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Mar 1, 2013 04:32 PM

What cookbooks have you bought recently, or are you lusting after? March 2013 edition! [old]

OK all you cookbook addicts, you're among good company here. I actually think I didn't buy a single cookbook last month, can that be possible??? How about you? What's on your horizon?

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  1. I caved in to La Dunlop and bought the COTM. But today, I took out a book I bought and really didn't look at very much when I did -- Barbara Lynch's Stir. I was inspired to look at it since the Top Chef winner, Kristin Kish, works at Stir, and Lynch considers her to be her protege. It's a very interesting book.

    58 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        I made Barbara Lynch's Bolognese, which has chicken livers. I liked it except for the chicken livers. I haven't gotten back to the book.

        1. re: roxlet

          omg, I love Stir of my favourite Italian books. I agree w bt, I'd LOVE this to be a COTM.

          1. re: Breadcrumbs

            Funny :) I nominated Stir and neither BC nor BT supported that nomination - maybe not a good month for Stir?

            1. re: herby

              I'm not a big COTMer so tend to stay out of the process.

              1. re: buttertart

                How come you're not bt, you'd be such an asset?

                1. re: buttertart

                  I wish you would, BT! The way you talk about Dunlop you probably would have me inspired by now to cook from EGOR that is still sitting around unused. Beeing selfish, I admit...

                2. re: herby

                  I do love Stir herby and I think you may be right. When I think of that book I think hearty comfort food and as much as I'd love this to be a COTM, I'm in the mood for something a bit lighter for April. I'm sad there aren't many Donna Hay fans on CH...I just can't praise her enough and I think she'd make for a great COTM. Looks like there's a lot of support for the Smitten Kitchen this month...

                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                    I do not what it is about Donna Hay that I can't get excited about. I am the same about Nigel Slater - while everybody raves on and on, I am wondering what all the fuss is about :) Not too thrilled about the Smitten Kitchen though I like some of her blog recipes.

                    Did I ever tell you, BC, that I love the Summer Weekends book that you recommended to me last summer when I was going to the cottage. Plan to take it along this coming simmer too :)

                    1. re: herby

                      I do know what you mean herby and actually I have the same challenge w Nigel Slater though I do know so many folks love him.

                      Did you purchase Donna Hay's Off-the-Shelf herby? That's the one that got me hooked. I also find the photography in her books draws me in and entices me to try recipes. If I could only keep one of my cookbooks, I'd keep a DH book.

                      I'm so glad you're enjoying that Summer Weekends book herby, thanks for letting me know. If you're in Chapters, take a look at Jane Rodmell's "All The Best Recipes" - it's my favourite of all her books.

                      1. re: herby

                        < I am the same about Nigel Slater - while everybody raves on and on, I am wondering what all the fuss is about>

                        I read his bio book because of all the raves I read about him here, and I was amazed at what a twit he seemed. I didn't bother with any of the rest of his books.

                        I've ordered a copy of Smitten from the library. I miss the days when I could go to a bookstore.

                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                        BC, can you recommend any specific books by Donna Hay? I have "The New Cook", which was from 1997. Looking through it just now, I can't help but notice that it almost seems ahead of its time, as far as food trends go.

                        1. re: MelMM

                          I think you're quite right Mel. Donna Hay's recipes frequently do seem to be ahead of their time and I think that adds to the appeal and, longevity of the books.

                          It's hard for me to pick one (kind of like picking a favourite child!!) Off The Shelf was the first DH book I purchased and I've made countless recipes from that book so it's probably the one I'd go with. The premise of the book is that if you have a well-stocked pantry, putting together tasty meals is so much quicker and easier. That said, the pantry ingredients are foundational to the recipes but most call for fresh ingredients such as veggies, herbs etc. One of my absolute favourite recipes of all time is in this book It's DH's Lemon Chicken Pasta which I've posted about several times on Chowhound. I'll paste a link below FYI. This pasta w its fresh basil, lemon and Thai bird chilis is just outstanding and one of the very few dishes mr bc and I will never, ever tire of. I usually add more capers and garlic but that's because we love those flavours. It's also great w tuna instead of the chicken. In a pinch I've even used shredded BBQ Chx from the hot counter at the supermarket. I also love New Food Fast and No Time To Cook for super quick and easy weeknight meals that taste ridiculously good. Her Entertaining books are awesome as well...

