The Best Cookbooks of 2021
There have been some amazing cookbooks to hit the shelves this year – and these are our favourites!
We love nothing more than flicking through a cookbook, dreaming up what feast to cook up next. And this year’s offering has been exceptional! It was very difficult to narrow our choices down to ten top picks, but we’ve finally done it! From novelty cakes to seasonal eating, here are our favourites…
We absolutely adored this book, which is penned by Matthew Jones of Borough Market’s iconic Bread Ahead Bakery. It’s a true baking bible, with step by step instructions to make everything from doughnuts to babka buns. There’s even a section of traditional Christmas bakes. We loved the cross sections of all the different bakes, showing you the type of rise and crumb you should be aiming for. The two recipes we made from here, cinnamon buns and ciabatta loaves, were absolutely standout.
£26, Hardie Grant
Sample Recipe: traditional Christmas pudding
Veteran food writer Nigel Slater shares a vast collection of recipes in his latest book. It’s a beautifully written compendium of over 200 sumptuous yet simple dishes. We particularly loved the ‘Feast’ chapter, which contains some tempting suggestions for family dinners. And we also liked the reappearance of classic dishes, including the first Nigel Slater recipe we ever cooked – pasta with sausages, basil and cream.
£30, 4th Estate
Food stylist and recipe developer Kim Duke released her debut cookbook this year, which is all about eating seasonally and reducing waste. She has a unique idea too, structuring the book into a series of seasonal feasts which can be cooked up over a leisurely weekend. The leftovers can then be used to make quick midweek meals - slow cooked ‘vampire’ lamb is repurposed into tasty croquettes, for example. We tried out the spinach and feta custard pie with the ‘everything seasoning’ potatoes, both delightfully indulgent veggie dishes.
The debut cookbook from Ottolenghi’s test kitchen team, written with Noor Murad, is perfect for the busy cook, with chapters devoted to transforming your veg box, using pantry staples and more. It’s creative and inspired, with lots of delicious Middle Eastern inspired recipes. It’s on our favourites list because these innovative recipes are ridiculously easy to make, and packed with flavour. Our favourite recipes so far include tandoori chickpeas, the pork vindaloo burger, curried cauliflower cheese pie and orzo puttanesca.
Malaysian food is growing in popularity in the UK, and Sambal Shiok by Mandy Yin is full of delicious recipes that will help you cook it at home. We particularly enjoyed the rich, aromatic beef rendang and the Peranakan Nyonya Curry Laksa, which is the signature dish this cookbook author serves at her infamous laksa bar in London.
Considering James Martin was voted Most Influential Chef, and winner of Best Cookbook by Great British Food Readers, it seemed only fitting to include his latest book, Butter. It’s a love letter to this store-cupboard staple, featuring 100 delightfully buttery recipes. There’s everything from homemade butter to pastry, alongside indulgent desserts such as brown butter cake with bourbon butter glaze. The ultimate Christmas present!
£22, Hardie Grant
Sample Recipe: miso butter fudge
This delightful book, by food writer Ed Smith, has chapters devoted to different types of food you might be craving, from ‘cheesy and creamy’ to ‘spiced and curried’. There’s comfort food for all different seasons and occasions.
Sample recipe: tarragon chicken with bread sauce
We’ve always loved Kim Joy’s cute, quirky and colourful bakes, and her latest book is a true celebration of baking! There’s a novelty cake for every occasion, be it bonfire night or Valentine’s day. Perfect for the star baker in your life.
Sample Recipe: hot chocolate bombes
Another Great British Food Favourite, and longstanding judge of our awards is the inimitable Raymond Blanc, who released Simply Raymond this year. It’s a celebration of simple home cooking, and the book is a nostalgic journey into Raymond’s childhood, with plenty of recipes inspired by the dishes of Maman Blanc. We loved cooking up the crowd-pleasing chicken and mustard dish!
Sample recipe: flourless chocolate mousse cake
We had to put something Christmassy in there somewhere! Be guided through the big day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Lucy Brazier, who’ll show you how to do Christmas the River Cottage way. There are recipes for pickles and preserves, homemade decorations, suggestions for preparing your winter veg, and of course all the traditional dishes.
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