Around the world in 3 amazing cookbooks


‘dAround the world in 3 amazing cookbooks


I’m feeling a bit guilty, because I’ve been sent 3 fabulous cookbooks to review. They’ve made my mouth water at pretty much every page, and I’ve not got round to cooking from any of them.

And it’s not because they are not appealing, as all three are, particularly as they cover three different styles of cooking. I think I could have an amazing, although possibly slightly confused, global dinner cooking a course from each one.

So, first destination: Turkey

Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking*


Tree of Life Turkish Home Cooking

I think this is probably the most beautiful cookbook cover I’ve seen in the while, but it’s not style over substance. Whilst I’ve always loved Turkish food,  I really love that this focuses on home cooking.

I could make a whole meal just from the first couple of recipes: yogurt dip with cucumber & mint (çaçik in Turkish), with baked hummus with pine nuts and grilled halloumi with lemon caper sauce. My idea of heaven.

That said, for something a bit different then I want to make The Imam Fainted, which would definitely prove to be a talking point at any dinner.

Next stop: India

Saffron Soul: Healthy vegetarian heritage recipes from India*


Saffron Soul: healthy vegetarian heritage recipes from India

I like Indian food, it is definitely one of my comfort food tastes (chicken tikka masala in Tokyo made me cry one night). That said, it’s reputation is not for being the healthiest, so this book sets out to change some of that perception.

It does help that this is vegetarian food, but it doesn’t just mean vegetables hidden in a curry sauce. I mean, lentil dumplings in yoghurt and tamarind is a step above my local takeaway for sure.

I’ve never seen an Indian recipe book with breakfast recipes before but this one does. I’d want to try saffron porridge with jaggery at least once, and there’s a recipe for proper chai as well. This book just makes me want to cook, and I almost don’t know where to start. I might just let it fall randomly open at a page and start there.

Final stop: Pakistan

Mountain Berries & Desert Spice*


Mountain Berries & Desert Spice


I have to admit to knowing nothing about Pakistani cuisine, so maybe starting with the sweet stuff is good for me and my sweet tooth. I really wanted to cook from this before a member of my team left, as his family heritage is Pakistani, so wanted to see how authentic a taste I could produce.

This book would be a challenge, in a good way. I mean, I’ve never made a porridge with buckwheat, or cooked with pink salt. Equally, I think mango, cardamom, saffron and red chilli murraba would challenge my perceptions of what I like to eat.

But I’d give it a go.

Beautiful photography (as with the other two books as well) and dishes that just make you want to cook and eat new things every day.


All three cookbooks are just something a little different, and I definitely want to find time to cook from each one. They’d make great gifts for a cook who loves to experiment with different flavours and dishes, or just enjoys a selection of beautiful cookbooks to read in bed! That’s a gift in its own right.

As and when I get round to cooking, then I will share some of the outcomes. Although if they are too delicious, I am terrible at eating first then remembering I’ve forgotten to photograph the dish!


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At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen


at home in the whole food kitchen - great cookbook gift for a food lover who likes to keep it whole


Not a statement of how my cooking has changed here, but the title of a new book from Amy Chaplin, an apparently well known Australian chef specialising in vegetarian and vegan food. Well, given MGG has gone pescetarian again, this was good timing for a test.

There are good chapters on store cupboard items, although there are still some items that I needed to look up, that get either a bit lost in translation, or are maybe more familiar if you have been cooking in this way for some time.


veg 2


We were doing okay with our first recipe, wholewheat udon noodle salad with sautéed Peppers, sweetcorn and sesame marinade. Well, we were until I got to tamari in the ingredient list, which actually turned out to be a kind of soy sauce, so very substitutable. I loved the colours in this dish, given the variety of peppers in it.


veg 3


I lacked black sesame seeds, but had the white ones, which toasted up nicely. Generally it felt a very healthy dinner, perfect for warmer nights as it can be served at room temperature. We were too hungry, and it still worked pretty much straight out the pan. It suggested it could be served with braised tempeh, but given my previous disasters with tofu, we went for pan fried halloumi with it.


veg 4


Overall, got a big thumbs up from us, and I would happily make this again. I can’t say that every dish grabbed me in the same way, but then it’s not entirely my way of cooking.

Again, I wanted to test how good the baking recipes were, not just the cooking, and tried the blackberry cornmeal muffins. I substituted blueberries for the blackberries, but these came out really well. They are not like a coffee shop muffin, in that they are not that sweet, but great for a healthier snack. They’ve got chia seeds in them for a bit of crunch, and are made using spelt flour so a bit more substantial.




I would say this is a great book for someone who has a real interest in this style of cooking, with lots of variety and some beautiful fresh flavours. I doubt it will earn shelf space here for very long, but definitely got ten out of ten for the two recipes we tried. Published by Jacqui Small, this is currently £25 at Waterstones with free delivery. Definitely one to get delivered, it’s a substantial book.