                          Here's the chx recipe:


                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                            See, I'd no sooner posted this than I remembered Fast, Fresh, Simple which is another excellent DH book!

                            I also wanted to share some of our favourites from the book you already own Mel. From The New Cook:

                            Asparagus and Poached Eggs w Brown Butter - we now roast the asparagus but this is a huge fave when asparagus is in season.

                            Chilli Pasta w Prawns and lime
                            Roast Vegetable Lasagna
                            Pasta w Roast Tomato Sauce
                            Angel Hair Pasta w Tuna
                            Spaghetti w Grilled Chicken and Asparagus (we do fish vs chx too)
                            Pappardelle w Fennel and Olives
                            Fettuccine w Fried Basil, Garlic and Capers
                            Coconut Rice w Green Chilli
                            Soy Rice and Chicken
                            Shanghai Noodle Stir Fry
                            Hokkien Noodles w Seared Scallops (I tend to use shrimp)
                            Somen Noodles w Chlli Lime Dipping Sauce (mmmm!)
                            Baked Celeriac and Blue Cheese - so good w steak!
                            Vegetable Pies - I've added roasted chestnuts too
                            Spinach Lemon and Lentil Soup
                            Onion Fennel Soup which I puree
                            Sweet Potato Soup - the coconut milk takes this from good to amazing!
                            Eggplant and Chickpea Salad
                            Baby Spinach Cheese and Olive Pie
                            Sitr Fried Beans w Lemon and Cashews
                            Warm Red Lentil Salad
                            Grilled Chicken and Fig Salad
                            Baby Spinach and Prosciutto Salad (again I roast or grill my asparagus)

                            ....that should be enough to give you a sense. I haven't covered the latter sections of the book!

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Wow, what a list! You have really cooked a lot from this book. I will definitely give some of these a try, and then figure out where to go from there.

                              1. re: MelMM

                                I have, I use DH's recipes a lot. I've cooked more from OTS!!
                                If that Lemon Chicken Pasta appeals I do hope you get a chance to try it.

                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Thanks so much. I will check these out.

                              1. re: MelMM

                                Mew three - I think I own this book too.

                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                BC, just wanted to let you know that I made the lemon chicken pasta you linked to above, and it was indeed excellent, and easy in the extreme. I used leftover roast chicken (the roast chicken w/ harissa from Moro), and went a little heavy on the chiles, because I like food with a kick. Looking forward to exploring some more of Ms. Hay's work.

                                1. re: MelMM

                                  Mel, thank-you for letting me know....I could hug you!!! I'm excited to hear you might explore more DH recipes and I hope you become a fan....I think she'll continue to impress. Thanks again!

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    I aim to please, BC. I've put her most recent book on my iPad. I think I'll keep an eye out for the "Off the Shelf" book. I can even recall when that came out, that it got good press and I came close to buying it. Not sure why I held back... not typical behavior!

                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  BC, Based on your praise of Donna Hay, I ordered Off The Shelf and it came today. Just looking through it, I can see why you like DH's books so much! I had some left-over rice, so made an adaptation of Crisp Rice Omelette tonight. (It has the rice, spring onions (substituted shallots, but cooked them a bit more), red chillies, snowpeas (subs. sugar snapped peas), eggs, and soy sauce. It was delicious and easy to make. I'm looking forward to trying it as written, as well as many other recipes!

                                  Thanks so much for your recommendation - I wouldn't have known about her otherwise. Our library, which is quite good, didn't have anything by DH, which is surprising. I usually check out books there first.


                                  1. re: MMari

                                    Mari, thanks so much for letting me know. I'm delighted to have company cooking from this book!!

