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Favourite Cook Book/Recipe/Food-related Site?

  • 18-08-2006 3:31pm
    Registered Users Posts: 254 ✭✭

    What is your favourite cook booK?

    And any dud books?

    I want to polish my cooking and baking skills and perfect some the basic techniques (always room for improvement!). I've accumulated a little collection of cook books at home. Some are real stars, with reliable and easy-to-follow recipes using readliy available ingredients and pleanty of tips and instructions for perfecting the recipe and techniques. Others leave a lot to be desired, either insufficient detail on technique, outrageously complex recipes or really obsure, difficult-to-source ingredients (stand up Nigella Lawson!)

    'Step by Step Cookery' Margeruite Patten - picked it up in a charity shop yonks ago for next to nothing. A very old-fashioned book but covers all the basics well with good, easy to follow tips for success.

    'The Complet Vegetarian Cook Book' (unfortunately I can't remember the author) - very reliable recipes.

    'Low Fat Cook Book' (a free-standing flip top spiral bound format... again will have to pass on the author for now) - again, reliable recipes with clear instructions.

    'Meals In Moments' - another bargain buy. A paperback format with no illustrations (it's main drawback) but loads of ideas for tasty, everyday meals with simple ingredients: Lentil Potato Supper and Tuna Mexicana have become regulars in our house.

    Not-so shining Stars:
    'How to Eat' Nigella Lawson - A good read but the recipes are iffy (Gooey Chocolate Pudding is nice though) and often the ingredients are difficult to find and/or impractically expensive.

    Unsure where to put Delia, some of her recipes are great with plenty of instructions (her tortilla recipe - yum!) but others just leave me cold.



  • Registered Users Posts: 22,769 ✭✭✭✭The Hill Billy

    I just bought The Constance Spry Cookery Book.
    It was first published in 1956 & some of the recipes are a bit dated, but it is great for describing the basic methods. It also has a huge amount of recipes. If you want to know how to gut & skin a rabbit it is your only man.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,733 ✭✭✭Blub2k4

    Hill Billy wrote:
    I just bought The Constance Spry Cookery Book.
    It was first published in 1956 & some of the recipes are a bit dated, but it is great for describing the basic methods. It also has a huge amount of recipes. If you want to know how to gut & skin a rabbit it is your only man.

    I have Mrs. Beeton for that type of stuff, really good with game and traditional English fare. My favourite books are Hugh Fearnley Whittingstalls', they're all pretty good.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,282 ✭✭✭westtip

    The originial Delia cookbook - The complete cookery course is a must for all kitchens, much of what she has published since has been a rehash of this book each with far fewer recipes and more and more pictures. I thnk it is only published now as the illustrated complete cookery course but it is the same text as the original ISBN number: 0563214546. Apart from this another oldie book which is a superb all round book is the Readers Digest Cookery Year Book. The BBC website is a great source to build your own cook book from.

  • Registered Users Posts: 488 ✭✭babaduck

    Darina Allen
    Nigel Slater

  • Registered Users Posts: 254 ✭✭coolaboola

    Delia's Complete Cookery Course is good. Good sections explaining the basic with tips, etc.

    I suppose this is personal preference, but I tend to baulk at recipes that require huge amounts of decadent, yummy but very bad for you ingredients. Obviously lovely as a treat but for something you'd like to cook day-to-day I tend to avoid recipes that require cream or huge amounts of butter or deep frying. And, for various reasons, I'm leaning more and more towards meat-free recipes. Consequently I find myself skipping over loads of recipes. Maybe I should get more decadent... :)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 69 ✭✭liam1204

    the bbc monthly magazine "olive" is a great buy with lots of in season tips and recipies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 984 ✭✭✭NextSteps

    He's a bit of an eejit but Jamie Oliver's Italian cookbook is excellent. The recepies are good, ingredients are findable, and results have been great for me so far.

    Also Paula Gavin's French Vegetarian Cookery (or similar name) is very reliable. Lots of simple but good recipes for things like tarts and gratins.

    I bought the Silver Spoon but haven't used it much. I find the layout irritationg - the vegetables are listed alphabetically by their spelling in Italian. This makes no sense.

