Favourite everyday cookbooks


I love My Kitchen Rules. Certain people get on my nerves (can I say quietly, that I was not unhappy that Drasko and Bianca were kicked out) and I wonder if they sit back and watch the episodes thinking to themselves, “Wow. I was an unbelievably rotten person…”

Contestants are never going to get any love points from their competitors if they are nasty or score strategically. Just bloody score according to the food for goodness sake!

And you know what else? Cook what you know! If you know you are going on a cooking show, that is all you should do in the lead-up to it: cook, cook, cook. New things, old things, hard things, easy things. Sounding a bit Dr Seuss’ish here, aren’t I? It’s all well and good to cook something experimental for your abilities, but honestly? There is a good chance you’ll feck it up, get a low score and get kicked out.

Which brings me to what this post is actually about today! I do have quite a few recipes up my sleeves that I do not need an actual recipe in front of me for, but generally, my life is much easier if I can have a recipe to tell me exactly how much of everything I need to add etc. And so – cookbooks. Which are your favourites? I’m going to list what I have in my cupboard that get used on a regular basis:

Day to Day Cookery (fourth edition), I.M. Downes & Elaine Grant

We used an earlier edition at school for our home economics class. The recipes are simple to follow and cover many a dish! It was first published in 1980, so I think it is safe to say that this one is a keeper. You can find it online at Booktopia but I grabbed my copy at the local Newsagency. I think this is a perfect gift for a child moving out of home and who hasn’t really cooked a lot as yet. Although some of the recipes could quite possibly be rated as a bit bland, once you become more adept at using herbs, spices and so on, they can all be given a bit of an extra kick along to make them great.

Simple Chinese Cooking, Kylie Kwong

Who doesn’t eat Chinese? Get outta here if you don’t! Nah, just kidding {kinda 😉 } Anyway, back to business. Kylie’s recipes are super easy to make and absolutely scrumptious. Keep a variety of staple Asian ingredients in your fridge/cupboard and you’ll be whipping up some yummy Chinese at least once a week, if not more often. Can also be found at Booktopia.

The Instant Cook, Donna Hay

I mainly use the sweets section of this cookbook, but have definitely used the rest of inspiration on occasion. Yet again, simple recipes that are bound to please your taste buds. Buy here: Booktopia.

The Australian Women’s Weekly Kid’s Party Cakes

Surely everyone knows this one? Your mum probably had the version with a train on the front, and it was called Children’s Birthday Cake Book. My own mum made us a ‘fancy’ cake every year until we turned 10, and then we had to decorate a round cake by ourselves. I am doing this with my own kids now, and even if I do stay up until midnight cutting cakes to shape and adding more and more colour to make it PURPLE not BLUE, they think it is fantastic. I would much rather do this than pay between $50-$150 for a cake that none of them will eat because it has mock cream. Yeesh. It can be bought on the AWW Cookbook website.

Other cookbooks that I use on a less regular basis, but still often enough are:

* Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef AND 30 Minute Meals

* The Essential Pasta Cookbook, Murdoch Books

* The Pressure Cooker Recipe Book, Suzanne Gibbs

* Sauces Salsas & Dressings, The Australian Women’s Weekly

My family could quite easily eat Chinese or Italian food most nights without complaint. Now, I do have other cookbooks, but they should probably be put in the Vinnies bin. I was recently in the book section of Big Dub (AKA: Big W) and found myself Margaret Fulton’s Baking Classics for Mother’s Day, after seeing this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake. I am salivating here…

Oh and we can’t forget the online sites. Taste.com.au probably uses a fair amount of our Internet data up each month.

Which brings it to your turn!

What are your favourite cookbooks? And any particular recipes within these books? Favourite online cooking site? Tell me in the comments 🙂

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