Hi All!

Bells and I thought it might be fun to launch our very first Competition on our blog.  We will enjoy reading the entries (hopefully there will be lots) and well…let’s face it… it’s always a hoot giving things away!

So you will no doubt be aware that Bells and I love our cookbooks.  We use them regularly and read them for pleasure.  I can remember reading my Mum’s Woman’s Weekly Cookbook’s as a girl more so than any other reading material.

So we would like to hear about your favourite cookbook.  What’s it called, what do you like about it, do you love it because you actually use it – or do you just like losing yourself in it pages and dreaming of dishes to come…. Ooops, I almost lost myself there.

Anyway – we will reveal the prizes upon selecting a winner.  The competition will close midnight September 22.  So 1 week from now.

Bells and I will also put up a post each on our favourite cookbooks as well over the next week.

We look forward to reading your comments.

Delly (& Bells)


32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rose Red
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 12:54:02

    Can I have two favourites? Because I have to have Nigella – How to be a Domestic Goddess of course! For many reasons but perhaps mostly because it lead to my friendship with Bells!
    And the other is Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion. She taught me how to roast various meats, she always reminds me how you can tell a fresh egg from a stale one, and when you end up with a random 680g bag of fresh beans in your grocery shopping, and you aren’t a lover of beans, she’ll give a few suggestions for using them.


  2. Bells
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 13:43:57

    RoseRed’s already nominated two that would certainly be in my top five at the very least.

    Stephanie really is the Bible. I almost use her more as a resource than a cookbook these days although I’ve started cooking more from her lately.

    I’m going to have to have a good thing and will write mine up as a post.


  3. 2paw
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 14:40:57

    What a good idea, I look forward to seeing your favourite books!


  4. Bel Shepherd
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 17:08:48

    The Pioneer Woman Cooks is fantastic. It is written by Ree Drummond, a hilarious woman who was once a city chick and is now a rancher’s wife. Her cinnamon scrolls are to die for!!


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  6. Clare B
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 19:13:10

    From my childhood it’s the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake book. I remember spending many, many hours pouring over the cakes and deciding which one I wanted for my birthday that year. I have a whole series of pictures of me with the clown cake, train cake, butterfly, castle etc etc.

    More recently it is Stephanie Alexander’s the Cooks Companion (known in our house only as “Stephanie’s”). It’s travelled with me everywhere and hasn’t let me down yet. My Austrian boy-friend also loves it and will often say something along the lines of – “I feel like cooking XXXX, what does your Stephanie say about that?” Makes me smile everytime.


  7. drkknits
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 19:52:54

    im in the stephanie alexander camp too, because shes taught me more about cooking than just following a recipe. but my current favourite really is food safari. i love that im able to recreate all those wonderful international dishes in my own kitchen. its demystified a lot of things, and made me feel kind of clever as well!


  8. alison
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 20:00:55

    My favourite is Nigel Slater’s Real Food. He writes about food in the most sensual and earthy way, making me truly hungry just reading it.

    I also have a soft spot for Flo Bjielke Petersen’s “Lady Flo’s Country Kitchen”, which she self-published in the late ’80s. My mum had a copy and I remember being fascinated by the oh-so-traditional recipes (Beef Wellington, Caramel tart made from condensed milk, and of course pumpkin scones) – so different to what my mum cooked.


  9. Susan L
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 20:16:07

    It’s so very sad but my favourite book is my high school Cookery the Australian Way (2nd edition from 1974!). It very recently gave up the ghost and was replaced by my youngest daughter with the last version (7th edition), and I love how it’s been updated to address the evolution in the way we eat but is as basic and every day as it ever way. My favourite for more than 30 years is the basic tea cake recipe I’ve modified to include layers of fresh thinly sliced apples and dusted with cinnamon. Always a winner.


  10. Leah
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 20:42:55

    My most used cookbook is Nigella Express, but I think my favourite is Nigella’s Christmas – I love thinking about Christmas, and Nigella is just so darn funny.


