Cook­ing for ev­ery­one

A host of books for be­gin­ners, In­sta­gram­mers, and Top Chef wannabes.

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The Haven’s Kitchen Cook­ing School

Au­thor: Ali­son Cayne Pub­lisher: Ar­ti­san Price: RM161

THE name of the school may not ring any bells but you may just pre­fer this book to one by a more fa­mous cook­ing es­tab­lish­ment. It cap­tures the spirit of the time very well, with lessons on mak­ing the kind of food you want to eat now: world food.

The list loops a multi­grain break­fast por­ridge and bowl food, to mak­ing dashi, fry­ing up tem­puras, pako­ras, and falafels, and mak­ing kick­ass salad dress­ings and roasts.

So the field is wide open and the cooks don’t have their heads stuck in any par­tic­u­lar school of thought; the book is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort.

Through an in­ter­est­ing premise of help­ing you to master nine fun­da­men­tals of cook­ing, it prom­ises you a life­time of cook­ing con­fi­dence.

The stress is taken away by fo­cus­ing on in­gre­di­ents and food rather than skills – in case you are scared by the word “tech­nique”.

Rightly, the process of cook­ing starts even be­fore you en­ter the kitchen; the gath­er­ing of in­gre­di­ents and plan­ning a meal. “We teach tech­nique as a means, not an end.”

What I like about the ap­proach of Haven’s Kitchen is their be­lief that cook­ing is “less of a skill set and more of a mind set – a way of think­ing and prob­lem solv­ing that can be ap­plied to any in­gre­di­ent, dish or crav­ing”.

In de­liv­er­ing the lessons it com­bines draw­ings with pho­tos, nar­ra­tives, and recipes.

At the end of the book, you would have ex­pe­ri­enced a sea­son’s worth of cook­ing classes, and be con­fi­dent enough not only to cook for your­self but feed oth­ers too, us­ing the recipes only as a guide as you im­pro­vise.

And, I like this, “don’t let per­fec­tion gets in the way”. Af­ter all, food is only one part of a meal. – Julie Wong

Nadiya’s Kitchen

Au­thor: Nadiya Hus­sain Pub­lisher: Michael Joseph/Pen­guin Price: RM110

NADIYA Hus­sain shot to fame af­ter win­ning Great Bri­tish Bake-Off the pop­u­lar re­al­ity se­ries in 2015.

Since then, her ca­reer has taken off in leaps and bounds – she was com­mis­sioned to make Queen El­iz­a­beth’s 90th birth­day cake, pre­sented her own foodie travelogue The Chron­i­cles Of Nadiya and is a colum­nist for The Times.

Nadiya’s Kitchen

marks her foray into the world of cook­books and is filled with fam­ily-friendly recipes that are clearly in­spired by her ex­pe­ri­ences grow­ing up as well as her ad­ven­tures cook­ing for her chil­dren.

Much of Nadiya’s famed charm comes across in the book – whether it’s in her sweet, soul­ful smile cap­tured across so many pages of the book or the thought­ful, emo­tion­ally-tinged pref­aces to each recipe, which are hon­est and re­ally tell a story.

The recipes them­selves aren’t too dif­fi­cult to ex­e­cute (which is great if you’re a neo­phyte cook) and en­com­pass a wide range that in­cludes Her Majesty’s Cake (yes, the same cake she made the queen), one-wok red onion and bread stir-fry, burnt gar­lic, chilli and le­mon squid, chilli cheese bur­ri­tos, green mango and fish curry, and hot cookie dough and ice cream.

Some of the recipes clearly show off Nadiya’s Bangladeshi roots, but for the most part, you’ll dis­cover a wide panoply of kid-friendly meals and de­li­cious com­fort fare that are en­tic­ingly quick – and easy – to whip up. – Abi­rami Du­rai

So Good: 100 Recipes From My Kitchen To Yours

Au­thor: Richard Blais Pub­lisher: Houghton Mif­flin Har­court Price: RM149.90

I’VE watched Richard Blais for years now Top Chef, on shows like cheer­ing him on as he took that well-de­served win­ner’s po­si­tion Top Chef: All Stars in and watch­ing him

Guy’s Gro­cery Games grow on shows like Man Vs. Master. and

Over the years, Blais has de­vel­oped a bit of a rep­u­ta­tion as “the liq­uid ni­tro­gen guy”, as he loves tinker­ing with the stuff. Hap­pily, this cook­book is de­voted to less com­pli­cated fam­ily recipes that home cooks should be able to whip up rel­a­tively eas­ily.

While there are some in­gre­di­ents that might give you pause for thought – lamb’s head, any­one? – Blais has thought­fully pro­vided plenty of doable op­tions as well.

So you’ll dis­cover recipes for de­li­cious-sound­ing dishes like bu­ca­tini put­tanesca, tuna Welling­ton, Wu-Tang clams, Crack Shack fried chicken, Nutella ice cream, and all sorts of other good­ies.

While the dessert se­lec­tions are bare bones and rel­a­tively sim­ple, it’s in the savoury depart­ment that Blais re­ally shines, show­ing off both his sar­donic sense of hu­mour (read those recipe pref­aces – they are so funny!) as well as his tal­ent for teach­ing and giv­ing all sorts of use­ful culi­nary advice.

The bot­tom line is, whether you’re a fan of Blais or not, there are lots of sim­ple, and some­times re­ally in­ven­tive meals in this cook­book that you’ll re­ally want to get ac­quainted with. –AD

Eat De­li­cious

Au­thor: Den­nis the Prescott Pub­lisher: Wil­liam Mor­row Price: RM119.90

IF you’re not al­ready one of the 371,000 fol­low­ers drool­ing over In­sta­gram smash hit Den­nis The Prescott’s gor­geous food pho­tos, this book should rec­tify that very quickly.

His Ev­ery­man back story is just as ap­peal­ing: Prescott only learned to cook about five years ago, work­ing his way through Jamie Oliver cook­books, and that’s when the for­mer mu­si­cian found his true pas­sion lay in the kitchen – in de­vis­ing recipes, but also in the care­ful styling and pho­tog­ra­phy that have drawn so many fans.

His recipes are of­ten sim­ple but with won­der­ful lit­tle twists that make them wholly orig­i­nal. Like the salmon banh mi sand­wiches, which have the fish mar­i­nated with lime juice and sriracha, and which sound and look so de­li­cious that I felt like tak­ing the day off to spend a bit of time in the kitchen.

There are Eggs Bene­dict with as­para­gus and brie, le­mon-gar­lic but­ter-poached lobster rolls (this one has sent In­sta-fol­low­ers into a frenzy; I know, be­cause I’m one of them) and a re­ally beau­ti­ful bowl of crispy fried tofu ra­men which is just food styling done right.

There is also a host of clas­sic recipes culled from global food tra­di­tions, from veg­etable pa­neer jal­frezi to spaghetti Bolog­nese.

Recipes are sys­tem­atic, easy to fol­low and em­i­nently doable, and with sec­tions on break­fast food, burg­ers and sand­wiches, pasta, pizza, noo­dles, seafood, soups, veg­e­tar­ian dishes, sal­ads and snacks, desserts and fam­ily meals, this is a re­ally com­pre­hen­sive tome.

As any good cook­book should, it makes you want to step into the kitchen im­me­di­ately. Just don’t read this when you’re hun­gry. – Suzanne Laza­roo

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