My name is Skye and I am a cookbook-aholic. Don’t laugh. It’s an actual condition. And I have it. I love, love, love cookbooks. As in, I am completely, utterly obsessed. I read them in bed, while I’m eating and – above all – when I’m meant to be working. I spend hours in the cooking section of our local bookstore, leafing through the pages of their latest arrivals. Simply coveting.
Hundreds of cookbooks adorn our kitchen shelves, slowly infiltrating into our living room. And study. And bedroom. And bathroom. Everywhere. Books on how to create the perfect macaroon (still haven’t fully mastered that skill, but working on it); on roasting obscure cuts of meat; on healthy food; on unhealthy food; on raw food; on every kind of food; on chocolate; on how to create the perfect wedding cake (what was I thinking? – yet it’s one of my favourite reads)… Our home – and my poor husband – have reached the point of saturation. Too many books. Everywhere. But I can’t stop buying more. My cookbooks provide me with inspiration, comfort, escape. I need them. And then I need more. It’s a compulsion. As I said, I’m a cookbook-aholic.
And these are my current favourites…
‘How to Feed Friends with Relish’ by Joanna Weinberg - Mostly I am drawn to cookbooks with lots of appealing photographs. Food porn drives me. However, what this book lacks in stylised photography, it abounds in fabulous recipes. And adorable anecdotes. Joanna writes beautifully: a whole different kind of food porn. She welcomes her readers into the heart of her kitchen and provides them with a veritable treasure trove of tips: from how to lay a pretty table, to how to compile the perfect guest list or cook the tastiest roast chicken. Basic essentials, but all oh-so-very necessary. Each chapter offers a different setting, from picnics to afternoon tea to relaxed suppers around the kitchen table. All centre around mouthwatering recipes and the incomparable joy of cooking for friends and loved ones. You just can’t help but smile.
Favourite recipes include her heavenly orange blossom treacle tart and rack of lamb with rose petal sauce.
‘British Baking’ by Oliver Peyton - They say that you should never judge a book by its cover. But this book is a heavenly shade of lilac with touches – very subtle touches – of rose pink. How can you not judge it by its divine cover? Superficial, I know – but inevitable, somehow. It doesn’t disappoint. Sugary pink icing and lashings of luscious cream are pervasive. A series of fabulously classic and retro recipes from the brilliant Peyton and Byrne bakery, everything – just everything – in this charming book evokes the nostalgia of childhood culinary memories. And britishness. Vintage, but not old fashioned, and always delicious, recipes for cakes and puddings, with helpful, clear instructions and beautiful photography. I challenge you to find anything in this book that you don’t feel absolutely compelled to bake.
Favourite recipes include homemade marshmallow teacakes and Chelsea buns. Need I say more?
‘How I cook’ by Skye Gyngell - Like Joanna Weinberg, Gyngell again provides a series of near perfect menus for breakfasts, lunches and dinners, only here with a seasonal theme. As with all her books, the divine menus are almost overshadowed by utterly stunning photography. Image after sublime image of culinary heaven. Food porn at its absolute best. Everything – simply everything – looks perfectly rustic and enticing. Spring flowers in jam jars. Linen napkins. Eclectic cutlery. And piles upon piles of sensational, fresh, simple food. You can’t help but want to make these recipes. Because you want to live that life. Cook those meals. Eat that apple and green tomato pie. In that beautiful ceramic pie dish.
Favourite recipes include her classic roasted sea bass with lemon, thyme and homemade mayonnaise which makes for the perfect summertime dish; and sourdough toast with bananas, strawberries and ricotta – not really a recipe, but so divinely yummy that it is now a regular breakfast favourite of mine.