Some of the Best Cooking Books That Need to Be in Your Kitchen

Having just graduated from university, cooking books have a firm place on my kitchen shelf. From disastrous attempts at making barely edible dishes, my time as a student has exposed me to many cooking books. Here are the top ten of the best cooking books that are invaluable to any wannabe Masterchefs out there.

Ready… Steady… Cook!

10. Delia’s Complete Cookery Course by Delia Smith

This mammoth cookery book whips in at number 10. Delia Smith is very much the David Beckham of the cooking world – an institution. Her Complete Cookery Course does exactly what it says on the tin. It provides wannabe chefs with a full, comprehensive guide to creating the best dishes. With fundamental must know recipes like apple pie and yorkshire puddings, Delia shows she is one of the masters. With mouth-watering pictures acting as a rough guide this book is a god send for beginner chefs. No doubt a staple on your mother’s shelf, this book is perfect as a starting point in the basics of pastry making, cake baking and roast making. A genuine triumph in the cookery book world.

9. The New Curry Bible by Pat Chapman

Chapman’s bible does not follow the conventional rules of cookery books, but is a diamond in the rough for curry fanatics out there and the reason it has made this best cooking books list. The New Curry Bible does not simply show you the recipes but teaches you the history of curry making. It is not a book to be bought for people who want a quick fix curry. If you are one of those people I suggest you save yourself time and money and just buy a ready meal. However, if you are interested in the exquisite nature of curries, then this book teaches you all you need to know. Like any specialist cook book, it is a little disheartening at first to encounter all of the strange herbs and spices that you know you don’t own, but the rewards from having knowledge of these is irreplaceable. Although it may take you a while to get to grips with the fine art of balancing the spices, you will most certainly become famous amongst friends and family for the talent you will take from this beautiful book.

8. Rick Stein’s Taste of the Sea: 150 Fabulous Recipes for Every Occasion

As a massive lover of seafood, this book has literally been my magna carta. Rick Stein takes you on a journey around the coast and teaches you to really appreciate fish in all its scaly glory. From skinning methods to filleting, this book teaches you how to prepare and cook fish to perfection. Stein writes in a clear and simple fashion and it is impossible to resist his infectious passion. With a variety of dishes that cater for absolutely every occasion, this book is a must have for beginners and experienced fish mongers alike. The instructions are not condescending or set in stone, and leave freedom for experimentation. A truly great book by a truly great chef and teacher.

7. Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong

Following the theme of specialist cooking books, Simple Chinese Cooking is an absolute must have for anyone wanting to start a love affair with chinese cooking. Filled with beautiful photography, this book coaches you through each dish with clear and crisp step-by-step instructions. Usually when faced with a specific cook book, there seems a never-ending list of ingredients that appear to exist in outer space, but this book has essentials that can be bought and found easily in local grocery stores. Not only is this book a great guide, but it is also incredibly exciting as each week you can watch yourself develop and gain confidence with once seemingly difficult dishes. From steamed cod to sweet and sour pork, Kwong’s recipes will have you burning all your chinese takeaway menus from the get go.

6. Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver

There can be no such thing as a best cooking books list without Mr Oliver, of course. One of the things I love most about almost all of Jamie Oliver’s cook books are their beautiful and impeccable presentation. They are not endless pages of lines and lines of writing but are instead filled with bright, colourful and delectable pictures, as well as no- nonsense recipes. In his 30 Minute Meals Jaime shows you that once and for all cooking does not have to be a stressful and laborious affair. Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals is amazing for working people for whom time is money, and of course students who wish to spend minimum amount of time cooking and maximum amount of time… studying. Not only is it wonderfully organised with a designated section for starters, mains and desserts, but there are numerous vegetarian recipes scattered inside, making this book literally for every type of chef.

5. The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman

After his debut cook book How to Cook Everything became an international sensation, Bittman is back to teach you it is easier than you thought to cook recipes from all around the world. With no unnecessary embellishments Bittman gently leads you on a culinary round the world trip that will leave your taste buds in a state of euphoria. The best aspect of Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes In The World whilst you may never get round to cooking everything inside, the dishes you do make will leave you feeling inspired to take dishes you already cook and turn them on their head. Although it can be overwhelming to face so many recipes in one book, I urge you to add this to your collection. It is timeless and will only help to increase your knowledge of food.

4. Gordon Ramsay’s Secrets by Gordon Ramsay

In this incredible and not too badly priced book, Gordon Ramsay lets you in on a few secrets that have made him the world-renowned chef that we have all come to love. With a huge collection of recipes from poultry to fish and desserts to soups, this cookbook lets you in on inside info that will have friends and family thinking you are a bona-fide kitchen guru. The recipes are simple and effective and Ramsay has even added flourishes of his own, such as useful tips on presenting dishes. If you really have a passion for cooking or would love to learn more, this is the book that teaches you not just to cook but how to become a chef. These tips help to make cooking a truly enjoyable experience and will boost your confidence to be adventurous not only in cooking but also in eating as well.

