How many recipe books are in your kitchen? 1, 5 10, 50?? When was the last time you looked at each of them? Have you even used them all?
I’m guessing that you have far more books than you actually need. I love browsing through cook books but only really use a handful of recipes from each of them, so their main purpose is cluttering up the kitchen shelves.
There are a few that break that rule though! I have 4 recipe books that I regularly use. And I have tried most of the recipes in them. If I was asked to get rid of all my other recipe books, I would still have all the recipes I regularly use in these 4 books.
I’ve split them into categories to let you see the reason why these are the 4 most used books in my kitchen.
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For Basic Everyday Family Meals
My cooking skills were pretty poor before I became a mum. I worked long hours so I didn’t want to spend time cooking after getting home from a long shift. Our meals basically consisted of jars of sauce with some chicken and pasta stirred through. My repertoire was minimal!
Then I discovered Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food! This was a game changer for me! It was the recipe book I needed. I had several books that I never really looked through, because they were all too complicated or took too much time to make. I needed quick, easy and delicious which is exactly what Mr Oliver provided.
This is the recipe book for people who don’t know how to cook (his words not mine!) It covers all the basics and his recipes are all easy to follow and they work! He uses ingredients you already have in your cupboard, no shopping for 20 specialist items that will then sit in your cupboard gathering dust.
Jamie Oliver's fish pie is amazing. Which recipe book is it from? #recipebook #ministryoffood Click To Tweet
My favourite recipe
His fish pie recipe is amazing! It’s so simple yet it’s enough of a twist on the fish pie I used to make that I’ve never looked back since discovering it. He adds carrot, cheese and chilli to his fish mix which results in a phenomenal flavour! Honestly, when it comes to simple flavours that work brilliantly together, he KNOWS what he’s talking about!
For Healthy Meals On A Budget
What I love about this book is it shows you inventive ways to use leftovers and teaches you about your shopping habits (and how to break your bad ones!) So it’s not just a book of recipes.
I’ve turned to this book for ideas when dinner hasn’t gone according to plan (or when I’ve forgotten to buy the main ingredient!) and have always managed to produce something yummy. Like Ministry Of Food, it doesn’t use a load of expensive ingredients that you’re not going to use again until you make that same dish a few months later.
I’d definitely recommend watching the next TV series of Eat Well For Less when it’s on. And you’ll find even more recipes on their website.
My favourite recipe
Chicken satay noodles! I’ve always loved satay sauce but had never thought about making my own until I got this book. It’s so simple! Peanut butter, coconut milk and chilli sauce. 3 ingredients that are cupboards staples in our house, so it’s a great recipe to turn to if I need a quick dinner. Yum yum yum!
Why get both books?
Why do I recommend you have both Ministry of Food AND Eat Well For Less? Because they are very different books! Jamie Oliver provides you with recipes for all the staple family meals you need in your repertoire. While Eat Well For Less is more of a meal plan makeover. It teaches you not just how to make delicious meals, but how to save money while doing it! It makes you evaluate your shopping habits and learn how to cut back on your spending. You can read more about it here.
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For Baking Essentials
Thank goodness for Mary Berry. I love love love her recipes. They work and they work WELL!! Mary Berry’s Baking Bible is a compilation of all the basic baking recipes you could need. I think my favourite thing about this book is that there’s an entire section on chocolate cakes!!!
Most baking books I own sit on the shelf gathering dust, but not this one! I’ve made multiple recipes of hers and loved each and every one. If I had to give up all my other baking books apart from this one, I’d still have all the recipes I need!
I’d say some of her recipes require a little more work than other simpler versions, but believe me it’s worth it!
My favourite recipe
Her classic Victoria Sponge is now my go-to cake recipe. It’s such a light and fluffy cake and never ever disappoints. She also provides you with chocolate and coffee versions, but personally I think you can’t beat the classic!
Mary Berry's baking bible has a whole section on chocolate cake! #bakingbible #topcookbook Click To Tweet
For Birthdays And Special Occasions
This is a very recent discovery. I got this Kids’ Birthday Cakes book for Christmas and it’s already been used several times! It’s a DK book which is a good sign for starters. DK books are always very high quality and I’ve never ever been disappointed by any DK book I’ve bought. Whether that’s cooking, travel, kids or educational they’ve all been excellent.
I’ll admit I haven’t actually followed any of the cake recipes (I use Mary Berry for that!) But it’s the design ideas that have been great. I often turn to Pinterest for inspiration, but it can be a bit overwhelming seeing thousands of results for a search for ‘kids birthday cake’ I don’t even know where to start. This book contains all you’ll need in terms of cake design inspiration.
There are step-by-step instructions for each recipe, including pictures for each step. We’re becoming a more and more visual society so the picture step-by-step guide really sold this book for me! And there’s everything from a basic cupcake caterpillar to an extravagant princess castle. So there’s something for every level of cake maker. I’ve tried a few of the simpler cakes and am working towards the more elaborate designs.
My favourite recipe
It’s more of a favourite design rather than recipe with this book. But I’d have to say that I really want to make the fish tank cake. It’s 4 cakes stacked on top of each other, covered in blue icing with fish made of fondant icing stuck on. Looks amazing in the book, if i can get my attempt to look anything close to that I’ll be happy!
These 4 recipe books should feature in every kitchen. Find out why here. #recipebook Click To Tweet
So there you go. Four recipe books that I think deserve a place in every kitchen. With these 4 books you are covered for every eventuality, from weekday meal to significant birthdays. Enjoy!