Felicity O’Driscoll Book Reviews Issue 216

By Cuisine3 Minutes
February 15, 2023By Cuisine

Felicity O’Driscoll of Cook the Books with her pick her all-time favourite cookbooks by women. Find out more at cookthebooks.co.nz or or visit the new shop at the Bread & Butter Bakery, 3/34 Westmoreland St West, Grey Lynn, Auckland.

TENDERHEART

HETTY LIU MCKINNON, PLUM, $65

Since the release of Community in 2014, Hetty Liu McKinnon has been one of my absolute favourite food writers. In Tenderheart, her most recent book, she doesn’t just share recipes, she shares what inspires them – family history, travel and a lifelong love of vegetables. I’m not sure I can wait for winter to make the kale and kimchi lasagne – don’t judge.

PERSIANA EVERYDAY

SABRINA GHAYOUR, OCTOPUS, $49.99

There’s a joy in Sabrina Ghayour’s cookbooks. I used to think it came from the vibrancy of the produce – tomatoes, pomegranates, abundant herbs and citrus, skewers of charred chicken or meltingly tender lamb. Now I believe that joy comes from Sabrina herself. Persiana Everyday is simplified and, in her words, she’s made it more relaxed without compromising on flavour.

CRAZY WATER, PICKLED LEMONS

DIANA HENRY, MITCHELL BEAZLEY, $39.95

Written back in 2002 when she was considered a ‘new voice in food’, this early Diana Henry cookbook remains one of my favourites. At the time of publication, flower waters, pomegranate and cardamom were considered exotic and putting rose water in a rice pudding was seen as living dangerously. It is as much about the history and use of ingredients as it is recipes. Cardamom-baked figs and plums with burnt honey pannacotta are set against the story of ‘fruits of longing’ – figs, quinces, pomegranates and dates.

ESSENTIAL, VOL 1: BEST EVER MEALS FOR BUSY LIVES

ANNABEL LANGBEIN, ANNABEL LANGBEIN BOOKS, $65

It’s not something I would advocate, but I’ve often said that if you could only have one cookbook this might very well be it. It’s an evolution of Annabel’s books throughout the years, with a recipe for just about everything from roast chicken to pasta dishes, salads, soups – they are all there. While practical, it’s not basic. My own edition of Best dates from 2004 and I still use it; the Provencal Chicken is a regular. There is also a companion edition which covers the sweeter side of life.