3. The Complete Book of Sushi by Hideo Dekura

As a self-confessed sushi addict this book is incredible – the pages are almost edible. It combines the modern with the traditional and allows you to get to grips with this difficult Japanese style of cooking. Although not to everyone’s taste, this book teaches you the secrets behind making that difficult sticky rice and how to present your sushi in wonderful ways. The most interesting thing about Dekura’s book is they way it advances from simple to expert. This allows you to move gradually at your own pace and also sets little targets within the book. Whilst there are other books on the market such as Yo Sushi’s, it is Dekura’s book that really stands out of the crowd. With gorgeous photography it inspires with a mere flick of the page, and unlike its contemporaries has clear and simple instructions. A must have for any sushi fan and it also makes a great present.

2. Wahaca – Mexican Food At Home by Thomasina Miers

This book comes in at number two of this best cooking books top ten and is a must have for any frequent Wahaca customer. It was only recently published and plunges you straight into the vibrant and tasty world of Mexican street food. One thing that did surprise me was the breakfast section, and I have to admit I have been thoroughly converted to a mexican way of eating in the morning. Full of beautiful pictures and written in an accessible and friendly way, this book does exactly what the title states and brings Mexican food straight into your kitchen. Miers has clearly done the research required for such an exquisite book, and the information about mexican chillies is invaluable. An excellent book for cooking meals for friends and a great equivalent to BBQ parties.

1.Jaime does… by Jaime Oliver

In at number one is Jaime does. In this book Jaime travels through foodie hotspots such as Spain, France and Morocco in order to find innovative recipes. The book is beautifully presented (like all of Jaime’s books) and has wonderful pictures of his travels alongside the amazing pictures of his food. Each country has an introductory paragraph that explains the culture and food he came into contact with, and then in very simple language and an ever friendly tone, Jaime guides you through a range of dishes. From light bites such as patatas bravas to the more complex dishes like the steak tartare, Jaime’s tone never condescends you as the amateur chef. This book not only provides great enjoyment as a teaching tool but is also nice to flip through every now and again to behold the location shots of his food journey. Overall a very deserving winner of this Best Cooking Books list. Absolutely delicious!

This is by no means the only ten cook books I think you should own. There are many other brilliant cookbooks out there for beginners such as The Student Cookbook by Sophie Grigson. This is superb for amateur chefs who simply do not have the time to cook elaborate meals every day and are after recipes for both real cooking and convenience cooking. Then for more adventurous chefs who are willing to getinventive and scientific in the kitchen, there is Heston Bluementhal’s brilliant book The Fat Duck Cookbook, which combines vivid illustrations and wacky recipes for a truly great cooking experience. Overall, the ten books that compose this best cooking books list all offer friendly, easy to follow guidance which enables you to not only enjoy them as books, but also enjoy them as learning tools that will one day make you the king of the kitchen.

Bon appetit ladies and gents.

Stop, Rewind, Let’s Start the Day Again

Some days are like that aren’t they?

I mean you’re out of bed for like a total of five minutes and you already wish it were the end of the day and you were crawling back in.

Buddhism explains that this is wishing our lives away, wishing the moment away. That by wishing our suffering away, we are depriving ourselves of living in the moment. Of living our lives. Of being present.

That immersing ourselves in our suffering, not fighting it, not wishing it to be anything other than what it is, this is where we strengthen our spiritual practice. That by living in the moment, and not trying to make it something else, should part of your daily practice. They say meditation is all fine and all, but life, life is where the real spiritual practice is at.

I feel like that when I’m drinking vodka. I never wish the moment were something else. I never fight the moment, and I never try and make it something it isn’t. I am a true reflection of Buddhist philosophy when drunk.

I just need to work on it sober.

I reminded myself not to make my suffering more suffering by exacerbating my suffering by focusing on my suffering as I opened the pile of bills that had accumulated on my kitchen table.

And as I peeled open envelope 45, this one from the motor registry office, I did that double take thing. Where your brain reads information but doesn’t understand its content. So, in my case, I opened the letter and noticed that my car registration was up for renewal on May 11.

May?

May?

I stared dumbly at it.

But we were in June. Could I honestly have been driving an unregistered car for over a month?

I called Richard.

No answer.

I put the notice into the BILLS TO BE PAID PILE.

(Now a rather hefty look’n pile).

Richard I knew had been paying bills; I’d get an email from him with a copy of the mortgage payment. Or a foxtel paid email would pop up in my inbox. I had no idea how he’d worked out what needed paying and what didn’t. Perhaps vodaphone sent him emails? Because one of those Vodaphone paid accounts also arrived in my email inbox from him.