  11. nestra
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 21:13:49

    My favorite cookbook is A New Way to Cook, it has lots of base recipes and then ways to adapt on them. I use cookbooks mostly as a jumping off point and I love the marinades and sauces that are in this book. I also appreciate the spirit in which it was written, which is that there are lots of easy ways to make our food healthier that does not preclude some heavy cream and bacon becuase they really do make food taste good!


  12. Jenness
    Sep 15, 2010 @ 22:59:05

    I have to have two as well. Nigella’s “Forever Summer” – the slut red raspberries in chardonnay jelly; the pappardelle with courgettes, sultanas and pine nuts; and of course the cocktail recipes…. we live out of this one every summer. It’s light simple, tasty and still comforting and covers the gamut of dinner party stuff and through to easy sunday night almost no-cook type food. Perfect.

    And then there’s Belinda Jeffery’s ‘Tried and True Recipes” which is filled with recipes that have become family classics. Almost everyone who’s ever eaten at my house has been fed the Chicken and Bacon meatloaf together with the best potato salad ever. So many of the pages are tape flagged and dog eared. And I love her ‘voice’ – cheerful and helpful and always going on about having a ‘snackeral’ of something in the fridge left over to nibble on later.


    • Bells
      Sep 16, 2010 @ 07:00:33

      jenness I have the Belinda J books because of you! after all the great food we ate at your place from those books, Sean bought them for Christmas one year. You’re right – she’s fabulous. Must introduce Delly to her.


  13. Roxie
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 00:34:48

    I have a magazine-sized cookbook from the late 60s called, “The Food Stamp Gourmet” (patrician eating on a proletarian budget) It is illustrated by underground comic book artists like Gilbert Sheldon who created the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. It is pure hippie genius with really wonderful recipes that you can create for very little money, and is liberally spotted with food stains. Some of the illustrations have been colored by the bored children of visiting friends. It’s still my go-to book for company dinners – if the husband ever lets me cook.


  14. Lisa L.
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 00:39:20

    My favorite cookbook has to be The New Basics by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. I’ve had it so long that the binding is literally falling apart. This cookbook has some really interesting recipes that I love to make over and over again! Our family favorites include: Hell’s Kitchen Chili (a beanless chili), Ellen’s Fried Chicken, Chicken Legs with Glazed Shallots, Pork Chop and Scalloped Potato Casserole, and last but not least, Pasta with Sesame Chicken and Asparagus (this has a peanut sauce that is to die for!). I just love the layout of the recipes and the ease of effort needed to follow them. The line drawings illustrating each page just add to the fun!


  15. GeekKnitter
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 03:16:57

    Just one cookbook? Wow, tough one…

    OK, here goes: Baking Illustrated by America’s Test Kitchen. Several hundred pages of meticulously researched and tested recipes for the home baker. It really gets into the science of baking, gives you the whys and wherefores of the whole thing.

    I wouldn’t be without it.


  16. Charlotte
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 04:41:54

    What a wonderful discussion! I also love cooking, my kitchen is shrinking because I just can’t stop buying new cookery books!!! My favourite authors are Nigella, Nigel Slayter, The Barefoot Contessa, Delia Smith… Recently, I bought a really brilliant cookery book called “Mums know best” by the Hairy Bikers. Even more recently, I MET them (last weekend!!) and they were charming, signed my book, chatted and shook my hand! I thought they were lovely, just like they are on TV!
    This book is written with the help of many women who invited the Hairy Bikers into their kitchen and showed them what their favourite meals were. So these recipes are family favourites, mainly English recipes but also fantastic curries and Chinese food recipes. The triffle recipe is fab and so is their chilli con carne…. and many others!!!
    Right, I’m off to check out some of the other books on the list! Thanks everyone!!
    Charlotte, UK xxx


  17. Louiz
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 05:27:42

    I’m not a very good cook, but my two favourite cookbooks are: as a child (and cooking with my daughter) The Winnie-The-Pooh Cookbook; as an adult Delia’s How to Cook books.


  18. Mark "Gordon Blue" Westwood
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 07:26:18

    My all time favourite cookbook is the massively big and out-of-print The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon, first published in 1976 and was so radical for its time in terms of ingredients and methods. The Raan is to die for!
    The cover is just hanging on and all my favourite recipes have a post-it note hanging out of them!


