Whoever told you that cooking was a chore is lying. It’s not.
In fact, we’d go as far as to say it’s quite the opposite – it can be one of the great pleasures there is. There’s nothing more therapeutic and indulgent than getting ready to prepare some delicious food to share with family and friends or even to tuck into yourself. Food doesn’t have to be covered in cheese or smothered in chocolate to be decadent and orgasmic – the simple ritual of preparing and cooking something yummy is about as luxurious and rewarding.
And luckily, the silver lining to the current climate is that we’ve got plenty of time to hone our baking, roasting, slicing and dicing so that we can whip up all sorts of tasty dishes to enjoy.
We’ve put together the best of the best when it comes to home-cooking recipe books. Better yet, all our choices are available for digital download, so you don’t have to wait on a delivery but instead can get stuck in right away.
11. Pinch of Nom - Kate Allinson & Kay Featherstone
If you want to combine some delicious food with a kick into healthy eating, look no further than this offering from one of the world’s most visited food blogs, Pinch Of Nom. Combining slimming, flavourful and exciting meals with easy-to-use methods, this book can take you all over the world, from Mediterranean Chicken Orzo to Mexican Chilli Beef. Plus, over a third of the 100 recipes in this book are vegetarian, so it can provide great inspirations for anyone trying to cut down on their meat intake.
10. Simple Cakes - Mary Berry
Whether you’re a stalwart fan of The Great British Bake Off, or simply on the hunt for a tasty Victoria Sponge, let The GBBO’s favourite judge teach you the basics and the best of cake baking. These easy-to-follow step-by-step guides include all sorts of baking from big cakes, to little pastries and all the biscuits and goodies which sit in between. Nail the basics with this book, then learn how to treat yourself to something extra special.
9. Bourke Street Bakery - Paul Allam & David McGuinness
Any Sydneysider will know of this hailed oasis, whose delicious breads and pies have been keeping us carbed-up across the city. But now, the whole of Australia can enjoy the baking goodness of Paul Allam’s and David McGuinness’ Bourke Street Bakery. This is aimed slightly more at the serious baker but inside you’ll find the holy grail of sourdoughs along with oozings of tarts, pastries and pies. Plus, you can learn the secret to their acclaimed Pork and Fennel Sausage Roll, and Ginger Brûlée tarts.
8. At My Table - Nigella Lawson
Accompanied by the series of the same name, aired in Australia on ABC, this is Nigella’s celebration of home cooking. A book for those who see food as pure pleasure, it’s filled with relaxed and easy-going recipes, from comforting classics like Sticky Toffee Pudding to modern options like White Miso Hummus.
7. Mastering the Art of Japanese Homecooking - Masaharu Morimoto
The revered Iron Chef will show you how to master the flavorful and exciting Japanese cuisine at home. Japanese food can often have an intimidating reputation, and might feel like something best left to the professionals, but Morimoto uses this book to show you that a handful of easy-to-find ingredients can transform your cooking into magical and authentic dishes, from miso soup to chicken teriyaki.
6. MOB Kitchen - Ben Lebus
When university student Ben Lebus started looking for food to feed his mates that he could actually get excited for, he found a big gap in the market. Introducing MOB Kitchen, cooking aimed at anyone with a low budget and simple skills, but a huge love for food and the good times that come with it. These recipes cover everything from veggie lasagna to brunch saviours, plus each dish comes with a scannable Spotify suggestion, so that you can soundtrack your cooking perfectly.
5. The Curry Guy - Dan Toombs
After a homemade curry that tastes exactly like that incredible takeaway? Look no further than Dan Toombs’ best selling offering, The Curry Guy. He spent a year exploring British Indian restaurant cooking across the UK learning curry secrets, and refining his recipes to help close the gap between the tasty goodness we can order in, and what we’re creating at home.
4. Table Manners - Jessie & Lennie Ware
This title is the result of the gorgeous podcast in which singer Jessie Ware makes dinner for the famous and fabulous, from Ed Sheeran to Yotam Ottolenghi, with the help of her mum, Lennie. It’s a podcast which celebrates the simple pleasures of friends, family, conversation and of course, food. From effortless recipes to Jewish-inspired food, it covers their own recipes inspired by family and a full table, from Bean Casserole to Blackberry and Custard Tarts.
3. Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast - Ken Forkish
If you want to use this extra time to pick up a new skill, why not give bread-making a go? A form of cooking which needs bakers to be big on patience, this offering from Portland bread-maker Ken Forkish is a must-have guide. It includes all the recipes and methods you’ll need for everything from sourdough breads to pizza doughs. Whether you’re a total beginner or a serious baker, you’ll get satisfaction like no other than seeing your hard work transformed into a warm crusty loaf.
2. 5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food - Jamie Oliver
If you like your cooking as easy as it comes, look no further than one of Australia’s favourite chefs – Jamie Oliver and his five ingredient extraordinaire recipe book. It does exactly what it says on the tin- offering recipes which involve just five ingredients across the full range of dishes, from warming mains to sweet treats. It’s perfect if you don’t get to cook very often or you don’t want to do a big shop for every recipe; instead inspired cookers will have a list of well-chosen ingredients and easy-to-follow methods that are still packed with flavour.
1. SIMPLE - Yotam Ottolenghi
For the uninitiated, Yotam Ottolenghi is a best-selling Israeli-English chef, restaurateur and food writer who’s gathered such a cult following, he even has a rap single named after him. SIMPLE is his latest offering which collates his signature Mediterranean-inspired flavours within a “simple” format, prioritising basic ingredients, pre-preparing ingredients and focusing on unfussy cooking.
Or, if you enjoy watching rather than reading, we’ve also found the best cooking YouTube channels you can subscribe to now… for free!