We’ve reviewed some fabulous cookbooks on Kavey Eats this year, much as we did last year. Here’s a rundown of the ones we loved, along with links to the recipes we’ve shared from each.
(Contents) This Year’s Books
Chinese Takeaway in 5 by Kwoklyn Wan | Serendip by Peter Kuruvita | Sumac by Anas Atassi | How to Make Anything Gluten Free + How to Bake Anything Gluten Free by Becky Excell | The Lebanese Cookbook by Ghillie Başan | Foolproof One-Pot by Alan Rosenthal | Herb by Mark Diacono | Crave by Ed Smith | Vietnamese by Uyen Luu | Sunshine Kitchen by Vanessa Bolosier | Baked to Perfection by Katarina Cermelj | Take One Fish by Josh Niland | Your Home Izakaya by Tim Anderson | Tofu Tasty by Bonnie Chung | Veggiestan by Sally Butcher | Sambal Shiok by Mandy Yin
Chinese Takeaway in 5 by Kwoklyn Wan
Written by an experienced Chinese cook who grew up working in his dad’s Chinese restaurant (with brother Gok), Chinese Takeaway in 5 by Kwoklyn Wan focuses on really easy recipes for chinese takeaway classics such as prawn toast, beef in oyster sauce and chicken chow mein. It’s a great book for beginners wanting to create at home some of their takeaway favourites.
Read our full review of Chinese Takeaway in 5 by Kwoklyn Wan and try our shared recipes from the book:
Serendip: My Sri Lankan Kitchen by Peter Kuruvita
Reissued this year in a soft cover edition, Peter Kuruvita’s Serendip: My Sri Lankan Kitchen was originally published in 2009. Peter spent most of his early childhood in Sri Lanka until his family moved to Australia when he was 11. He had already established himself as a very successful chef when he decided to create a cookbook focusing on authentic Sti Lankan curries of every kind, as well as a range of snacks, breads, and sweets.
Read our full review of Serendip: My Sri Lankan Kitchen by Peter Kuruvita and try our shared recipes from the book:
Sumac: Recipes and stories from Syria by Anas Atassi
That the current conflict and situation in Syria tends to distract from conversations about its culture and cuisine is a huge shame given the depth of hospitality and generosity that are a signature of both. In his beautiful cookbook Sumac: Recipes and stories from Syria, Anas Atassi aims to paint a more positive image of his homeland, by way of sharing his own vivid food memories and a wide selection of recipes that bring those memories to life.
Read our full review of Sumac by Anas Atassi and try our shared recipes from the book:
- Lamb Koftas in Tahini Sauce (Lahme bi sayniyi)
- Fish with Sumac Tahini Sauce (Tajen samak)
- Date Cake with Caramel Sauce
How to Make Anything Gluten Free + How to Bake Anything Gluten Free by Becky Excell
In the western world, so many of our favourite comfort foods feature wheat – bread, pasta, cakes, biscuits… pizzas, doughnuts, pies… but for some of us, these dishes are inaccessible because of the gluten content within them. Becky Excell, who suffers a range of intolerances herself, has become an expert in gluten-free cooking, having spent years testing and tweaking her recipes. This year she published two sister titles, How to Make Anything Gluten Free and How to Bake Anything Gluten Free. Living as she does in a fully gluten-free household, our reviewer Nicky was able to put this pair of gluten-free cookbooks by Becky Excell through their paces and found both to be excellent resources for the dishes she and her husband had been missing the most.
Read our full reviews of How to Make Anything Gluten Free and How to Bake Anything Gluten Free and try our shared recipes from the books:
- Gluten-Free Proper Pork Pies (made with Hot Water Crust Pastry)
- Gluten-Free Salted Caramel No-Bake Cheesecake
- Gluten-Free Cheese and Jalapeño Cornbread
- Gluten-Free Fruit Scones
The Lebanese Cookbook: Exploring the food of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan by Ghillie Başan
The Levant has long been known for the largesse of its hospitality and the excellence of its produce and cuisine. In The Lebanese Cookbook, Ghillie Başan explores the foods and traditions of a swathe of the Fertile Crescent that takes in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. Having spent many years living and working in these countries, Başan provides not only a book full of delicious and authentic recipes, but an excellent primer into the culture, cuisine and key ingredients.
