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Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

Check out the year’s best cookbooks

Wednesday, 5th December, 2018 4:44pm

Every year, I collect things that food lovers might like to receive as gifts for Christmas and this year is no exception.
Part of it is to give you ideas on what to get the food lover in your life and part of it is to give Mr T a few hints of what to put under the tree!

As most of my friends and followers know, I collect cookbooks (some people might even think I have a little problem by now) and I always give Mr T a list of new releases from which to choose. Although there are a lot of books out that offer ‘quick and easy’ fixes, my list is all about the celebration of the preparation of food.

Take your time to get the best flavours out of your produce, use the time to talk to your child – Miss Sophie and I have the best conversations when we cook and bake together - and enjoy the whole process.

This year’s Bia Sásta cookbook list is:

‘Simple by Ottolenghi’ – you can’t go wrong with an Ottolenghi book. In this book, he goes back to basics and simplifies a lot of his previous recipes. This book is perfect for people who love his style of food but didn’t want to invest in all the ingredients. My favourite book by Ottolenghi so far is ‘Jerusalem’ and I still use his hummus recipe. This book was voted best in 2018 by the Independent UK but I will give it two stars out of three due to his best ever book being ‘Jerusalem’. **


‘How to eat a Peach’ by Diane Henry – one of the best food writers, Diane is all about the pleasure of cooking and eating. The book is divided into spring and summer and autumn and winter with menus for several occasions. It takes me back to Istanbul with recipes like roast split aubergines with goat’s cheese, griddled squid with chili, dill & tahini dressing, lamb kofta, sweet pickled cherries and Turkish coffee ice cream.

Are you drooling already? Each menu starts with a little intro of how Diane came across the recipe and where she ate it. ‘How to eat a Peach’ is a very personal collection of food memories. ***


‘Feast - Food of the Islamic World’ by Anissa Helou – food in the Middle East is all about comfort and sharing. I remember my first meal in Turkey (and I am very aware that most of Turkey is in Europe) and how much I enjoyed the communal feel and of course the flavours. This book is all about the love of food including an awesome selection of breads. Get the book and gather your friends for a proper feast. ***


‘Dosa Kitchen’ by Nash Patel and Leda Scheintaub. If you are a fan of Iyer’s in Cork, you will have tasted these delicate thin pancakes made from fermented rice. This book is all about dosas (hence the name) and will help you to master the batter and create some great tasting dosas with ideas for fillings. I personally love Gautham Iyer’s creations so I might make them myself. **


‘At My Table’ by Nigella Lawson – yes, another Nigella book. This one is based on the series on BBC and I happen to like it. Every time I watch Nigella, I want to make up my hair and wear heels in the kitchen. That lasts as long as I am actually trying to get into heels. Nevertheless, her recipes are always worth a try. **


‘Le Cordon Bleu Pastry School’ – not yet published but available to pre-order for June 2019, this book is aimed at people who would like to improve their pastry skills. I can’t wait for this one.

Next week I will be looking into gadgets for food lovers.

Upcoming food events:

7 December Festive Afternoon Tea Kenmare

7 December Vegan Christmas Dinner at Myo

10 December Festive Christmas Afternoon Tea Killarney

16 December Vegan Christmas Market at Kino

19 December Foodie Club Meet-Up Clonakilty

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