  • Registered Users Posts: 254 ✭✭coolaboola

    ooh, I've heard Jamie Oliver's Italian cookbook is great! Pukka! :P

    Must keep an eye out for Paula Gavin's French Vegetarian (oxymoron?) cookbook.

    Just checked, the Complete Vegetarian Cookbook I referred to earlier is published by Ted Smart with consultant editor Linda Fraser.

  • Registered Users Posts: 267 ✭✭AdrianR

    My favorite cook book would be:

    Flavours of india by Madhur Jaffrey.

    It's got the nicest (lamb) curry recipe you'll ever eat.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,219 ✭✭✭Calina

    I wouldn't be without Jamie's second book. It's not my favourite, but it's well laid out and practical.

    After that, I have a basic Cordon Bleu one which I use more as a reference than as a recipe source, and I have a French cookbook by Marie Claude Bisset which I like a lot.

    Joanne Harris' French cookbook is okay too (particularly as it's in English). I could probably live on those through alone, although the first two Nigella ones are handy to have around the place too. The rest...nah.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,308 ✭✭✭fourmations

    my faves

    gordon ramsay - makes it easy
    camellia punjabi - 50 great curries of india



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,219 ✭✭✭Calina

    my faves

    gordon ramsay - makes it easy
    camellia punjabi - 50 great curries of india



    I got that Gordan Ramsay one out of the library yesterday. I'll be interested to see what it's like (seems to have a load of photographs).

  • Registered Users Posts: 33,518 ✭✭✭✭dudara

    Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry is a great moroccan/lebanese cookbook. Just delicious.

    The Conran cookbook is great for fundamental recipies and contains lots of information on utensils and food to boot.

    Cafe Paradiso Cookbook by Dennis Cotter and any subsequent books are great and full of ideas for vegetables. Try the leek, spinach and stilton tart.

  • Registered Users Posts: 984 ✭✭✭NextSteps

    The Paradiso books are great in that the recipes are exciting and well-written. The only thing is that they always seem to have at least 3 constituent parts (like tartlet, sauce, and another sauce) which makes it a bit complicated unless you have an assistant. Very obviously written by a chef with a professional kitchen and staff at his disposal! Another thing is that the recipes always leave you with a spare bowl of sauce or chutney 'to keep in the fridge', which I always end up throwing out a month later.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,414 ✭✭✭Bunnyhopper

    My absolute favourite is

    La Varenne Pratique by Anne Willan

    It's not just a recipe book, though it does have some good ones in it, but a great guide to ingredients and techniques. You can have a look at it here, and even take a look inside at some sample pages. It is available through at £38.73 + delivery to Ireland, not cheap but it's a big book with lots of quality colour illustrations. (It was also published in Britain as Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Cookery, so you might get that secondhand.)

    She does do recipe books, too. You can see her own website here, and there's a link on it to more information about her books here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 122 ✭✭taztastic

    The River Cottage cookbook is an absolute monster but is all you need from the growing/rearing up.
    The Cook's Scrapbook by the Readers Digest is full of hearty oldfashioned stuff, especially good for baking.
    Mastering the Art of French Cooking is another golden oldie that has really technical instructions.
    Rick Stein's French Odyssey makes me hungry just looking at it.

    One cookbook that has nearly brought tears to my eyes is the first Avoca one. Some fantastic recipes but the bread and scone ones just do not seem to work for me. No idea what im doing wrong but its really frustrating.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,719 ✭✭✭sudzs

    The Avoca books are great!

    Also Nigel Slater's.

    I too found some of Nigella's recipes in How to Eat a bit "iffy" The beef with guinness and prunes in the low-fat section was awful!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,630 ✭✭✭Oracle

    I bought a beautiful cookbook this year, it's called Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros, it's an eclectic mix of recipes beautifully photograped. It's not just a cookbook, Tessa writes about the origins of the recipes and how food played a part in her childhood and family traditions. There's recollections and reminiscences from the author, together with some family photos.