Read our full review of The Lebanese Cookbook by Ghillie Basan | Exploring the food of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan and try our shared recipes from the book:
- Lebanese / Syrian Meat and Bulgur Balls in Yoghurt (kibbeh labaniyya)
- Palestinian Rice with Aubergine (maklubeh bajinjan)
- Middle Eastern Courgettes Baked in a Cheese Sauce (kousa bi gebna)
Foolproof One-Pot by Alan Rosenthal
Foolproof One-Pot is the third cookbook from chef, food writer and cookery teacher Alan Rosenthal. The book contains ‘60 simple and satisfying recipes’ that can all be cooked in a single pan, with ideas and flavours from all around the world. Ranging from easy dishes that are perfect for a midweek dinner to more complex or time-consuming ones for the weekend, this is the perfect book for those who love good food and hate washing up!
Read our full review of Foolproof One-Pot by Alan Rosenthal and try our shared recipes from the book:
Herb by Mark Diacono
Herb: A Cook’s Companion by Mark Diacono is not a standard cookbook. Best described as a marvellous marriage of two genres – gardening advice and how to enjoy herbs in your cooking – Herb is divided between salient advice on growing your own herbs (and handling store bought), and a selection of recipes that show off those herbs beautifully. This book particularly suits keen cooks with an interest in gardening.
Read our full review of Herb by Mark Diacono and try our shared recipes from the book:
Crave by Ed Smith
It’s hard to pin down a definition for Crave by Ed Smith but we’ll try! Essentially, it’s a book of recipes arranged by flavour, so that you can easily find the recipes that suit your mood and appetite at the time. Instead of the usual chapters by course, ingredient or cooking technique, here they are organised by the kind of food you crave; ‘fresh and fragrant’; ‘tart and sour’; ‘chilli and heat’; ‘spiced and curried’; ‘rich and savoury’; and ‘cheesy and creamy. There’s even a directory of alternative cravings at the back in which the same recipes are categorised by a whole different set of attributes (such as meaty and crunchy).
Read our full review of Crave by Ed Smith and try our shared recipes from the book:
- Garlic Pepper Butter Prawns
- Lamb Chops with Cacio e Pepe White Beans
- Buttermilk Pudding with Sharp Fruits
Vietnamese: Simple Vietnamese Food to Cook at Home by Uyen Luu
Vietnamese: Simple Vietnamese Food to Cook at Home is the second book from food writer Uyen Luu, following on from her debut book, My Vietnamese Kitchen. In this book, Uyen’s focus is on demonstrating how quick and easy it can be to whip up anything from a simple Vietnamese supper to a feast. The book shares over 85 recipes, offering a mix of strictly traditional and those with a modern twist – as befits the way we mix and match global influences in our cooking today. With most ingredients readily available in supermarkets (and the occasional few easy to buy via online specialists) this book makes delicious Vietnamese food achievable for the home cook..
Read our full review of Vietnamese: Simple Vietnamese Food to Cook at Home by Uyen Luu and try our shared recipes from the book:
- Ginger Chicken (Gà Kho Gừng)
- Chicken Curry with Squash (Cà Ri Gà Bí)
- Sea bass in Tomato & Dill Broth (Canh Chua Lá Thì Là)
Sunshine Kitchen by Vanessa Bolosier: Delicious Creole recipes from the heart of the Caribbean
Vanessa Bolosier’s Sunshine Kitchen is full of the intensity of flavours and colours you’d expect from a Caribbean Creole cookbook, sharing classic dishes from Guadeloupe and Martinique. Each recipe starts with an evocative summary in which Bolosier shares anecdotes and insights. The vibrant photography brings the book alive.
Read our full review of Sunshine Kitchen by Vanessa Bolosier and try our shared recipes from the book:
Baked to Perfection by Katarina Cermelj
Baked to Perfection by Katarina Cermelj is the perfect book for those looking to create a perfect gluten-free bake. Cermelj’s credentials as a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry have allowed her to lean into the chemistry of gluten-free baking and she has “done all the experiments for you“. The properties and effects of gluten are tricky to replicate, especially in recipes such as breads, cakes, pastries and biscuits that rely on gluten for their textures and mouthfeel. Here, Cermelj shows you how to successfully recreate those much-missed favourite indulgences whilst excluding gluten.
