My cookery book collection has exploded out of the cupboard it was being kept in and is now spilling out into every part of my flat. Regardless, I continue to collect and this week I have three new additions: a veritable bible of Mexican home cooking, a cookery book for those who aren’t great with words but like pictures and, finally, a real gem of a book that will show you how to create wonderful things from the ingredients you have lurking in your kitchen.
Mexico: The Cookbook by Margarita Carrillo Arronte
If you have no other Mexican cookery book in your collection you would still have all the Mexican inspiration you could possible need with this one book. The recipes are as vibrant as the neon pink, orange and blue cut-out cover, from Vampire Juice to Divorced Enchiladas.
With over 700 recipes coming from the different regions of Mexico, this is an insight into a colourful and sophisticated cuisine that we too often simplify to fajitas and tacos.
There are different sections including street food, drinks and vegetables and also The Chef Menu, which is a selection of recipes from well-known Mexican chefs. Some of the recipes contain ingredients that you might need to do special shopping for, but they are all clearly set out and explained with lovely pictures and some very evocative illustrations.
If you’re looking for Mexico and its culinary history in a book, this is it.
Out 27 October, published by Phaidon Press, £29.95
Chop Sizzle Wow illustrated by Adriano Rampazzo
This one makes me giggle. I used to have a book a bit like this when I was a child, a heavily illustrated cookbook that gave you simple visual instructions to help you create something magical.
Chop Sizzle Wow has 50 recipes taken from The Silver Spoon, one of the definitive books on Italian cuisine, but all are translated into a comic-book style. The recipes are classic Italian ones – carbonara, tiramisu and panna cotta – nothing too complex, making all of the recipes achievable for any level of cook.
Kids and grown-up kids will love this book, though serious cooks might find it a little frivolous.
Out 20 October, published by Phaidon Press, £14.95
The Kitchen Orchard by Natalia Conroy
I might be biased, as I consider the author to be a friend of mine, but honestly I think this is one of the nicest books that has landed on my desk this year. With a cover the colour of raspberry sorbet, this book is full of dishes that you actually want to – and more importantly can and will – make.
Natalia trained at the River Café and you will find a quote from Ruth Rogers on the front cover. This is her first book after a stint of running a beautiful little café in Notting Hill.
Some of the recipes here have no more than three ingredients – they showcase and celebrate great produce, treated with respect, and remind us that great food need not be complicated.
You have everything here from cakes and granolas to beautiful soups (chestnut, nutmeg and bacon or barley, thyme and porcini are favourites), stews and simple dinners. I would cook absolutely everything in this book and am simply waiting for the time to do so and the guests to feed.
I cannot think of a better collection of recipes to have on your kitchen shelf. I love it, biased or not.
Out now, published by Ebury Press, £25