My Top Three: Recipe Books

Kitting out a kitchen is no simple task. And, if you're like me, it becomes increasingly difficult when you're met with endless options of recipe books. In this post I share my core collection, three books, that I think no kitchen should ever be without. This is infinitely better than spending a small fortune on books that you know you'll hardly ever read. Plus when it's time to decide on what to make you get overwhelmed by choice anyway and make the same boring dish over and over again. Don't worry we've all been there. But hopefully this list should have you sorted for the next meal planning pannick moment.

1. The Timeless Allrounder: The Classic South African Cook Book by Melinda Roodt

What I loved:

  • Your go-to guide for all the basic recipes you'd need in your day to day life. From bread to bolognaise to brownies and everything in between. The variety of recipes is extensive and should give you a good basic version of nearly any dish.

  • Her book is a trip down memory lane. She's collected the age old classic family recipes that nobody ever bothers to write down. From the milktart your granny made to the chocolate brownies that they sold in every school tuckshop in South Africa.

  • Sometimes you just need less tahini with your falafels and more condensed milk in your christmas trifle. My go-to for cosy comfort food.

My Favourite Recipes:

  • Salt-roasted chicken (p179)

  • Old-fashioned milk tart (p243)

  • Apple strudel (p254)

  • Chocolate and coconut clusters

What it will cost you and where to get it.

You can order the the book here and it will cost you a very reasonable R 329 for the hard copy ( R 215 for the Ebook).

2. Modern Day Must Have - Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

What I loved:

  • These recipes sound and look intricate but are dead easy and often good value for money.

  • The S.I.M.P.L.E system allows you to identify recipes that require less time, are a bit more complicated or require fewer ingredients straight off the bat so you can alter your recipe choices based on how you're feeling that day.

  • He also includes a superb guide at the back of the book with his "feasts" section. This Is brilliant in helping you set a menu for a large crowd or even just giving you recommendations for some sides to match a main.

Try before you buy:

His Ginger, spring onion, aubergine & mince is an all time fav. So easy. Think salty, nourishing but also fresh and different. You can try the recipe for yourself here.

You can pick up the book here and it will cost you R 550.

3. From Zero to Hero: Mastering Spice by Lior Lev Sercarz.

What I loved

  • This book is a masterclass in cooking condensed in a really accessible and easy to digest format. Very educational but doesn't feel like lecture notes.

  • For every recipe Lior gives, he offers another 7+ seasoning variations on the next page so you can make the same super simple roast potatoes (for example) but have them taste different and delicious every time!

  • I think, for most people, we spiced or flavourful food. But the fine difference between corianders seeds, cumin, cardamom and caraway can all get a bit confusing. Lior helps you understand the differences and teaches you to intrinsically know why certain spices are paired so you are able to experiment yourself.

My favourite recipes:

  • Pan fried potatoes (Pg 61).

  • The "five more recipes" of sugar and salt cured recipes (Pg. 145).

  • Roasted Mixed Vegetables (Pg 54).

You can pick up the ebook here for around R200. I got my hardcopy at my local Woolworths for around R480. I've never used this sight before but they seem to have stock for delivery online at the bookdepository.

Let me know what you think of the recipes. Or if you think I'm missing something, let me know! What are your staple "Must Have Books" in your kitchen?