Read our full review of Baked to Perfection by Katarina Cermelj and try our shared recipes from the book:
- Super-Moist Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake
- Gluten-Free Shortbread Biscuits
- Gluten-Free Tarte Tatin (with Flaky All-Butter Pastry)
Take One Fish by Josh Niland
Where Take One Fish by Josh Niland differs from most fish and seafood cookbooks is in Niland’s bold scope to not only share great recipes but to inspire readers with the culinary possibilities of fish, whilst also developing an appreciation of quality ingredients and sustainability. His encouragement to be more imaginative in the way we use fish in our cooking results in a wide diversity of recipes and techniques. There are helpful suggested substitutions of which fish to use for most recipes, making the book useful anywhere in the world (regardless of which species are most readily available).
Read our full review of Take One Fish by Josh Niland and try our shared recipes from the book:
Your Home Izakaya: Fun and Simple Recipes Inspired by the Drinking-and-Dining Dens of Japan by Tim Anderson
It’s hard for me to write about w Your Home Izakaya by Tim Anderson without gushing, so I won’t try! Here, Tim focuses on the cooking of Japan’s wonderful drinking dens, places of welcome, camaraderie, and food that can be both innovative and hugely comforting. As with each of his previous cookbooks, this title is a showcase of Tim’s composed approach to cooking and recipes. The book is a bonanza of tidbits on Japanese culture and hospitality, alongside helpful instruction on Japanese cooking. Recipes are hugely appealing, they work exactly as written, and are always utterly delicious. And best of all, Tim’s personality and humour shines off the page throughout.
Read our full review of Your Home Izakaya by Tim Anderson and try our shared recipes from the book:
- Pepper Steak with Garlic Soy Sauce Butter
- Baked Potatoes with Butter and Salmon Roe
- Cheese and Onion Gyoza
Tofu Tasty by Bonnie Chung
As huge fans of tofu, we were very excited to get cooking from Bonnie Chung’s Tofu Tasty and it didn’t disappoint. In this cookbook Chung, the founder of Miso Tasty (a Japanese ingredient brand that focuses on miso and tofu products), shares classic tofu recipes from across Asia – particularly Japan, China, Korea – as well as dishes of her own invention where she mixes up modern and traditional techniques and ingredients. The book also provides an excellent introduction to how tofu is made and the different types available to buy.
Read our full review of Tofu Tasty by Bonnie Chung and try our shared recipes from the book:
Veggiestan by Sally Butcher
This 10 year anniversary edition of Veggiestan by Sally Butcher is very well timed for our modern era of climate consciousness that has more and more consumers looking to reduce or cut out meat from their diet. Providing a recipe-based tour of the Middle East by way of vegetarian food, Veggiestan offers a solid collection of accurate and delicious recipes written with plenty of helpful tips to ensure success. You’ll also find helpful guidance on key ingredients, insight into culture and mythology, and witty personal anecdotes from the author.
Read our full review of Veggiestan by Sally Butcher and try our shared recipes from the book:
- Herby Rice with Saffron Vegetables (Sabzi Pulao)
- Onion, Chilli and Mint Marmalade (Muraba-e-Murch-e-Surkh wa Piaz)
Sambal Shiok: The Malaysian Cookbook by Mandy Yin
Based on her experiences running a popular Malaysian street food stall and then restaurant, Mandy Yin’s Sambal Shiok cookbook offers a diverse range of really tasty Malaysian food, including customer favourites from the last several years, plus hawker centre classics and home style fare. The recipes reflect the diversity of the Malaysian people and encompass a glorious range of ingredients, flavours and techniques from the Malay, Chinese, Peranakan, South Indian and indigenous peoples of Malaysia, alongside influences from the neighbouring cuisines of Thailand and Indonesia, and the culinary marks left by European colonisation and trade.
Read our full review of Sambal Shiok: The Malaysian Cookbook by Mandy Yin and try our shared recipes from the book.
With very huge thanks to my fellow reviewers, Nicky Bramley and Jack Thomas for their fantastic content.
And thanks too to the publishers we’ve worked with for review copies and access to recipe extracts to share with our readers.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our signature in-depth cookbook reviews and our round up of this year’s favourites. If you decide to buy any of these books after reading our content, please consider clicking through our affiliate links, located within each summary and in the review posts.
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