And so, naively, I opened most of the bills thinking they had already been paid.

I opened perhaps the tenth AGL Electricity bill..

Bla bla bla.

And I supposed that Richard must have paid that one too. I don’t know why. Perhaps I thought he was working on intuition. Or using The Force?

But as I delicately put the 10th or 11th AGL Electricity notice in my pile the doorbell rang.

I wandered down the hallway and opened the door.

There stood a rather pleasant looking man who handed me an AGL account.

“Could I leave this in your capable hands please Madam? It needs to be paid.”

And I took the piece of paper from him and smiled.

Who knew AGL hand delivered outstanding accounts to be paid?

And what a coincidence I told him, “I have about ten of these that I’ve just opened.”

I gave him a smile and shut the door.

Imagine, AGL hand delivering bills.

Well wonders would never cease.

I picked up my cup of tea and prepared to address the rest of the pile of unopened bills. I glanced at the photocopy of the bill still in my hand.

It was a disconnection notice.

The lovely man had come to disconnect me.

His letter was to tell me, I was disconnected, that I’d need to pay $99 to reconnect and then pay the outstanding bill to boot.

Right.

Nice.

No electricity for me.

I took the Buddhist view. All things pass, the very nature of suffering is that it is fleeting; it moves only to be replaced with a new suffering. Rather than immersing myself in this suffering, I should instead let it float on by, like a cloud, watch it, and let it go.

I put the disconnection notice on the table and resumed my envelope opening safari.

No point getting upset about it I rationalised. After all, getting upset wouldn’t put the electricity back on.

Cuba woke up from his nap.

Whinging.

Hot.

Clingy.

And only after 20 minutes.

Since we’ve had the Baby Whisperer come in and fix his wagon (teach him how to sleep) he always sleeps for two to three hours.

I was not impressed by this 20 minute effort.

Nor was I impressed by whinging, crying baby who was cranky and not letting me finish my pile of letters.

God was it any bloody wonder I never got to open bills when I have a baby that whinges and carries on like a pork chop the minute I put him down to do something for myself.

God.

Honestly.

I took his temp.

Not well.

And that annoyed me too, I mean after all, antibiotics are supposed to fix you. He was almost at the end of these and he seemed worse than ever. And bloody hell, I had work I needed to get done and he’d only slept for 20 minutes.

He refused any food, and shoved all offered morsels off his high chair tray onto the floor.

Which was also bloody annoying because I’d only just swept it and now it was covered with sloppy kid food.

I picked him up and tried to carry him around on my hip.

But look. Cuba is no small fry. This little monkey is 11 kilos.

And carrying a cranky, hot, 11 kilo beef burger around while you try and open envelopes is no fun.

Oh I know.

I should have been nicer to him. I should have been mrs cuddly mummy. But I wasn’t. Ella first got sick a week ago, followed by Cuba, followed by Lola. I have been up to three sick kids every night for over a week, followed by looking after three sick, whinging kids all day. OH MY GOD it’s all I could do not to dig three holes in the back of the garden and stick them in it!

If pick up one, the other one cries because she wants carrying. If

I pick up the three year old, the one year old loses it. Then I find the five year old slumped over on the lounge almost dead and I drop the whingy ones and dash to her aid. I feel like Florence Nightingale meets Egyptian slave. And on top of all the mummy nurse time, mr husband has worked late almost every night. So I’ve had sick kids all day and then had to put them all to bed every night on my tod.

Honestly, at the end of the day I’m ready to book flights to Mozambique and be one of those mummies that just went for a walk one day and they never found her again.

So when Cuba woke up, sicker, and even more whingy. Well I wasn’t impressed. And his whinge. Well it’s like a buzz saw. It’s at that exact pitch, eeeeeee, eeeeeee, eeeeeeee. Drills into your brain…. eeeee, eeeee, eeee.

I tried to give him Baby Panadol and he threw it across the room.

Don’t get me wrong, I really dig that my kids are spirited. I like spunky kids. I like kids with personality. But I do not dig kids who throw stuff all over my CLEAN kitchen floor.

And before you know it, I was suffering in my suffering.

I was wallowing in my suffering.

Why me, as I looked down and the little snot monster grabbed my leg, “eeeee. eeee. eeeee.”

I picked him up.

I ditched opening the rest of the letters and decided to go for a walk.

After all, the sun was shining for the first time in weeks.

Why not get some fresh air, and I wiped the fresh snot from my jumper where Cuba had rubbed his face into my chest.

Yes fresh air.

Perfect.

I took a deep, long, slow breath.

Must remember not to wish my life away. Must remember not to wish he was 18 and moving out. Must remember to enjoy the moment, or at least to accept it. Must not try to make it something it isn’t.

