Everyone needs inspiration when it comes to cooking. I have a set of cookbooks which I always rely on and refer when I wonder what I can plan for my next meal. These recipes are also heavily mentioned on my blog all the time. I have written my personal review and opinion about each of them which I hope you can find them useful, should you wonder if you would like to invest in a copy. I have also included a link to each of the book but by no means I am affiliated in marketing them or getting any commission from advertising, they are just for your reference.
Notes: The books are not sorted in order of preference.
- Billy Law: Have You Eaten?
- Good For: Malaysian homecook food, fancy modern Australian mains and dessert
- Comments: Born in Ipoh, a state in Malaysia where great food originated, Billy Law has set the expectations of the book by creating simple yet wonderful recipes that bring his readers back to his childhood memories and how his nostalgic memories of his mother working in the kitchen or hand-me-down recipes and alongside with his journey of Masterchef Autralia has inspired him along his cooking journey. I loved that he showcase simple homecook food i.e. Ban Mee aka Mee Hoon Kueh (hand-pulled noodle in light broth), Claypot Chicken and Mushroom Rice and then bombard the readers with masterpieces like Tiramisu Deconstructed. There are also many modern Australian creations like Seared Scallops with Black Pudding and Pea Puree, Pan-Fry Ocean Trout, Lamb Shank Pies etc. I love the versatily of this book – you can go really simple chinese homecook recipes or bite the bullet and go for the real complex ones.
- Anneka Manning: Mastering the Art of Baking
- Good For: Family favourites and classic baking recipes
- Comments: My favourite baking book and best purchase so far. It is an absolute thick and heavy book but it sure worth every cents. I loved how Anneka covered the classic stuffs like pastries, pies, muffins, cakes, breads and her recipes are mostly what people would bake at home and familiar with. These recipes range are great for breakfast, snacks, lunchbox and even desserts. I tried a couple of her recipes i.e. Banana Muffins and White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake and they turned out really successful. For an amateur baker like myself, I loved how she covered the basics with clear step-by-step pictures. The best part is the measurements she used and ingredients used are sourced from Australia so that takes away the guessing work if the recipe would turn out how it is supposed to be as we know the importance of these factors in the baking process.
- Priya Wickramasinghe/Carol Selva Rajah: The Food of India: A Journey for Food Lovers
- Good For: Indian recipes originated from the land of India
- Comments: As I have personally traveled to India before, I find that the pictures shown alongside with each recipes closely matched to the ones I have seen in India. I loved the fact that each recipe has a picture to give the reader a guide how the end product looks like; especially for curries as curries recipes are very confusing because they normally involved the same type of spices, so if you have not seen it before, you will not know how the end product is supposed to be like (maybe that’s just my problem, haha). I loved how the authors have broken the recipes down to meal types i.e. Tiffin (Snacks), Rice/Grains/Breads, Accompaniments, Poultry & Meat, Seafood, Sweets & Drinks etc. I have tried some of the more familiar recipes i.e. Punjabi Cabbage and Aloo Gosht and they turned out to be successful. The only downside of my kitchen is that I do not have the equipment of an Indian household kitchen i.e. karhai (thick & deep cooking pot), tava (hot griddle) and naan oven but the recipes do recommend an equivalent equipment that can be used instead.
- Kenmizaki Satomi: The Book of Basic Japanese Cooking : 110 Recipes (in Japanese/English)
- Good For: Japanese home cooking recipes
- Comments: I bought this book when I was in Japan and I love it to bits. Inside there are 110 recipes of Japanese home cooking which is so easy as they do have step by step pictures. I never actually realized how easy it is to make Japanese food, and I always wanted to know how to cook other Japanese food apart (especially those small little side dishes from Kaiseki) from the usual suspects like Chicken Teriyaki/Katsu or Sushi. I have tried making Tofu Steak and Boiled Spinach Ohitashi from this book and they turned out mimicking the pictures in the book. the The contents are separated into categories like Rice and Noodles, Soup, Meat and Fish, Vegetables, Egg/Tofu etc and Dishes for Special Occasions. Kenmizaki also covered basic stuffs like how to cook Sushi rice, basic Noodle Dipping sauce, basic soup stock etc. The only downside of this book is that some of the ingredients mentioned in the book are only available in Japan or hard to source i.e. Chrysanthemum stalk vegetables, burdock, maitake mushrooms. All in all, this is a great book to kick start making Japanese food at home.
- Food Lovers Series: Chicken
- Good For: All Chicken recipes
- Comments: I purchased this book at a crazy price of $5 at a book fair. Never in my life I have found so many ways of cooking with Chicken made possible. This book provides 45 recipes using chicken, categorized into Soups/Starters/Snacks, Salads, Main Courses including roast, stir fry, deep-fried, pasta/rice, pies, curries etc. Though I find some of the measurements of the ingredients needed to be tweaked for the extra flavouring, this book, at this price were a fantastic source of inspiration for meals that can be cooked using chicken – which is a staple protein in my household. If you have that extra spare cash and need that bang of of your bucks, go ahead and get this book and get Chickenized!