    It's a most evocative and visually beautiful book about food, with recipes. I bought this book in Waterstones, but it's available at a very good price from The Book People;
    It would make a beautiful Christmas gift for any cook or lover of food. (I'd suggest having a look at it in Waterstones or another bookshop first before ordering.)

    I've no connection with The Book People company or the author.

  • Registered Users Posts: 916 ✭✭✭MicraBoy

    I'm very impressed with Jamie's "Ministry of Food" book if you are looking for a starter book.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,429 ✭✭✭brettmirl

    MicraBoy wrote: »
    I'm very impressed with Jamie's "Ministry of Food" book if you are looking for a starter book.

    + 1

    Also, as others have mentioned, Nigel Slater's books are very good. Always refer to them.

    Have also picked up some good 'bargain' no big name/brand cook books in Easons and Borders, which were very good.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 246 ✭✭AmcD

    I love cookery books and have quite a collection. I would have to recommend "The ultimate recipe book" by Angela Nilsen. It came out of a series in the BBC Good Food magazine. The list of recipes are a bit eclectic, but the results are great. The series was about making the best version of standard dishes e.g. ratatouille, soda bread, lemon tart etc. It is one of the few books that I regularly cook from.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    UB wrote: »

    I bought the Silver Spoon but haven't used it much. I find the layout irritationg - the vegetables are listed alphabetically by their spelling in Italian. This makes no sense.

    What say you on The Silver Spoon two years on.
    Usually only buy veggie cookbooks, but figure I should get a book to show me how to cook meat.
    So I don't posion my guests.

  • Registered Users Posts: 724 ✭✭✭muckety

    I don't know if its still in print but the Good Housekeeping cookery book is great for everyday recipes and basics - all you need, really, though might be a bit old fashioned for some!

  • Registered Users Posts: 388 ✭✭Scoobydoobydoo

    Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook - For easy-to-follow classic recipes. If I could only keep one cookbook, this would definitely be it.
    Rick Stein's Seafood - Great for fish!
    The Silver Spoon - For simple authentic Italian recipes. I've made lots of things from this, and none with pasta! I really like this book.
    Avoca 1 & 2 - I like these a lot, though they have a lot of meat recipes, which I don't use, there is plenty of other great stuff! Naughty, delicious food!
    Paradiso - I have a couple of these, and love them for being the most interesting vegetarian cookbooks ever, but! - having tried several recipes - I find them quite complicated, some ingredients very hard to source, and then the end result very hit and miss.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,907 ✭✭✭✭the beer revolu

    If ya like your meat, then Hugh Wattly-Wattlebottom's River Cottage 'Meat' book is amazing!!:)

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 18,300 ✭✭✭✭Seaneh

    "The Silver Spoon" (best selling cook book in Italy for the last 50+ years and basically the bible of italian cookery) was translated into english for the first time last year.

    Thousands of traditional recipes and very easy to follow.

    about €50 in easons but well worht the investment, along with Larousse Gastronomique it is the best book I've ever used.

    Also Larousse Gastronomique is the world wide standard for all chefs and is generally considered the most complete and important culinary title currently in print, an absolute must have.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 30 allabouteve58

    MicraBoy wrote: »
    I'm very impressed with Jamie's "Ministry of Food" book if you are looking for a starter book.

    I think this is a great book. Never cooked a roast before in my life cause thought it was too much work but to be honest it is so easy and his recepies are super tasty. Have moved on to home made salsa.... A definite must for the novice cook!!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 37 lconmara

    all the gordon ramsay ones are great (except for his fine dining which are absolutley impossible)

    i was curious to see his wife Tanas attempts so bought her "Homemade" - its **** don't bother!

  • Registered Users Posts: 37 lconmara

    Also the worst cookbook i have is Apples for Jam, its really pretty but has organised the recipes into sections by their colour (??!!) ie there is steak in the same catergory as chocolate cake because they're both brown. Nice theory but I never make anything from it, its too annoying to look through cos if you are looking for a dessert you have to look through the whole damn book...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,111 ✭✭✭lucylu

    I Love
    Ballymaloe Cookery Course By Darina Allen
    Avoca Cookbooks 1 & 2
    Easyfood and Good Food magazines