                                    I know that recipe you made very well. The great thing about it is, as you've discovered, it's very adaptable. I've used brown and white rice over the years. I've even added frozen peas (defrosted) instead of the snow peas. I've even subbed different chilis (including dried) over the years. Thai bird chilis are my absolute favourite though!!

                                    Did you have any kecap manis to serve w it? If not, it is really nice.

                                    Looking forward to hearing more about your cooking adventures.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      Maybe a cooking from Donna Hay thread is in order? I certainly love her baking book, and have another of her books that I haven't used yet. If so, please put a link here.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        That's funny LlM...I was thinking the exact same thing!

                                        I just created a Donna Hay bookmark in EYB so I can search her books on their own and I'm looking for something for dinner tomorrow.

                                        I figured I'd set up a post after I've made it...if someone hasn't set one up by then! I'm really looking forward to this and I can't tell you how excited I am that we may have some new Donna Hay fans here!!

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          All I've made are desserts, but there hasn't been a loser in the bunch.

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            That's great to hear LlM, I haven't made any of her desserts but most definitely will. I'm trying to bake more this year.

                                            More so than any other books on my shelf, I find DH's books timeless. Even though some of her recipes are now over a decade old (in Off The Shelf for example), they still seem very current and always delicious!

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              I've got three of her books I think - Off The Shelf, The New Cook and I think Flavours.

                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                I have New Food Fast. Never cooked from it. Always mean to.


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  gg & TDQ that's great! It would be great to cook through some recipes together. I'm excited!!

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    I have that one too, and also haven't cooked from it.

                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                    I've had Flavors for ages. Never cooked from it. It is a pretty book, though.

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      Hi Gio, not sure if you know this but Flavors was originally published in 2000 as a Marie Claire book called "Flavours" authored by DH. Marie Claire is a UK women's magazine (Nigel Slater used to be a food writer there too and may have gone on to be it's editor but I'm not sure about the last memory is a bit foggy these days it seems!). While I agree it's a beautiful book, it's likely the one of her books I've cooked the least from. Her own books are cleaner, better organized w more recipes. The Flavour recipes definitely have DH's stamp on them but I'd say it's in her other books where she really showcases her style of cooking. Simple recipes, not a lot of ingredients but, well-developed remarkable flavours. If you get a chance to take a peek at her website you'll get a sense of what I mean.

                                                      btw, Nigel Slater has a Marie Claire cookbook too. I have it but I don't believe I've cooked from was a more recent thrift store purchase.

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        It's actually a bit of a gem, the Nigel Slater Marie Claire cookbook. One of the first cookbooks I ever owned. I used to cook the vegetable tagine all the time when I have veggie guests.

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          That's very good to know gg. I'll have to pull it off the shelf and bring it into the kitchen so I can take a proper look at it. Thanks!

                                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          Thanks as always BC. I read DH's blog so I did know that. In fact I have several recipes of hers in Pepperplate one of which, Baked Mushrooms, I plan to make next weekend as part of my Easter menu.

                                                          ETA: Looking through my calendar for this week, DH's Eggplant Ricotta and Parmigiano Bake is on the menu for this Wed. I'll report back.

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            Both dishes sound lovely Gio, I hope you enjoy them and look forward to hearing about them. Interestingly, the dish I selected for tonight is also a ricotta recipe, ours is w chicken though. I picked up two tubs of freshly made ricotta at an Italian market we visited yesterday. I'm also making Giada's lovely ricotta cake tonight and using blood oranges as the favourite version!

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Eggplant, Ricotta, and Parmegiano Bake

                                                              We did make this recipe for dinner on Wednesday as I had hoped, and as I had also hoped it was delicious. The eggplant was sweet and creamy with that unmistakable eggplant tang, and the ricotta/parmigiano custard was soft and thick, mild and luxurious. Followed the recipe exactly: used large eggs, half and half, and made a basil chiffonade instead of chopped. When G took it out of the oven it looked pretty much like the picture in the link above. Very easy to prep and put together, I'd make this again. Oh, one thing I added was to use 1/2 t salt and 1 t pepper when mixing the custard...

