my favourite cookbooks of 2021
2021 became a year of comfort food. With more time spent indoors and more time connecting to those people who really matter, the food you chose to bring around the table meant something. The bestsellers of the year included Nigella’s Cook Eat Repeat, Raymond Blanc’s Recipes from the Home, Jamie Oliver’s Together… the yearning for simple was clear. And my choices this year reflect that too. Easy, comforting stuff written from the heart.
I mean, this is almost cheating. Recipes from Tom Kerridge, Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett, Jamie Oliver, etc. etc. etc.? How could it not be a winner. What’s more it’s recipes not from the restaurant but from the home. All lockdown-inspired cooking with comfort at the heart. If I’m honest, some of the recipes read like chef recipes, assuming multitudes of pans, lots of ‘leave this to stand overnight’ and long ingredients lists. But the book has been brought together by Hospitality in Action, and sales help bolster the hospitality industry who have obviously had a dreadful 18 months or so. So it’s a charming book and a sneak peek into what chefs might gorge themselves on at home.
Cook this first: torrijas, a sort of Spanish crepes suzettes
A girl all about spuds, I was destined to write about this! After tearing up TikTok with her potato-led recipes, Poppy has now written her own cookbook and looks to only be bigger as time goes on. This is 100% comfort food – as she puts it herself on the back cover “this is not just the food you want, it’s the food you need.” It’s very accessible stuff, nothing that will stretch you too far but solid recipes that you’ll bookmark for later. I can’t wait to see what Poppy does next.
Cook this first: stroganoff pie. A clash of two comfort classics.
And despite me banging on about comfort food, familiar food, homely food, my number one spot this year goes to a cuisine I know very little about. But the tagline on the cover says it all “simple Vietnamese food to cook at home.” I spend most of the summer cooking from this wonderful book, wholesome stir fries, refreshing salads and satisfying soups. Spicy, sweet, savoury and sour, it’s all there. A great book that will shake up your midweek meals but without needing a brand new cupboard just to store the ingredients in.
Cook this first: shaking beef, a savoury salady delight.
That was my year in cookbooks – what were your favourite books this year?
Previous years’ lists: