Cooking with Love is a unique cookbook, which combines advice on meditation and yoga alongside healthy recipes.
If you’re not into clean living and spirituality, then you’ll find the book a bit ‘hippy dippy’, but if you’re hoping to achieve a more balanced life and diet, then this might be the book for you.
The book provides details on the various types of Doshas, which is your constitution type based on Ayurveda, that recognises that we all have individual needs when it comes to what makes us function at our optimal level. The three doshas include the Vata Dosha, Pitta Dosha and Kapha Dosha.
I learned that I am a Vata Dosha, which means that I’m naturally creative and enthusiastic with high energy levels and variable digestion, which means that I should be eating regularly with easy-to-digest food. Surprisingly, it said that journalism is one of the careers that would suit someone with a Vata constitution, so maybe they’re on to something!
The book contains lots of information on different types of vegetables, herbs and pulses and it also has a variety of recipes for vegetarian soups and salads.
Given that I love a hearty soup, my favourite recipe was the Real Welsh Leek and Potato Soup, which I reckon would be great on a rainy day.
Cooking with Love by Keith Squires is published by Dru Publications and is available at Dru Yoga.com (£19.99 for a paperback).
When I was last in the Caribbean on a press trip in Antigua, one of the greatest pleasures was eating freshly caught fish every day, all of which were lovingly prepared in inventive sauces.
So, I was intrigued to read Taste of the French Caribbean by Chef Denis Rosembert, a cookbook which is packed with fish recipes and well-known Caribbean classics - jerk chicken, anyone?
Chef Denis was born in St. Lucia and started his cooking career at the age of 15 as an apprentice at Holiday Inn Hotel in St. Lucia. His head chef saw his potential and recommended that he move to London to further his career, and he was transferred to the Swiss Cottage Holiday Inn in London.
After stints at several restaurants across the UK, he opened his own restaurant Chez Denis, which is now based in Norwich and focuses on the eclectic cuisines of Africa, Europe and Eastern India, which make St Lucian food so unique.
Recipes within the cookbook include soups, fish dishes, meat dishes, vegetarian dishes, sauces and desserts. All of the recipes are fairly simple and easy-to-follow, which is great if you're not a skilled chef! Favourite recipes included:
Sweet Potato & Coconut Soup; Curry & Coconut Soup; Barracuda Cajun Style; and Monkfish Coco.
Be warned though, cooking these recipes will have you yearning to visit the Caribbean! I for one, am already planning my next escape.
Taste of the French Caribbean by Chef Denis is published by Clink Street and is available from Amazon.co.uk (£25.00 for a hardcover).
Buy your copy here:
A food obsessive and trained cook who started under the tutelage of Clarissa Dickson-Wright, Katriona MacGregor recognised how easily we forget the importance and ease of eating well day-to-day as even she, in the throngs of a full-time job, resorted to ready-made meals.
Her book Healthy Speedy Suppers: Quick, Healthy and Delicious Recipes for Busy People is a collection of recipes that are low in wheat and dairy, focusing on replacing processed carbs for wholemeal where possible. Despite being more healthy, it doesn't make the recipes any less delicious - it simply showcases good quality whole foods that are paired intelligently.
Dishes are categorised into soups and salads, poultry, meat, fish, grains pulses and vegetables, and dips sauces and dressings for easy navigation and for those restless nights where you know what sort of thing you’re hankering for but you need that bit of inspiration. It’s refreshing to flick through a cookbook where everything seems so accessible and un-daunting and it’s even more refreshing to discover that you’re not void of the endless ingredients needed to make it. She advises you stock your cupboards with the staples so that a red lentil and chicken saag, is only three fresh ingredients away.
Recipes span several cuisines and all seasons, touching on such diverse dishes as roast carrot tomato and dill soup, squid and courgette salad with chorizo, pheasant coconut and tamarind curry, one-pot chicken with bacon leeks and peas, venison sausage with kale and red wine, sea bass ceviche with chicory, stir-fried beef with peppers, smoked haddock and gruyère omelette and a broad bean and freekeh risotto.
I recently made the lamb leg with bashed peas and a tomato and mint salsa, a Sunday evening dinner for one, and it just summed the book up for me – quick and easy to cook, full of wholesome ingredients, while still feeling like a treat.
Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona MacGregor is published by Nourish, an imprint of Watkins Media Limited, and is available from Amazon.co.uk for £13.51 (hard cover).
Anna Mae’s Mac N Cheese began its life in the summer of 2010, when Anna Clark and Tony Solomon quit their jobs, and went on the ultimate road-trip to the U.S., bringing to the U.K. the ultimate Southern-style comfort food - 'pimped-up' macaroni and cheese.
Today, Anna Mae’s is quickly becoming one of the most talked about boutique street-food vendors. For those who aren't fortunate enough to visit their mac n cheese van first-hand, you can now make your favourite mac n cheese dishes in the comfort of your home thanks to their new book Anna Mae's Mac N Cheese Love.
Filled with macaroni madness in all its guises, this is a book created with all macaroni lovers in mind.
Regarded as one of the leading authorities on Indonesian Food, Sri is an internationally renowned author, lecturer and cook. Having moved to Britain in 1964, she is now regarded as one of the 'grand dames' of the British food scene.
The first thing that struck me about Sri Owen's Indonesian Food was the striking purple and gold cover, which had an air of opulence to it. Inside this gorgeous cookbook, you'll find 120 mouth-watering Indonesian recipes.
All of the recipes within the cookbook are accompanied by Sri's vivid stories, highlighting the inspiration behind each recipe. Sri also shares the cultural rituals and significance behind the recipes, which helps to provide context with how the dishes would have been enjoyed traditionally. One such tradition Sri mentioned that I found particularly interesting was regarding Javanese chicken soup, which Indonesians often serve with other dishes at every meal, to be enjoyed as a nourishing alternative to drinking water, tea or other beverages.
Learn to master classic Indonesian recipes with ease
While many people feel that mastering Indonesian recipes can be daunting, Sri provides easy-to-follow instructions to ensure that relative cooking novices (myself included), can recreate the recipes with ease.
While Sri's family used to prepare their dishes using round-bottomed earthenware pots supported on small piles of bricks over wood fires or charcoal, today Sri makes do with a wok or casserole dish, according to what's most fit for purpose.
One thing that may be challenging for some of the recipes featured within the cookbook may be locating some of the more unique ingredients, however, Sri provides alternatives that most people should be able to locate via a combination of visiting speciality food shops and one's local supermarket.
Reignite your passion for international travel and cuisine
Being a keen traveller from a small town in America, I related to Sri, who was from a small town but despite this, feels that she is a city person at heart. Sri's favourite cities in the world are London and Venice, each of which she admires for its ability to reinvent itself as well as for its cuisine. Sri believes that as an Indonesian food lover who has chosen to live in Britain, her mission is to inspire a passion in others for Indonesian food. I think it's safe to say that she has at least one new convert.
Sri Owen's Indonesian Food is published by Pavilion Books and is available from Amazon.co.uk for £26.59 (hardcover).
Relish South East: Original recipes from the region's finest chefs and restaurants by Angela Hartnett
With only 11 days to go until Christms (EEK), there's not much time left to tick off your Christmas shopping list. For the foodie on your list, we recommend two fabulous cookbooks - Creole Kitchen: Sunshine Flavours from the Caribbean by Vanessa Bolosier and The Ultimate Sandwich by Jonas Cramby.
Creole Kitchen: Sunshine Flavours from the Caribbean by Vanessa Bolosier
This beautiful cookbook features an original collection of 100 exciting French Caribbean Creole recipes that will instantly transport you to the warm comforts of The Caribbean. Drawing inspiration from her childhood kitchen, Vanessa shares a variety of traditional Caribbean recipes and cocktail recipes.
So what is Creole culture, you ask? According to Vanessa, Caribbean Creole people are the descendants of slaves and labourers from different parts of Africa and Asia, living on islands colonised by the French and English. Creole people can be found all over the world, making it in incredibly fascinating cuisine given the variety of cooking styles that have resulted worldwide.
This cookbook has a wealth of beautiful images of Caribbean life and of course, the fabulous recipes featured within the book.
Creole Kitchen: Sunshine Flavours from the Caribbean by Vanessa Bolosier is published by Pavilion Books and is available from Amazon.co.uk (£19.99 for a hardcover).
The Ultimate Sandwich by Jonas Cramby
If you ask me, the humble sandwich is seriously underrated. A staple of our diets for as long as one can remember, sandwiches have remained popular thanks to their exceptional versatility.
This gorgeous cookbook features 100 classic sandwich recipes from Jonas Cramby, a freelance writer, restaurant critic and columnist, whose hatred of terrible sandwiches led him to create this cookbook. The cookbook features a variety of tips, including required baking equipment, suggested kitchen utensils and everything from the best cheeses to charcuterie.
When selecting the bread for one's sandwich, Jonas recommends avoiding the ever so popular sourdough bread (too many holes and far too chewy) to let other 'team player' breads serve as the star of the sandwich. Good advice, me thinks.
The recipes are highly diverse, covering everything from traditional sandwiches to dessert sandwiches, meaning you'll have an endless supply of sandwich inspiration to shake up your lunchtime routine.
The Ultimate Sandwich by Jonas Cramby is published by Pavilion Books and is available from Amazon.co.uk (£13.48 for a hardcover).
Cookbooks and Cocktail books
We love cooking and enjoying cocktails and there's nothing better than discovering new recipes, which is why we've rounded up our favourite cookbooks and cocktail books from around the world.