The six best cookbooks released in 2016 according to Cuisine magazine video

Thomas Heaton

The best cookbooks of 2016: what to buy if you're wanting inspiration.

Christmas is a time of giving, and a lot of the time a cookbook is one of those great gifts.

While 2016 has been a great year for a number of reasons, and one we want to forget for many others, it was great for cookbooks. 

Kitchen Confidential author Anthony Bourdain released his first offering in years and model Chrissy Teigen even gave us a taste of her culinary skills  - but they didn't make this list, there were so many to chose from. Here are Cuisine's favourite cookbooks this year.

Looking for inspiration in the kitchen? There were some seriously good cookbooks published this year.
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Looking for inspiration in the kitchen? There were some seriously good cookbooks published this year.

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SAVOUR, PETER GORDON, ALLEN & UNWIN, H/B, $55

My quest for a decent weekday work lunch often has me in search of the perfect salad. If you think that means I’m the type who picks at a few limp leaves at my desk come midday, good Lord no. I like my meal-time salads to have starch, protein, complementary textures and flavours. If I could eat from this book everyday, my afternoon productivity would probably double. Savour (subtitled Salads for All Seasons) is divided into Simple Salads, Veggie Straight Up (think spiced roast cauliflower and garlic with tahini yoghurt dressing), Veggie Grains (freekeh, cumin-roast artichoke, grilled corn and pomegranate, anyone?) and Veggie Cheesy (miso-baked aubergine, dates, feta, crispy buckwheat and tahini yoghurt, perchance?). Really, who needs meat when veg can be that delicious... but the fish and shellfish, poultry and meat chapters are winners too, of course – how do cardamom lamb ribs, mango-cashew rice and red onions take your fancy? More evidence of the brilliance of the boy from Whanganui. Now if only he’d move home and open a salad bar next to the Cuisine office. (ALICE NEVILLE)

LE MANOIR AUX QUAT' SAISONS, RAYMOND BLANC, BLOOMSBURY H/B, $105

Open up this book, read the first page and you'll see – despite Raymond Blanc's long and illustrious career as a chef, he still writes about food with glee. This stunning tome is illustrated with photos of Blanc's Oxfordshire restaurant and hotel, Le Manoir, and its gardens, and illustrated with childlike cartoons. The book is divided into four sections, with Blanc taking the reader on a virtual tour of his sprawling gardens over the course of a year, cooking the best of seasonal produce. The cuisine is highbrow, but not entirely unachievable ; with recipes ranging from five-ingredient tomato fondue to elaborate dishes such as nose-to-tail sucking pig. Classics life parfait, navarin and croquembouche all make appearances, but they all carry a piece of Blanc's style with them. Most of all, this is personal; it's a gastronomical autobiography. (THOMAS HEATON)


TOKYO CULT RECIPES, MAORI MUROTA, MURDOCH BOOKS, H/B, $55

For many of us, a Japanese meal is something better left for a night out at a good restaurant, but in Tokyo Cult Recipes, Maori Murota demystifies daunting recipes and helps you discover the true flavours of Japan via the beating heart of Tokyo. Interesting recipes using traditional Japanese ingredients feature, with Murota providing alternatives for those that are particularly hard to find. You'll find many of Tokyo's iconic foodstuffs throughout, with an engaging narrative that explains Japan's distinctive food philosophy. The izakaya section provides a wonderful selection of the mouth-watering little dishes typically served in Japanese bars, but the highlight is the uchishoku (home cooking) section, where Murota draws on memories of a childhood filled with inspiring meals and presents an array of authentic, simple-to-prepare recipes. The tori dango nabe chicken meatball hotpot is destined to become a favourite − chicken and scallop meatballs infused with ginger are cooked at the table in a pot of soup that can be filled by your family with their choice of fresh goodies such as leeks, lettuce, shiitake, tofu, rocket and sorrel. (KELLI BRETT)
 

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DIVINE EATS: FROM THE HEART OF TAMAHERE, TAMAHERE MODEL COUNTRY SCHOOL, H/B, $45

This book forced me to reflect on my childhood, and I think most readers will do the same. I remember my school's cookbooks – calling them "books" is a bit of a stretch. Tamahere Model Country School in the Waikato has come out with something far from the ring-bound, black-and-white, A4 cookbook that we might remember – but has maintained the all-important essence of a school cookbook. You won't find canned spaghetti pizzas here, but rest assured you will find Nan Jan's savoury scones and Mr Wickens' custard squares. You'll also find Madam Woo and Al Brown, and a whole heap of different styles of cuisine, from chermoula chicken to char siu. There's even a section dedicated to dads. It's polished but not overbearing, with recipes that will keep you busy or sort you out on the fly. To buy a copy, visit divineeats.co.nz. (TH)

IMA CUISINE, YAEL SHOCHAT WITH DAVID COHEN, RANDOM HOUSE NZ, P/B, $55

Ima is hebrew for mother and also the name of Yael Shochat's one-hatted Auckland restaurant, so it's apt that this book is subtitled An Israeli Mother's Kitchen. I have long been a fan of Shochat's fabulous Middle Eastern-inspired food, so relished the opportunity not only to recreate it myself, but also to learn more about the woman behind Ima. In the fascinating introduction by journalist and author David Cohen, we learn about Yael's ima, Thelma, who spurred her daughter's love for cooking. We also learn about how in the Middle East, food is far from just food – it's spiced with history, as Cohen puts it. In Israel, and particularly in Haifa, the port city where Shochat grew up, the array of culinary influences at play is huge. This of course explains why in the breakfast chapter alone you'll find shakshuka, which originated with North African Jews, alongside bourekas from the Balkans, malawach pancakes from Yemen and blintzes from Eastern Europe. It's probably also why Shochat is so open to incorporating other influences into her cooking – her legendary hot cross buns, for example, feature in here too. (AN)

RECIPES FROM THE KIWI PIZZA OVEN, ALAN BROWN, BATEMAN PUBLISHING, H/B, $50

it's hard to put this book down. To do so would be to abruptly exit a conversation with a friend. It's as if you're standing next to Alan Brown as he tends to the fire. He takes you through just about everything you need to know, from how to be properly organised to how to create the perfect accompaniments for the recipes in this book. The food is understandably rustic, but the flair that is weaved through the dishes is sure to set your entertaining alight. Despite the title, one of the best things about this book is the fact everything can be adapted to a regular domestic oven. As would be expected, there are plenty of recipes for pizza in here, alongside some more unexpected dishes – the likes of date and chocolate nutty meringue and Italian ricotta cake. This book is sure to make you finally build that pizza oven in the backyard, as you were always intending to. (TH)

 

 - Stuff

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