I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – I’m obsessed with cookbooks. I just love them. I love reading them, I love cooking from them, I love licking their pages, wait, no, that wasn’t supposed to come out. Whether they’re healthy books, naughty books, books with pictures, books without, from celebrity chefs or complete unknowns, I want them all. And I have quite a few. You can see my complete cookbook collection here.
I go through stages with what I like to eat. Sometimes, if I’m honest, I don’t want to cook at all and I neglect my bookshelves in favour of the local Chinese menu. Those times are always short lived though and I find myself desperate to get back into the kitchen with a few books after a short spell away. I might want to dig out my Nigella collection and whip up something homely and comforting or I might turn to Jamie to excite my tastebuds. I have a whole shelf of what I refer to as ‘healthy’ cookbooks, those that make me want to eat better and nourish my body, and I am often drawn to these after one too many takeaways. I’m going to share with you the books that you simply need in your life to help you eat better.
Deliciously Ella and Deliciously Ella Everyday – Ella Woodward
I have already gushed about these books elsewhere on the blog but there’s a reason for that. They’re amazing. Ella has a way of making nutritious, amazing ingredients come to life on the page and her recipes are really delicious. Whenever I’m having a ‘I need to eat better’ meltdown the morning after the pizza before, I turn to these books for inspiration and guidance. They’re in no way preachy and make even unusual methods or ingredients feel ordinary and accessible. I love that these books are vegan and gluten free so I always have options for when I need to cater for fussy people or if I’m having a super healthy moment. I wrote a more in depth review of Ella’s second book if you want to read that here.
Must Try Recipe: Raw Brownies from Deliciously Ella and Spiced Sweet Potato Stew from Deliciously Ella Every Day
Lean in 15 – Joe Wicks
This is a bit of a geezer of a cookbook, a bit rough and ready with little refinement but the recipes are so simple and really tasty. Joe’s bish-bash-bosh approach to cooking is infectious and I find myself imitating his style as I cook. The idea of the book is that the recipes and workouts (can’t comment on those sadly) can all be achieved within 15 minutes so this is a great option for those pushed for time. The book is pretty basic in terms of design but the recipes are clear and I really think anyone could do them. I don’t rate this book particularly highly for how it looks on my bookshelf but it’s reliable and I know I can cook something tasty from it. I do wish Joe wouldn’t constantly refer to broccoli as midget trees though, it may be cute from a 4 year old girl but from a grown man with an amazing six pack it’s just a bit weird.
Must Try Recipe: In-A-Hurry Curry Fried Rice
Eating Well Made Easy – Lorraine Pascal
I love to watch Lorraine on TV and her baking skills are amazing. I was super happy when she bought out a cookbook filled with nutritious, healthy recipes. Some of the recipes in the book are for the slightly more experienced cook but there are also some ridiculously easy entries so you can start with those and build up if you want to. I love the photography, typography and layout of this book, it’s very visually pleasing and makes for a great read. There’s lots of little health facts dotted throughout the recipes so you feel like you’re leaning about how the food will nourish your body as you cook and eat it.
Must Try Recipe: Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins or the Paprika and Cumin Spiced Prawn Lunch Box Rice Salad (I couldn’t choose between them!)
15 Minute Meals – Jamie Oliver
This isn’t necessarily advertised as a healthy eating cookbook but the recipes do focus on calorie control and a balanced diet and contain lots of fruit and veg. Jamie bought out his Superfood cookbook last year and although I like that one, I prefer 15 Minute meals. The recipes in this book are so flavoursome and interesting to eat and make. Although the recipes are meant to be created within 15 minutes, I do think that’s only going to be the case for the very experienced cook and even then you have to be incredibly organised with your head in the game. They’re also not as simple as the 15 minute meals from Joe Wicks. Regardless of that, the meals are still not difficult and Jamie has a way of gently encouraging you out of your comfort zone. Beware though, some of the recipe presentation leaves a lot to be desired.
Must Try Recipe: Glazed Pork Fillet with Cajun Style Pepper Rice and BBQ Sauce
Although I’m not going to be getting rid of any of my cookbooks any time soon, or ever to be more precise, I feel that I could live with these 5 quite happily for a while. There’s recipes to cover all meal times, all taste buds and all occasions whilst still fuelling your body with the good stuff, which isn’t always the case with cookbooks. Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas of books to buy, do let me know if you think any others should have made my top 5!