Home Uncategorized 5 cookery books I couldn’t live without

5 cookery books I couldn’t live without

by Clare Mansell
5 cookery books I couldn’t live without


Like most families, we have built up a rather extensive collection of cookery books over the years. Some are barely opened (despite the best of intentions) whilst others are well used and splattered with ingredients. The ones I use most are annotated with recipe modifications, notes about when we tried the dishes and how we rated them. In this post, I thought I would share with you five books that have stood the test of time and are still used again and again.

1) Richard Bertinet – Dough

I’ve mentioned Richard Bertinet so much on this blog that he’s probably got a restraining order on me. My sister went on a bread-making course with him about 7 years ago and that one weekend changed bread forever for our family.  I regularly refer to Richard’s original bread book Dough for ideas and inspiration and recommend it to anyone who wants to start baking at home.

2) Recipes (self-published)

A few years ago I collected up all the scraps of paper I have with recipes on them, scanned them and put them together as a Blurb book. Now everything I need from the recipe for walnut cake written down by a family friend to the quantities for white sauce I scribbled a post stick note are in one place. Now this might not seem like a terribly helpful recommendation, but actually it is, because all of us can make our own recipe books and pull together the collections of ideas we have amassed over the years

3) Delia Smith – Complete Illustrated Cookery Course

It would be sacrilege to put together this list without including Saint Delia. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her pavlova recipe (p. 514-15) which I make several times every summer for parties. It’s a doddle to put together and always impresses. I’m also a big fan of her Lemon Surprise Pudding (p. 526) and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (p.135)

4) Isidora Popovic – Popina Book Of Baking

Since I discovered Isidora’s recipe for shortcrust pastry (p. 105) I have stopped resting and blind baked pastry entirely. All you do is throw the ingredients in the food processor and use the pastry away – my kind of baking! Also recommended are the Chocolate Chip Cookies (p. 14) though I recommend you descrease baking time to 15 minutes and Aubergine, Red Pepper & Tomato tart (p. 112)

5) Good Food. 500 Triple Tested Recipes.

I picked this up in the cookery book section in Tesco years ago reduced from £25 to £6.99. My favourite recipes include Easy Chicken & Spinach Pie (P. 43) & Pumpkin Pasta (P. 144) which we make several times every autumn substituting the pumpkin for butternut squash.  I haven’t yet found a single duff recipe in the whole book.

Written for Tesco




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Becky Brown January 16, 2015 - 3:23 pm

I love the idea of having a family cookbook. We have always wanted to start one as there are many meals that we cook regularly and have made our own. I probably use about half of my cookbooks regularly but can’t bear to get rid of the ones not used (I always buy books mainly for recipes but also because of the pictures!)

Carie January 16, 2015 - 4:15 pm

i don’t think I’ve got any of these so thank you for the suggestions – or at least I don’t have any of the four by other cooks, I’ve got a low tech book of my recipes – a spiral bound peel back the cellophane sort of photo album with all my recipes on scraps of paper tucked in – works a charm!

Lynn Goring-Crook January 16, 2015 - 4:40 pm

I am so glad you included Delia. When my children grow up and move to their first homes this is the cookery book I will buy them. The fail safe go to cooking. Her a christmas boom is a must have to.

Em @ snowingindoors January 16, 2015 - 4:53 pm

I’ve been thinking about buying Dough (for Jonny!) and think I’ll have to now, I’d love to eat more home baked bread and this might prompt him to get baking 😉

I recommend any book by Nigel Slater. His books are beautiful and make you feel like you can cook anything. I love his writing style and he isn’t snobby about anything he cooks either.

Sue Bone January 16, 2015 - 5:00 pm

Can’t do without Delia, had to buy a second copy as son took a copy to Uni, very cheap second hand.

Christina January 16, 2015 - 5:23 pm

Interesting ‘Basics’ Cookbook – Good Food. I’ve got Mary Berry but will check out my local Tesco for any good buys on Good Food Recipe Books!

Choclette January 16, 2015 - 5:39 pm

I’d like to get my hand’s on Richard Bertinet’s Dough, though as I’ve just had a cookery book clear out to enable me to see what I’ve actually got, this might not be such a great idea.

I use Eat Your Books quite a lot, which helps me to use more of my books – you type in an ingredient you want to use or ingredients (types too) and it comes up with all the recipes in your collection with that combination.

[email protected] January 16, 2015 - 5:42 pm

Oooh I like the idea of that website a lot. I knew there was one where you could put you ingredients in, but not one that cross referenced your books too. Thank you for that!

Anne's Kitchen January 16, 2015 - 5:49 pm

I would struggle to choose my top 5 out of a rather large selection but I do agree on your choice of the Good Food 500 one – I have made lots from the book, all successfully and its a great all rounder to have!

Donna January 16, 2015 - 10:19 pm

I love that you scanned all your recipes in and made a book and I love even more that you didn’t leave it until the end of the list 🙂 x

Nancy January 18, 2015 - 7:18 am

Love this post. My mother gave me the “Good Housekeeping” cookbook when I headed to university. I still look at it for the cooking times for stuffed poultry. My favourite recipe is for Beer cheese soup that I got out of the newspaper. I can’t lose it.


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