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