  19. Kate
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 08:26:25

    I love Harumi Kurihara’s book called Japanese Cooking. It’s full of simple to make but authentic japanese recipes and the book starts with some great explanations of typical japanese ingredients and cooking utensils.

    I also love Bill Granger’s books – I couldn’t choose just one favourite to keep from his collection.


  20. actinglikeamama
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 11:55:15

    Ohhh it’s really hard to narrow it down but if I could only have one cookbook in my cupboard I would choose one book I don’t actually own. It’s currently with my dad, but it’s my grandmas Green & Gold CWA cookbook. Not sure the year but it must be crica 70-80’s as I do know she replaced it when her other one got too old. I love it because it is full of recipes that I only associate with my family – trifle etc. What I love more than anything about it is both my grandma, my mum and my dad have placed notes throughout the margins, the book itself is stuffed with handwritten recipes for Grandma’s peanut cookies, my dads “curry” (think 60’s australian curry!) and Mrs Streeters Lemon Pudding (an old lady that lived near my mum when she was a little girl growing up). I love the sense of history, the fact that half the ingredients are practically unknown to me, or that methods have become so much more effecient with technology and more food availability. I love the fact that my grandma (who is now deceased) would have thumbed through those pages, flour on her hand, as would have my dad, as will I, and hopefully my children (I have requested for it to be placed in mum & dads will that I get ownership of it!!). Hence my favourite cookbook!


  21. Anne
    Sep 18, 2010 @ 06:39:30

    I don’t actually have a specific cookbook written by a well known cook/chef but my daughter and I have collected recipes from family and friends and made our own little black book…which is full of yummy casserole, thai, soup, slices and cake recipes…….its one we use often.


    • Delly
      Sep 20, 2010 @ 08:25:11

      Hi Anne,
      These “amke your own” kinds of recipe books are often the best. I ahve had church cookbooks over theyears which have had fabulous recipes from friends. Shared recipes from people you know are wonderful.


  22. Nancy Lauber
    Sep 19, 2010 @ 02:39:31

    It’s so hard to choose just one or two! However, I believe that I’d have to pick The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (Ina Garten’s first book) and a VERY OLD one, Julia Child’s French Chef Cookbook. Of course, I love all her books, but that old (and very concise French Chef one) is the one that I have that is so food stained that it is a wonder that my family and I haven’t died of food poisoning!

    I love to see all your answers, since I am not familiar with most of the books. even though I have hundreds of cookbooks. I certainly have a lot of cookbook reading to do! Thanks to the internet, books from “Down Under” are procurable when they were almost impossible to get years ago.


  23. vivzilla
    Sep 20, 2010 @ 20:22:02

    I get to be wishywashy and have a selection of fave cookbooks instead of picking one right? Yes? Wonderful, lets continue.

    1. 100 recipes from Japanese Cooking, Hata Koichiro
    In 1997, I was lucky enough to go to Japan on a school exchange for two weeks. On this trip I learned that okonomiyaki was my new favourite food (Its like a pancake filled with everything delicious ever) When my host sister visited Australia the following year, she bought me this cookbook so I would always have the okonomiyaki recipe handy, also to practice my Japanese (Its a bilingual book) While my nihongo abilities continue to fade over the years, this book has allowed me to explore the joys of katsu-don, baked salmon and nanban soba with duck among other things.

    2. My recipe file, plagerised from god knows how many blogs and super food ideas.

    I am a bit of a hoarder. I would have many more cookbooks if not for the internet and the ability to scan or cut and paste recipe ideas as I see them. This allows me to hoard without taking up physical space and killing trees. Its also fully searchable and allows for easy menu planning by being kept in my dropbox.

    3. Provincial Hungarian Cooking, Julia Frank
    Present from my Nanna on her last visit out from Hungary. It has a recipe for “pork sausage” whose first step is “get a blow torch and remove gristly bits from a dead pig” That sounds awesome to make, I might pass the eating duties to someone else.

