I have an extensive collection of cookbooks and I buy new books regularly. Over here I give a selection of those that I think are worth buying.
Baking Bible – Mary Berry
All the great British classics, by one of the judges of the ‘Great British Bake-off’.
The Conran cookbook – Terence Conran, Caroline Conran, Simon Hopkinson
The first part of this book consists of an extensive encyclopedia on all kinds of ingredients and how to buy and prepare them. The second part consists of recipes, divided into stocks, soups, sauces, fish, shellfish, meat, game, poultry, pies and pate, eggs, cheese, pasta, rice and grains and pulses, breads, salads, vegetables, desserts and puddings, ice-creams, pastries, cakes and biscuits, and preserves; both giving general preparation methods and specific recipes. A great all-round cookbook with recipes for about anything, both classic and modern.
The professional pastry chef – Bo Friberg
For the occasional baker this book is overkill, but for the serious baker this is a great book. Lots of recipes on all aspects of baking (bread and pastry), with extensive backgrounds. I placed the second part of this book, the advanced professional pastry chef, on my wish-list. Although the book is meant to be used by professionals, most recipes are small enough to make for a home baker (or the small batch recipe is given), or can be divided easily.
100 Great Breads – Paul Hollywood
A great selection of breads, both savory and sweet, by one of the judges of the ‘Great British Bake-off’.
The collection with 300 classic recipes – James Martin
James Martin is one of my favourite chefs. This book combines all the favourite recipes from earlier James Martin books in one volume. Savoury and sweet, breakfast and diner, classic British and foreign, the book covers a lot of ground. But all the recipes are written in such a way that you can cook it at home, also on a busy weekday.
Desserts – James Martin
James Martin actually is a pastry chef, which he showcases in this book. Recipes range from very simple to quite complicated, but always doable for the average home cook and with stunning results. Gives a lot of tips and tricks on making things look ‘cheffy’ in an easy way.
New Classics – Gary Rhodes
A collection of the British classics, their backgrounds and variations. This book shows that British food isn’t boring and stodgy, but interesting and delicious. I cook a lot from this book and some of the recipes have made it in our regular meal list.
Far Eastern Odyssey – Rick Stein
Rick Stein is one of my favourite chefs. He is the embodiment of my food philosophy: it doesn’t have to be pretty, expensive or contain lots of ingredients, it should be tasty; let great (local) products shine by themselves instead of being smothered in way to many other stuff. This book covers recipes from Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Bali (Indonesia), Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and goes a lot further than the few eastern dishes we know over here. The recipes always turn out very tasty and thanks to the Asian supermarket it is really easy to get all the ingredients.
Spain – Rick Stein
A great book on the food of different regions in Spain, accompanied by beautiful pictures. Spanish food lets the ingredients shine, and Rick Stein didn’t mess with this approach.
Advanced bread and pastry, a professional approach – Michel Suas
You’ll have to be a very serious home baker, or be a baker with a scientific approach, to enjoy this book. It is written as a textbook for bakers and pastry chefs and about half of the book consists of backgrounds on the science and technique of baking. Often equipment and ingredients are used that are not available for a home cook. And since the test batch recipe is only given in ounces, to be able to make it I have to calculate the grams first. Still, I think it is a great book to have, the recipes are very good, the pictures are gorgeous and I love to read about all the techniques and science.
2000 recettes de la cuisine française (French)
I bought this book when I was in France to expand my knowledge on French cuisine. I find that cookbooks in the original language are usually more authentic and also have recipes on less well known dishes, while translated books often focus only on the famous stuff. With this book it is completely true, covering the whole range of cooking and baking in 2000 recipes, including regional specialties.
Echt Frans koken – Raymond Blanc (Dutch; original title Foolproof French Cookery)
All the classic French recipes by the great chef Raymond Blanc.
Blueband kookboek gebak (Dutch)
A thorough booklet on (Dutch) baking basics.
Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Kookboek (Dutch; also available in English)
A very good cookbook on bistro classics and because of the hilarious stories and explanations great to read as well.
Het kater koobkoek – Milton Crawford (Dutch; original title The Hungover Cookbook)
Has a test to discover your type of hangover, with recipes to feel better. Very funny texts and the recipes are also perfectly suitable for non-hungover days. Perfect for giving as a present when you expect that the receiver can use it the next day.
1000 Die besten Backrezepte – Dr. Oetker (German)
The book is divided in 10 sections with 100 recipes; all kinds of cakes and pies, but also a section on roulades and other rolled things, a section on cookies and muffins, a section on savory baking and a section on bread. In this way it covers a wide range of baking and has a recipe for every occasion. It is a book edited by the Dr. Oetker company, so lots of the Dr. Oetker ‘packs and bags’ are used in the recipes, but usually they are easy to swap for something else, either the natural thing (lemon peel, vanilla) or another brand.
La Dolce Vita – Ursula Ferrigno (Dutch; also available in English)
A book on sweet things from the Italian home kitchen, containing puddings, pastry, cakes, ice, cookies, other sweets and bread… all very delicious.
Das grosse Backbuch – Kochen und Geniessen (German)
I love German pastry and this book has all the favourites. It is very suitable for the beginning baker because the recipes are easy, very clear and accompanies by lovely pictures. But also for the advanced baker, since the recipes are far from boring and German pastry is generally not featured in other cookbooks.
Thuis in de Franse keuken – Guy Savoy (Dutch; originally French; English title Simple French recipes for the home cook)
A lovely book on French cuisine, but don’t be misled by the English title… it is certainly a book for the more advanced home cook who like to spend time in the kitchen.
Vegetarisch koken – verrukkelijk en gezond (Dutch)
A great book on vegetarian cooking, with lots of inspiration taken from Indian cooking.