#1 Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How To Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals
Tied into the show Jamie's Food Ministry, if I'm not mistaken, this cookbook is filled with great recipes using every-day ingredients. I've had the book since the middle of 2009 and there's still recipes I want to try doing. My favourite recipes from here though are the:
- Cheat's Fresh Pasta With Cherry Tomato Sauce - pages 54-55
- Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake - pages 48-49
- Chicken Fajitas - pages 38-39 (just made these again the other day)
The illustrations in Jamie's Food Revolution are really well done - every recipe has it's illustration(s), as the various steps are shown, as well as the final result. I have to say, they really do inspire me to try some of the recipes.
I just call this one the red book, and I'm using it all the time. From just looking something up, for example, to see what capers are (you get an explanation, some recipes to use it in, and how to choose good ones and keep them), to getting inspiration for a meal, to great recipes. To date, only one recipe hasn't worked out, and that's probably more my fault than anything (attempting to make bread for the first time). There's breakfast, lunch or dinner recipes, not to mention dessert, dips and all kinds of odds and ends such as flavoured butter too. Ever thought of making your own cheese? It's in here and it's so simple to do - I've done it twice now. Some of my favourites from this book include:
- Cheese Quesadillas - page 109
- Tomato Soup - pages 130-131
- Beef Barley Soup - page 127
My favourite recipes from the yellow book are:
- Rice Pilaf with Onions, Raisins and Pine Nuts (The first variation) - page 202
- Salmon Filet Roasted In Butter - page 305
- Roast Turkey and Gravy Without Stuffing - pages 403-404
- Buttermilk Pancakes (variation) - page 748
- Baked Pumpkin Slices - page 600
Regardless of that difference, this is a wonderful resource which for me has taken the place of that kitchen classic, The Joy of Cooking.
This is one of the more recent additions to my collection, inspired by watching the Chef At Home T.V. show on the Food Network. The first episode I saw all the way through was the baked Chicken episode and I just had to try the recipe. As with most of my other cookbooks, every recipe has an absolutely delicious photo included, and that just makes me want to try the recipe.
Admittedly, I haven't tried too many of the recipes here yet, but my favourites so far are the:
- Macaroni and Cheese - pages 158-159
- Classic Chicken Stew - pages 90-91
- Grilled Chicken Ten Ways - pages 96-97
I've only tried a few recipes to date, but there are some other ones that I really want to try in the future, like some of the other pastas, particularly the Fettuccine Alfredo. I have this thing about raw eggs in things, and this is the first recipe for this that I've seen that doesn't include an egg yolk in the sauce. Then there's the fruit crumble recipe and the mushroom stew recipes to try.
Michael Smith's style comes through in the writing of the recipes too - each of the descriptions is amusing, entertaining and inspires me to want to try the recipe.
The most recent cookbook to join my collection, and also the one with the most different approach to the other ones - Meals in Minutes doesn't just have you making one dish at a time, but a whole meal: main dish, dessert, salads. To be honest, when I first looked at this book, I found it downright intimidating. I'm used to doing one major dish and maybe something simple like frozen vegetables or rice. Now, it's teaching me how to time things to do several dishes at one.
I have to admit that I've been encouraged in using the Meals In Minutes book by watching the 30 Minute Meals show that's on the Food Network. It really does help to see the recipe, then do it from the book. Still, I've done three of the full meals, plus a couple of the different individual dishes. The starring dish so far has been the Fish Tray Bake from pages 168-171. However, the Sausage Cassoulet and the Wonky Summer Pasta meals were both delicious as well.
In terms of the individual dishes, to date I've tried two of the frozen yogourt desserts and they've both been good. As has also the Tuscan Tomato Salad.
The neatest thing about this cookbook is the way it's gotten me trying new things: capers and anchovies both come to mind, as do a whole host of new recipes and types of food. I'm going to say that I suspect that Meals in Minutes is likely to move it's way up my favourites list.
From The Kitchens Of Martha Stewart Living
How many recipes do you generally use from any one cookbook regularly? Three? Four? More? I seem to find that it's generally about three. This book though, is the exception. To date I've tried at least six, and half of those have made their way into my regular use category. Some, I tend to save for specific circumstances, but they've all been delicious. And, there's more that I want to try. My favourites are:
- Pasta With Easy Italian Meat Sauce - pages 242-243
- Sloppy Joes - pages 216-217
- Grilled Peaches With Sweetened Sour Cream - pages 174-175
- Rhubarb Crisp - pages 88-89
This is one of those cookbooks where the presentation constantly inspires me to try something new, and also where every single recipe I've tried has turned out wonderfully.
Of course, I have other favourite cookbooks, and limiting this post to just five was a real challenge, and that's with sneaking in a sixth by combining the two Mark Bittman books into one. Besides, this doesn't even begin to cover the fun you can have by modifying recipes or inventing your own.
I'm always on the lookout for new cookbooks, so tell me what your favourites are too. I love recommendations!