    4. Kids cookbook, author unknown.
    Sadly I don’t have this cookbook anymore, but my mum got it for me from Franklins when I was about 9 and was my first real introduction to cooking. It taught me valuable lessons like 4 cups cooked rice DOES NOT equal 4 cups uncooked rice.

    Honourable mention, falling cloudberries by tessa kiros. I only just got it from book depository the other day but my friend rachel cooked me the salmon soup a while back which was delicious. Also, the layout of the book is really really lovely.


    • vivzilla
      Sep 20, 2010 @ 20:26:58

      I should also add the Hungarian book has the added bonus of allowing me to cook myself delicious porkolt, stuffed capsicum and cherry soup when both of my nan’s are far away and can’t cook for me.

      The end (for real this time ;-))


  24. David Hilyard
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 18:53:15

    My favourite cookbook? Hmm. People who know me will take about — umm — a femtosecond — that’s 10-15 of a second — to pick my answer for this one. It is, of course, “French Provincial cooking” by Elizabeth David. Apart from the fact that I adore French food — a no-brainer — this book has all the ingredients to make a perfect cook book.

    The recipes are generally easy to follow. She is usually fairly precise about quantities, whilst acknowledging that her sources — often home cooks or cooks in small country inns, bistros, bouchons — could be irritatingly, delightfully vague about these things. Such is the nature of much cooking lore, which may exist as an oral tradition for a long time before being set in writing. “Just keep adding xxxx until it tastes right”. OK, I will.

    She covers a wide range of the topic. Elizabeth knew France well by the time she came to write this book, and travelled widely whilst compiling it. At 585 pages it is encyclopaedic in scope. She covers the full extent of metropolitan France, from the choucroute of Alsace, to the shellfish and saltbush lamb of Brittany, to the beef braises of the Camargue.

    She gives more than recipes — she puts them into a cultural context. Many recipes are accompanied by notes on where the dish came from, why it is cooked in just this way, and where it fits in French life. For instance, boeuf Bourguinonne, she tells us, was the meal served in a French charitable soup kitchen, on high feast days. The importance of vegetables in the cuisine. What the French will have with roast beef.

    The book tells us something about her — you can read about her teenage year spent en famille in Paris and Normandy, with the greedy daughter. Her travels in France in the years before and after WW2. Good meals, and bad, that she has eaten in forgotten corners of the country. And she writes like an angel — taut, concise, well observed prose. Every sentence has a verb. That sort of thing.

    The book also teaches some principles of cooking — her comments on composing a mixed hors d’oeuvre are simple, insightful, and so often overlooked. They have guided my Big Night Cooking ever since. Her description of cooking a liqueur souffle omelette are concise, perfect. Read them, and then cook one.

    I use this book all the time. Some many things in it have become part of my everyday repertoire. How to cook spinach, an omelette, artichokes, boeuf Bourguinonne, boeuf en daube Provencal, pate sable (a kind of no-fuss short crust), onion tart, Normandy apple tart. My copy is falling apart at the binding, tattered, food-stained, and marked throughout with PostIts and marginal scribble. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    <em. "Provence is a country to which I am always returning, next week, next year, any day now, as soon as I can get on a train." Elizabeth David


  25. David Hilyard
    Sep 21, 2010 @ 18:55:37

    The Hungarian book mentioned above sounds fantastic! Anything with a dead pig and a blowtorch will attract my attention …


  26. Island Mom
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 15:26:03

    Still my fave is my 20+ yr old college standard: the original Moosewood Cookbook. It’s all vegetarian (college kid=affordable, mom=healthy) with a great variety of hearty, wholesome dishes adapted from global cuisines. I don’t buy cookbooks much anymore (though love them as gifts!) as I just keep building up a great collection from online sources. I do love weekly newsletters from and Lynn Rossetto Kasper’s great radio program on the same name.


  27. Nancy
    Sep 23, 2010 @ 08:10:21

    Hope I’m not too late – with the time difference. I’m in the US. My favorite cookbook is the Betty Crocker cookbook I got when we got married almost 37 years ago. It has answered a lot of my questions over the years.


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