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                Gio, do you know that Breadcrumbs started "Cooking from Donna Hay" thread here: ?

                                                                Could you repost your report there? BTW, your eggplant dish description made me want to run to the store to get ricotta since I have tons of apanese eggplant in the fridge. I was going to make something from the Japanese Farm Food but need a BIG kick in the behind to start with unfamiliar:)

                                                                1. re: herby

                                                                  My memory is not behaving, herby, I forgot about the new thread... I'll post the report there. Thank you! I think you'd like the Hay recipe. Tender and mild and definitely eggplanety...

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    I'll post in DH thread when I try it. I saw ricotta at a good price in a flyer yesterday - maybe that's what I'll do: check out this new to me store and get ricotta!

                                                2. re: LulusMom

                                                  Just letting everyone know I've set up a "Cooking From Donna Hay's Cookbooks & Magazines" thread. I'll put another note at the very end of this thread too just in case folks miss this one.

                                                  Here's the link...I'd love it if you joined me!!


                                  2. re: roxlet

                                    Boo hoo! We are about 6 weeks behind on Top Chef Seattle in Canada. I didn't know who won. I'm going to have to buy the COTM to make myself feel better.

                                    1. re: roxlet

                                      I just picked up Stir for $14 on Amazon! Hopefully, I intercept the mail before my family gets it...I've been on a spree lately. But, a hardcover cookbook for $14?! How could I pass that up?

                                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                                        One of my favourite Italian books pages! You're going to love it.

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          That's good to know, BC! Would you post some of the recipes from Stir that stand out for you? I have the book and the look and feel of it but have not cooked from it at all.


                                          1. re: herby

                                            Here are some that we've really enjoyed herby:

                                            • Butcher shop Bolognese
                                            • Pasta with potatoes and pesto
                                            • Rigatoni with spicy sausage and cannellini beans
                                            • Pappardelle with tangy veal ragu
                                            • Cheese agnolotti with butter sauce, celery, apple, and prosciutto

                                            FYI, I've reviewed all of these in EYB too if you want more info.

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              Thank you, Breadcrumbs, very kind of you! You and Mr. BC are real pasta lovers as evident from your list of dishes :) I love pasta too but try to limit all foods made with GM grains; that is another discussion.

                                              I never think about looking at reviews on EYB; some that I looked for were not very helpful but if people like you are posting I should get back to reading.

                                              1. re: herby

                                                Thank-YOU herby, you're very kind. Yes mr bc in particular loves Italian food. He has a keen interest in wine as well and I think his love of Italian food has evolved from wine/food pairing.

                                                As for EYB, I do try my best to add my reviews as I prepare dishes and when EYB started tallying the notes members added I was shocked to learn I had reviewed over 700 dishes! It made me feel a little better about my cookbook collection!

                                                I do wish EYB had a forum such as this would allow for interactive dialogue so if we do see a member review, we could post a question or have a discussion about a particular dish. This seems like a natural extension of their brand and, I believe it would be a value add function.

                                                The existing EYB Forum is very very basic and often posts just hang out there without any activity. I know Jane & Fiona have said they have plans to build this functionality out at some point.

                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  I am impressed - 700 reviews, wow! Where do you find the time??? I agree, BC, an interactive forum will add a lot to EYB and good to know that they are thinking about it.

                                                  1. re: herby

                                                    Thanks herby. It's not easy finding the time. I work full-time and volunteer so time is always precious. I gave up on work/life "balance" a long time ago and now just focus on blending all my commitments in a way that feels good and makes sense for me. I have a passion for cooking and writing so it doesn't feel as daunting as a work deadline or task.

                                                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                    Breadcrumbs (or a late Valentine)

                                                    I just want to tell you how impressed I am at the number of new recipes you try. Your impressions and assessments are always well thought and extremely useful. Your passion and sharing nature invite participation. I thank you for adding so much to my enjoyment of these threads.

                                                    You have become one of my cooking inspirations!

                                                    May your pantry always be full and the calories kind.


                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                      Oh my goodness meatn, your post made me tear up!

