Studd
‘How can four ingredients speak so many languages’ ask the Studd Siblings, quoting their mentor Cathy Strange. More than just great recipes and a great overview of the world’s best cheeses, this delightful book by the children of cheese guru and activist Will Studd is a compelling call to appreciate the mystical world of cheese. It’s written in a refreshing conversational tone, with lots of great tips on pairing cheese, condiments and drinks, plus extra cheese-nerdy stuff like a flavour/aroma wheel. Understand the controversial ‘raw milk’ debate and the reactions when the sibling’s father was threatened with 10 years’ jail for importing Roquefort; learn to tell your brie from your camembert and parmigiano from grana Padano; and the key to becoming ‘an accomplished host who looks like they have their shit together’ (preparation). Most of the recipes are simple and highly-achievable, from making labneh and paneer to a Brillat-Savarin Basque cheesecake. Some of my faves are baked cheese in its box; Monterey jack, mozzarella and kim chi jaffles (from the Midnight Snacks chapter); and Aligot (the most decadent cheesey mashed potato ever). If you love cheese, you’ll adore this book.
Boronia Kitchen The Cookbook by Simon Sandall
Simon Sandall made his name as Matt Moran’s right hand, but when he moved out on his own in 2018 he went suburban casual rather than city fine-dining, opening Boronia Kitchen in Hunter’s Hill. BK is more than a restaurant, it’s an integral part of a community that brings family and friends together around a table of food prepared with love – and Simon’s first cookbook reflects that love and care. Whether you’re whipping up a quick garlic mushrooms on toast, taking the journey to create 3-hour-braised beef with accompaniments that involve seven other elements and sauces, or just leafing through the artistically-presented plates for inspiration, you’ll find a lot to love and share with loved ones in this beautiful book. Being a quick’n’easy kind of cook, I’m in love with everything in the Sides chapter, and if I’m making one dessert it’s the simple crème Catalan with burnt fig and PX syrup!
Eat Your Books
Eat Your Books is a fabulous website where you list your cookbooks, food magazines and favourite food websites (like mine) and can then access an index of the recipes that are in them. The EYB Team has indexed over 1.8 million recipes in over 160,000 cookbooks so you can find the recipes you want when you want them. Use code BIBR30 for a FREE 1-month Premium Membership – I’ll step you through how it works here.
Like Spotify for cookbooks, ckbk gives you access to unabridged digitised copies of top cookbooks (including the ones by these guys). The small UK-based team works with publishers and authors to license the best classic and contemporary cookbooks in the English language. Use code ROBERTA to receive a 25% discount on annual or monthly membership and have thousands of recipes in hundreds of out of print classics and best sellers at your fingertips, all fully searchable.