I have to admit, I am a cookbook fiend! I read them like novels, in bed, before I go to sleep. I love the stories that they tell and the magic of food and how it brings friends and family together. The shared experience of creating and consuming fabulous dishes cannot be beaten.
Who writes great cookbooks?
My number one cookbook writer is Nigella Lawson. She writes cookbooks that are easy to follow yet still produce amazing results. She has a number of fantastic cookbooks, including Feast, How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Bites, Forever Summer and How to Eat. She also has a range of DVDs that are wonderfully instructional and beautiful to watch. Not only does she teach her viewers how to make great yet easy food, she is really entertaining! If you are determined to cook like Nigella, you can also buy items from her range of cookware from eBay.com.au. She makes everything from espresso and latte mugs to chopping boards, serving platters, even measuring cups!
Another great food writer is of course Jamie Oliver. His success is in the simplicity of his recipes - quite often they only require a handful of ingredients and minimum preparation which, if you are as pressed for time as I am during the week, is an absolute godsend. Some of Jamie's better titles include The Naked Chef, Jamie's Dinners, Happy Days and Jamie's Italy (the last being the most recent). Again, there are also DVDs available that are really fun to watch.
Donna Hay is perhaps the modern day Australian doyenne of the kitchen. Not only does she have a successful magazine that is filled with wonderful recipes, she also has a number of books that are simple and produce wonderful results, and many of them are actually rather healthy as well. Donna got her start in the test kitchen at Marie Claire and wrote many of their cookbooks before ventuing out on her own to compile her magazine and write cookbooks. Some of her most notable books include Modern Classics 1and 2, Off the Shelf, The New Cook, and her most recent Ten Minute meals (recipes from her wildly successful magazine).
Margaret Fulton and Stephanie Alexander
Margaret and Stephanie have over the years truly transformed the way in which Australian eat. They have introduced us to the wonderful cuisines of the middle east, the mediterranean and africa while encouraging Australians to consume more and more fresh, local produce.
The Margaret Fulton Cookbook is something many people's mums would have had at home when they were growing up and the recipes still stand the test of time today, combining fresh flavours with wholesome ingredients. Stephanie Alexander is most notable for her wonderful book The Cooks Companion - what I consider to be the bible of modern day cooking. It organises recipes and preparation instructions alphabetically by ingredients.
Tessa Kiros is a new found pleasure of mine - she has three wonderful books that tell such wonderful stories: Falling Cloudberries, Apples for Jam and Twelve. All delve into the wonders of mediterranean cooking, particularly Italian food and rejoice in the use of seasonal produce.
One of Australia's most easy going chefs, Bill has a number of cafes around Sydney, a column on easy food in the Sydney Morning Herald and a TV show on Foxtel. Some of his better known cookbooks include bill's, Simply Bill and Bill's Open Kitchen. He is rekowned for making the fluffiest, most decadent scrambled eggs in Sydney as well as easy and delicious food.
Cookbooks make wonderful presents - for both people you love and for yourself! Food is such a wonderful experience to share with those around you and nothing gives me more staisfaction than preparing a meal that is to be enjoyed with friends and a great glass of wine!