I have a secret addiction. It’s not that expensive, but the costs do add up. It’s the one thing I can’t say no to; and to make matters worse, I rarely use all of them.
Yep, it’s cookbooks. I can’t resist a pretty cookbook, especially if it’s a baking one. God knows how many I’ve got, and they all vary from cake books, French recipes to edible gifts. It’s a guilty pleasure and I love nothing more than hunting down a unique cookbook.
It’s not the worst addiction to have, and it has its benefits: I’m never out of inspiration when I want to whip up something to impress, and they provide countless hours of entertainment.
Here is a list of my top eight favourite cookbooks:
Cook with Jamie – Jamie Oliver
I bought this while I was at uni, and at $49.95 it was a major investment for me. How I spent many hours poring over this book! This is a fantastic book for those who are serious about becoming better cooks. Jamie Oliver has provided so much useful information, from how to pick the best fish, tips and tricks to making pasta, and even a breakdown on creating your perfect salad dressing. I still refer to this book when I want to make a good hearty, healthy meal.
The Vintage Tea Party Book – Angel Adoree
It’s hard not to resist this book. If you love all things British, vintage and quirky then this is your bible. Angel Adoree is a goddess, and this book provides more than just vintage British tea party recipes, it helps you host your own vintage tea party, complete with decoration ideas, hair and make up tutorials and even a silhouette of HRH Queen Lizzy to photocopy and frame. Other than being a gorgeous book, the recipes are easy to follow and taste amazing. A great book for those who like throwback recipes.
Australian Women’s Weekly Q&A Bake
Technically not a recipe book, but this baby has helped me figure out many baking problems. For those familiar with Australian Women’s Weekly (AWW), Pamela Clark is the original kitchen goddess and is a font of handy cooking information. I’m not sure how easy this is to find (I bought it online via one of those discount shopping sites), so if you manage to stumble across one, get it!
Mes desserts et sorcieres – Brigitte Bulard-Cordeau
There is an amazing story to go with this book. On my first trip to Paris, my friend Kim and I were just strolling the Latin Quarter (as one does on a crisp winter afternoon), and we came across this random shop selling books for dirt cheap. This book caught my eye and at €10, I knew I had to have it. However, I didn’t get it because it was huge and heavy and with another three destinations to go, I couldn’t imagine lugging that around. A week on, I’m still thinking about this book and I thought, screw it, I’ll get the book! Unfortunately I couldn’t remember where the bookshop was. I think Kim and I tried retracing our steps and voila, we found the shop, albeit with five minutes till closing time! It was worth the hassle of shoving it in my case as it’s one of the prettiest books I’ve ever come across, with the most gorgeous illustrations. Yes, everything is in French so translating it is a bit painstaking (I think I managed one translation and gave up). But, it’s my beautiful magic Parisian dessert cookbook and that’s all that matters.
The Hummingbird Bakery Cupcakes and Muffins
For those not familiar with The Hummingbird Bakery, it’s a bakery that makes the world’s most delicious cupcakes (as good as Magnolia Bakery even). I admit I didn’t know about the bakery until I bought the book, and it was my mission in London to hunt one down. This cookbook is a mini-version of The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, and if you prefer cupcakes to cakes and pies then this is for you. The recipes in here are faultless, even the most amateur baker can’t fail using them. The book also has great advice for baking your perfect cupcake which have come in handy. This is the one cookbook I would save if the house burnt down! The red velvet recipe in here = heaven.
I ♥ Macarons – Hisako Ogita
Ms Hisako Ogita is a cookbook writing queen. According to the book, she’s a Japanese pastry chef and has authored three French pastry cookbooks. If I had to describe her, I’d use the word #girlboss. All cookbooks should be written the way I ♥ Macarons is written – with clear step by step instructions, and she even includes how many times to beat the macaron batter. Bless her cotton socks. And she even gives you recipes for using leftover egg yolks! Seriously, don’t you love this cookbook yet? I’m not a macaron making champion, as I lack the temperament for these delicate morsels, but this book helped me understand the science behind the perfect macaron and that is more than anyone else has ever achieved.
A Zombie Ate My Cupcake! – Lily Vanilli
Yes, this book is as crazy as it sounds. Recipes include brain cupcakes, a Sweeney Todd inspired creation, marzipan beetles and bleeding hearts. Kookiness aside, the recipes in this book are really good and I’ve not had a bad batch using them. The decorations themselves are far too time-consuming for me, but they are pretty darn fabulous. I think this is a fun cookbook to use if baking with kids, because they don’t care if the outcome looks nothing like the book, the fact that it looks scary is great enough!
Leon Breakfast and Brunch
When I bought this book, I didn’t know Leon was a restaurant chain in Europe. I just thought they were some hipster company that published recipes. I was pretty close really. This is a nice small collection of breakfast and brunch recipes that are simple to make, but pack plenty of wow factor. My favourite recipe is the fluffy eggs, which if someone served to me, I would be absolutely gobsmacked. I bought this in KL, and I’m not sure if it’s available in Australia but I’m sure you could purchase it online (Oliver Bonas has it on sale at the moment).
What are your favourite cookbooks? Share with me in the comments below!