The top 10 food books of 2018

If you want to buy a cookbook as a present – for a friend or for yourself – it’s a hard task choosing this year, as there have been so many outstanding ones published. To make the job easier (and ensure your money is well spent), I have assessed, digested and selected my favourite tomes of the year.


The top 10 food books of 2018

1. Ottolenghi Simple
Yotam Ottolenghi and his crew have gone and cracked it. They’ve delivered the sophisticated, flavour-packed, hitting-all-the-right-notes dishes we’ve come to expect from a recipe bearing the name Ottolenghi – but without the lengthy shopping lists and long waits. The dishes are as cleverly conceived and alluring as ever. This is recipe nirvana for the time-poor. (Ebury Press £25)

Ottolenghi Simple

2. The Nordic Baking Book
Certain to be at the top of the most-wanted list for Bake Off fans is Magnus Nilsson’s latest book (beware: it’s heavy enough to squash a small dog). Nilsson is the chef of Sweden’s ground-breaking restaurant Fäviken. Dip into this 576-page compendium and discover a rich vein of sweet and savoury bakes. You’ll be lost for days. (Phaidon £29.95)

The Nordic Baking Book

3. Goat: cooking and eating
Does goat seem like an odd subject for a food book? If so, consider that young male goats are routinely disposed of as the unwanted by-product of the dairy industry – a fact that motivated chef James Whetlor to become a goat farmer and give male goats longer, happier lives. Of course, carnivores benefit with great-tasting meat. The recipes are amazingly good. (Quadrille £20)

Goat: cooking and eating

4. Time: a year and a day in the kitchen
Chef, teacher and delicious. columnist Gill Meller is one of the most talented cooks and writers in Britain. His second book, a sweep of seasonal recipes from a cook’s year, is one you should buy for yourself and all your friends. There’s a simplicity and honesty to Gill’s food and this will be a kitchen companion for ages to come. (Quadrille £25)

Time: a year and a day in the kitchen

5. Feast: Food of the Islamic World
A masterwork of 500-plus pages from Middle Eastern and North African food authority Anissa Helou, bringing together more than 300 recipes from Sulawesi to Senegal. The results are fascinating to read and the book is magic to cook from. (Bloomsbury £45)

Feast: Food of the Islamic World

6. Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound: a new way to cook
Sybil Kapoor is the thinking person’s cook and here she delves into the hows and whys of taste and flavour. The aim? To encourage recipe followers to use science and the senses to find their own way to cooking food that satisfies. The recipes, from porridge to prawn laksa, are hugely appealing. (Pavilion £24)

Sight Smell Touch Taste Sound: a new way to cook

7. How to Eat a Peach: menus, stories and places
Any book from Diana Henry is a joy and this canny collection of menus and stories is no exception. “There is poetry in menus,” Diana writes, and you’ll be transported straight to Bordeaux or Istanbul on the strength of her food memories – and want to conjure up the divine recipes at home. (Mitchell
Beazley £25)

ow to Eat a Peach: menus, stories and places

8. Together: Our Community Cookbook
A heartfelt gem of a book that gathers recipes from women of The Hubb Community Kitchen, whose lives were impacted by the 2017 Grenfell fire. The kitchen has provided hope, as well as a place to cook. Profits go to the community kitchen. (Ebury £9.99)

Together our community cookbook

9. Honey & Co: At Home
Authors Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich are the owners of Honey & Co restaurant and its siblings in London. They have a knack for hospitality and a talent for a turn of phrase. Sarit and Itamar are great cooks with a command of Middle Eastern dishes that might seem daunting if they weren’t so do-able. You’ll want to cook every dish. (Pavilion £26)

Honey and Co at home

10. The Noma Guide to Fermentation
If you’re intrigued by fermentation or have a pickle head on your gift list, you need this book. Written by Noma chef Rene Redzepi and David Zilber, it’s a fascinating (really!) guide to everything from kombucha and miso to black garlic. (Artisan £30)

Noma guide to fermentation

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