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Best Cookbooks for Serious Cooks

by Elizabeth Young

published on 4 December 2015

Whether they love to recreate the food of their favourite restaurant dishes at home, explore new cuisines, or delve into the history of food, this gift guide features our pick of the best books to buy the expert cook in your life this Christmas.

Ottolenghi FLAVOUR

Ottolenghi FLAVOUR

by Ixta Belfrage, Yotam Ottolenghi

The third instalment in Ottolenghi’s bestselling, multi-award-winning Plenty series, comes Ottolenghi FLAVOUR. It is the ultimate guide to cooking veg; divided into three parts, each dedicated to a fundamental element of flavour: Process, Pairing, and Produce. This is for any serious cooks who love to experiment with big-hitter, big-flavour dishes, whether they eat meat or not.

Falastin: A Cookbook


by Sami Tamimi, Tara Wigley

For anyone who loved Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem they’ll love this Palestinian cookbook. A love letter to Palestine, its history, its future, its people and their voices, Falastin, is a beautiful collection of stories and recipes, celebrating Palestinian producers, cooks, chefs and even seed savers. As Sami and Tara travel through Bethlehem and East Jerusalem to Nablus, Jenin, Haifa, Akka, Nazareth, Galilee and across the West Bank, they collect the distinct recipes of each region and share them with beautiful photography to recreate at home.

The Sicily Cookbook

A great book for Italophiles or anyone who loves travelling via their kitchens. This beautiful cookbook brings alive the food of Sicily – distinct from the Italian mainland with its heavier use of spices, as well as cheese, seafood and citrus fruits, ripe tomatoes and aubergines. Weaving together the three major strands of Sicilian cooking, from Cucina Povera (peasant food) to Cibo di Strada (street food) to Cucina dei Monsù(sophisticated food), Cettina takes the reader around the island with more than 70 authentic recipes, producer stories and gorgeous photography.

Table Manners: The Cookbook

Table Manners

by Jessie Ware, Lennie Ware

From the hit podcast of the same name, TTable Manners: The Cookbook is like having Jessie and Lennie at the table with you. This time, rather than listen to them cook and chat with famous celebs, it’s now possible to tune into your favourite episodes and cook along at home. Chapters span Effortless to A Bit More Effort to Jewish Food, with recipes for Aubergine & Puy Lentil Bolognese, Beef Tagliata, Drunken Crouton and Kale Salad and Blackberry and Custard Tarts.

The Rangoon Sisters: Recipes from our Burmese family kitchen

The Rangoon Sisters

A new cookbook from the sisters behind East London’s popular supperclub of the same name, this book is perfect for adventurous cooks who love to travel via their kitchens. Amy and Emily Chung draw from their family’s recipes and travels across Myanmar, to create delicious, authentic and simple recipes that can be recreated at home with no specialist equipment or expensive ingredients needed.

Ottolenghi SIMPLE


This is the perfect book for cooks who love their food to be creative but not over-complicated and, as always, Ottolenghi delivers. Fantastic flavours and clever combinations, but with quicker and easier instructions than ever before, this is a must-have for serious cooks whose standard store-cupboard staples range from preserved lemons to harissa.



by Russell Norman

From the man behind London and Brighton’s award-winning Polpo restaurants, Venice honours the cuisine that inspired a restaurant empire. Russell Norman explores the simplicity of Venetian home cooking across the seasons, including recipes from grilled spring vegetable pizzas to a wintry slow-roasted veal shin, and shows how distinct Venetian cuisine can be compared to the food we often associate with Italy.

Berber & Q

Berber & Q

by Josh Katz

It doesn’t need to be summer to be barbecue season as Josh Katz shows so well in this new cookbook. Berber & Q is a celebration of flavour, with 120 mouth-watering barbecue recipes, invaluable advice on choosing a barbecue, how to prepare and cook meat as well as meze, vegetables and desserts. This is barbecue food as you’ve never eaten it before.

Taverna: Recipes From a Cypriot Kitchen


by Georgina Hayden

Taverna is a journey back to Georgina’s Greek-Cypriot roots with exciting, vibrant, sun-soaked recipes that will make you rethink what Mediterranean food is all about. From simple mains and celebration desserts to meze plates to serve a crowd, this is a cookbook to brighten up the winter. 

The Book of St John: Still a Kind of British Cooking

The Book of St John

by Fergus Henderson, Trevor Gulliver

This is the perfect cookbook for keen cooks who like to push their boundaries in the kitchen. Not for the faint-hearted, this cookbook from the men behind the legendary St John in London, includes recipes for Ox Tongue, Braised Rabbit and Duck Fat Toast, showing innovative ways to cook under-loved parts of the animal and to use up otherwise under-used or wasted ingredients.  



Meera Sodha takes you on a journey from India to Indonesia, Singapore to Japan, China, Thailand, and Vietnam, travelling across the East to give you vegan and vegetarian dishes that are bursting with flavour. Flavourful, vibrant and meat-free, these are accessible recipes for cooks who want to introduce more vegetables into their daily cooking.

A Love of Eating: Recipes from Tart London

A Love of Eating

From the pair behind boutique caterers, Tart London, this is a cookbook that reflects the vibrant, fresh, wholesome flavours these ladies love to cook. For those who like to spend a weekend afternoon experimenting with new flavours and cooking up a feast for friends and family, this might be just the ticket. Think recipes such as Chocolate and Salted Dulce de Leche Tart and Crispy Chicken with Tomatoes, Roast Garlic Mash and Smashed Herb Oil. Bold, bright and delicious.

La Grotta Ices

Kitty Travers’ debut cookbook shows that ice cream can be so much more than tasteless vanilla and synthetic strawberry. Using whole fruits, quality dairy and incredibly innovative flavour combinations, from cucumber and sour cream to raspberry and fig leaf, Kitty gives the world of ice cream a much needed facelift. Beautifully written, this is a book for every keen cook.

Completely Perfect: 120 Essential Recipes for Every Cook

Completely Perfect

From the perfect roast chicken to the best mayonnaise, Felicity Cloake has tried and tested recipes from our favourite cooks – from Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith to Nigel Slater and Simon Hopkinson – to create the perfect version of hundreds of classic dishes. For keen cooks seeking to perfect the essentials, this cookbook is it.

Sabor: Flavours from a Spanish Kitchen


by Nieves Barragán Mohacho

From Nieves Barragán Mohacho, the acclaimed chef formerly of Michelin-starred Spanish restaurant, Barrafina, comes the ultimate guide to the wonders of Spanish cooking. Teaching you how to master the classics, with recipes for everything from tortilla to churros, this is the perfect gift for lovers of Spanish food.

How To Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food

How To Eat

Marking 20 years since its original publication in 1998, Nigella’s How to Eat is celebrated in this brand-new Vintage Classics edition. How to Eat is as much a kitchen companion as a book to savour in bed, filled with prose that dispenses both delicious evocations of sensual pleasure and sage advice. This is a cookbook for food-lovers who enjoy reading about food as much as they love to cook it


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