The Best Cookbooks of 2017

by Lauraine Jacobs / 12 December, 2017
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If you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas or fresh inspiration for summer, these cookbooks and food books will tempt your tastebuds.

10 New Zealand cookbooks

Angelo’s Wild Kitchen by Angelo Georgalli (Beatnik, $50)

Wholesome, nutritious food, inspired by this chef/TV star’s love of foraging, wild food and grilling. The recipes, which include useful sauces and baking ideas, emphasise stress-free, organic and seasonal cooking. They’re accompanied by photographs of high-country life.

Coming Unstuck by Sarah Tuck (From the Kitchen, $59.99)

A stylish celebration of a cook’s recovery through food after her life fell apart. Included are personal insights and recipes for every occasion, from little bites and hearty feasts of pies to salads and her signature mouth-watering desserts.

Eat Up New Zealand by Al Brown (Allen & Unwin, $65)

Another blockbuster from this effervescent chef, who has become the poster boy for Kiwi cuisine. Brown gets to the heart of our culinary culture with stories, photos and updates of such classic recipes as roast lamb, whitebait on toast, lamingtons and trifle.

Essential (Vol One) by Annabel Langbein (Annabel Langbein Media, $65)

The hefty volume showcases more than 650 savoury recipes from Langbein’s kitchen, with food to satisfy all appetites, lifestyles and dietary needs. It is filled with helpful tips and useful sections, such as “This is how I make” frittata, vegetarian bowl meals, tender fritters and more.

Everyday Strength by Sam Mannering & Karen McMillan (Beatnik, $44.99)

This collaboration between two cancer survivors is a comforting book for anyone facing this difficult time. The recipes don’t promise to cure cancer, but included are soups, gentle meals for both adults and children, tempting desserts and tips for well-being.

Homegrown Kitchen by Nicola Galloway (Potton & Burton, $49.99)

In a year of original and delightful books, this is the one to which I’m most drawn. Among the many healthy, family-friendly recipes is everything you need to know about the delights of stock, whole grains, sourdough and fermentation, and a load of helpful cooking tips. The handsome book has a gentle feel and clear, thoughtful layout that’s easy to negotiate and cross-reference.

My Mother’s Kitchen: New Zealand’s Best Chefs, Bakers and Foodies Share their Mothers’ Special Recipes (Potton & Burton, $49.99)

An impressive line-up of chefs, food writers and foodies share the recipes their mothers cooked; food that was treasured and developed through their lives. The book is filled with big personalities and inspiring recipes. My mother, who is in the book, could not put it down.

My Underground Deli by Jess Daniell (JUK, $49.95)

Full of recipes with big, bold, fresh flavours from Daniell’s popular Auckland delicatessens. There’s a range of tempting salads and slaws as well as recipes for the cakes and slices that entice her customers to return day after day.

The Adriatic Kitchen by Barbara Unković (Exisle, $14.95)

The New Zealand-born author with a Croatian father lived on the sun-soaked Croatian island of Korčula for seven years. In this gem of a publication, she captures the essence of the island’s culinary traditions and its abundance of fresh, seasonal ingredients, and fills the book with recipes and evocative memories.

The Tart Tin by Matt Cross (Potton & Burton, $39.99)

Every Saturday morning, Dunedinites queue at the Otago Farmers Market for Cross’s handmade sweet treats. Here, he shares a selection of his secrets for macarons, doughnuts, cupcakes and cakes. The strawberries and cream cake and salted caramel meringue cake are must-have recipes for every keen baker.

Two New Zealand Food Books

Source New Zealand by Gerhard & Henrietta Egger (Lasting Images, $54.95)

We need to know the stories of some of our best foods and farmers. Here, the Eggers provide an outstanding collection of profiles from around the country – and the bonus is a collection of recipes inspired by their story-finding expeditions. 

Black Barn by Brian Culy, Gregory O’Brien & Jenny Bornholdt (Godwit, $85)

Every region of the country has a hero or two whose vision and work make a difference. This spectacular book tells the story of Kim Thorp and Andy Coltart’s Black Barn wine, food and accommodation, and features Hawke’s Bay-inspired recipes from their vineyard restaurant.

Three international favourites

Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh (Ebury, $65)

Ottolenghi has gained worldwide fame for his books, usually based on the knockout food served in his London delis and restaurants. This book, co-written with his pastry chef, Helen Goh, focuses on lovely desserts, ice creams and cakes, which are made daily for his businesses. Some of the more indulgent recipes will be challenging, but they look utterly delicious.

The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones (HarperCollins, $55)

If there’s one vegetarian book needed in any kitchen, this is it. The third book by this young English food writer is her best yet, filled with innovative, flavour-filled recipes for everything from breakfasts to cakes. But it is her notes, tips and ideas charts (how to make a hearty salad in six steps, etc) that make this book so useful. 

Coastline by Lucio Galletto & David Dale (Murdoch Books, $59.99)

The food of the sunny western Mediterranean coast, from Catalonia to Liguria, is celebrated in this vibrant, colourful mixture of travel stories, photos and recipes. Authentic fare that will be perfect for cooking over summer.

Stocking fillers

What She Ate by Laura Shapiro (Viking, $56)

Fascinating reading for anyone interested in food and history. The author has explored the lives of Helen Gurley Brown, Barbara Pym, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eva Braun, Dorothy Wordsworth and Rosa Lewis, and shares revealing insights into personal food preferences and the culinary scene of each subject’s era. Extensively researched and beautifully written.

Shanghai in 12 Dishes; Ho Chi Minh City in 12 Dishes by Leanne Kitchen & Antony Suvalko (Red Pork Press, $24.99)

Each little volume handily examines the rich food culture found in these Asian cities, and provides a heap of helpful tips to enable visitors to eat like the locals. The perfect gift for anyone contemplating travel to these destinations.

This article was first published in the December 2, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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