I was going to have to walk to pick up Lola from Pre-school and walk to get Ella from school. Which meant leaving over an hour earlier to do the round trip. Damn bloody car for not being registered.

Tried Richard on the phone again.

No answer.

I bundled Cuba into pram.

He screamed his head off in protest. (Cuba not a fan of the pram.)

I took deep breath, don’t wish life away.

And I walked past our car, lifeless, unusable.

What I wouldn’t give to strap QB into a car seat and drive around the block til he fell asleep and then pull up in the sunshine and read a book.

Instead I looked down at my little man, face scrunched up letting out his Tyrannosaurus Rex scream.

Must not wish moment is anything other than what it is.

I glanced at car rego sticker.

Expiry date: 30 DEC 2009.

December 2009????? I had been driving the car unregistered since December last year? Holy Farkamoly! Almost 6 months!

I could drag you thro the rest of that day. But why torture you as well. And frankly, I’ve already lived that day, why torture me as well.

I called my friend up and explained that I was going to have to ditch meditation class tonight as I really needed red wine.

I decided I needed a moment (well several hours if truth be told) of participating in an event where I would genuinely not be wishing it away. And consumption of red wine fitted that description well.

After all, it is easy to be Buddhist and spiritual and not wish moment away when one is actually enjoying moment.

I informed her I would be on her doorstep at 7PM with wine and packet of cheese and onion chips (nice to bring dinner as well I thought).

I cheered immeasurably as I prepared dinner for the three sick urchins.

I even took it in my stride when Cuba dumped the entire scrambled egged contents of his bowl on the floor.

I even smiled when Ella pushed her plate away and said “I hate scrambled eggs.”

And I even hugged Lola when she knocked over her glass of water, soaked the table, the floor, all of her eggs and half of her dress (I note hugged as opposed to strangled).

Because you see, I was going to be enjoying bottle of red (I had just mentally upped one bottle to two bottles) with girlfriend in just over an hour. I could do it. I could make it thro horror day and get out the other side.

And then Richard called to say he was working late.

LATE?

On my wine and cheese and onion chips night?

On my disconnection of electricity night. My car is unregistered for 6 months night. My children are sick going on 7 days night. My I’m about to have a nervous God damn break down night?

I mean how nice for him.

Working late.

Here I was surrounded by screaming kids all demanding my attention, food all over the floor, water spilt from one end of the kitchen to the other, trying to administer antibiotics and baby Panadol, trying to get Cuba in a clean nappy as he tried diligently to grab his own poo. And where was husband? Richard, Richard, why he got to sit at work in a nice quiet office, doing nice graphic, design, artistic stuff, whist I was in the fucking trenches. I was in World War Two and he was quaffing champagne aboard the Love Boat.

Where was my LOVE???

And so I digged deep.

Well you have to don’t you.

You have to dig deep to find strength, compassion, spare change to buy bottle of Absolute.

And I gathered my snotty, whingy little clan and dumped them in the bath.

Took chai tea out of overhead cup’d and brewed self a cup with two teaspoons of sugar (let’s face it, I needed sweetening up).

And I must say I felt far better after sending nervous breakdown style text to husband. I figure why suffer alone? (Think this needs to be added to Buddhists texts.)

And soon, all three were in bed. And I was happily ensconced in front of tele watching MasterChef. Ignoring incoming phone calls from Husband (obviously worried about my repeated references to digging holes in garden), I felt myself cheer immeasurably. The day was finally over.

I have however decided, next time I wake up like that, I’m skipping Buddhist philosophy, and getting straight back into bed.

To Be a Master Chef, You Must Use Master Chef

Cooking is a meticulous activity. Some people are chefs by trade, while some are classically trained. However they got there, there is one constant that remains true for all chefs. They’re only as good as their cookware. Chefs and cooks need to have only the best at their disposal in order to produce a great meal. For some, it becomes a disservice when they buy, without so much as a reason, any kind of cookware. Usually the first thing they see is what they buy. This may not be the best choice. Buying cookware as a gift is also a dangerous proposition. However, you can’t go wrong with Master Chef cookware. What makes it better than the other brands is its ability to evenly cook the food.

Whether you’re cooking on high or low heat, the food must be cooked through and through on an even keel. Without it, you’ll have food that isn’t pleasing to the palate. Master Chef cookware also provides technology that heats up the pan quicker than other pans. This is crucial, especially if you look to cook something on last minute notice.

For years, it has worked to produce some of the finest cookware for the public and they one of the most popular brands today. Whether you need to sauté vegetables, grill some meat, or boil water for pasta, you should be able to find Master Chef cookware that is perfect for your needs. Don’t eat uneven tasting food anymore and buy Master Chef today.