                                                      I'm touched by your thoughtfulness. It is my sincere pleasure to have the opportunity to participate here and it's good to know I'm not boring folks to death w my lengthy reviews!
                                                      Thank-you, you've made my day!!

                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          Wow, you're an inspiration! I have recently become quite obsessed with food and cooking and I'm glad I'm not the only one always looking to explore more.

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        Gosh, 700? I thought I was doing pretty good with my 150ish new recipes that I've tried in this past year (tracked on Pinterest vs EYB, although I'm a member and should probably review the ones I've made from my listed books there). You are an inspiration!

                                              2. re: pagesinthesun

                                                I fell in love with Stir last spring based on just one recipe. Fennel, Cucumber and Green Bean Salad with Roasted Potatoes and Creamy Yogurt! I'm craving it now, just thinking about how good it was! I definitely have to make it again soon and also try many more of the recipes in this book.

                                            2. bt did you put a link here on the old thread...I just discovered this by chance.

                                              ...not that I have any interest in cookbooks or anything!

                                              1. The original comment has been removed
                                                1. "The Hakka Cookbook" has been awarded, in a tie, the best Chinese cookbook in the world by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. The other book is "Da Dong Artistic Conception of Chinese Cuisine. "

                                                  From her web site:

                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    I can't find an easy-to-read list,, but here's the Facebook page...

                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      That's great, but maybe a little over the top considering what else is out there.

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        It's the best in the world for 2012... Not of all time or anything.

                                                        Still, quite an honor.


                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          Then they're right, but I'd love to see the co-winner.

                                                    2. re: Gio

                                                      In case anyone is interested and doesn't want to endure the excruciating experience of flipping through the 442 pg presentation of the info on the Gourmand site, here's a version you can actually read:


                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Oh geez, here you go again Gio, in your little devil suit. I'm thinking I may have to at least *try* buying one of these books for my kindle. Just as an experiment, of course.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          If you're just experimenting, you might see if your library does digital lending yet... Sadly, mine doesn't have Hakka in any format.


                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            Not a bad idea at all! I know that they do some lending, but not sure if they've gotten into cookbooks yet. They've been working on the library building and are in a temporary space, so my guess is that a lot has been put on hold. But I'll check.

                                                            One thing I was thinking would maybe make it ok is that I could also view the book (if I bought it) on my computer, which seems like it would make it easier to really delve into the recipes.

                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              My library doesn't have the digital version of the Hakka Cookbook or a hard copy. I checked for Vietnamese Cooking at Home (or is it Home Cooking?) and they didn't have anything for that either. Maybe once they get moved ...

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                Have you ever tried asking if they would order it i? I'm constantly recommending cookbooks for the library to buy, and they've only rejected a couple of my suggestions. Impatiently waiting for Hakka to arrive at my branch.....

                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                  I used to work with the Friends of the Library, and would occasionally give suggestions. I am not sure they were taken with much seriousness, unfortunately. And right now, with the move, I think everything is kind of on hold. Maybe end of April they'll start buying more stuff.

                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                In the U S, use Inter-Library Loan!!

                                                                If it's in a library a n y w h e r e in the US, you can get it.

                                                                Of course, it may take 3 weeks, but Who Cares!?!

                                                                Additionally, if anyone is elderly or disabled, in many locales [esp rural] you can qualify for a 1x month Bookmobile... which would deliver your books....

                                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                                    Yeah, but if your library (we have one in town) is closed then this doesn't do you much good. Just saying.

                                                            2. Bought Richard Blaise's "try this at home" which I find a little disappointing, "Origin" by ben Shewry should be here monday, really looking forward to that one.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: twyst

                                                                And as for the "lusting after" category, definitely quite a few books I simply cant wait for this year.

                                                                Pok Pok and Manresa top my list of fall cookbooks this year, but for something I's SUPER excited about and is coming much sooner there is this


                                                                Was just awarded best cookbook design in the world at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

                                                                1. re: twyst

                                                                  Could you give a little more detail on why you found "Try This at Home" to be disappointing. I have that one on my wish list.