7 Great Cookbooks You’ll Actually Use!


Looking for the perfect present for the food lover in your life – or a beautiful edition to your own kitchen shelf? An inspiring cookbook is always in demand. We believe that a great cookbook requires certain things; delicious recipes and easy-to-follow instructions, beautiful photography, and most importantly food ingredients that inspire and are exciting to eat. The list that follows contains a selection of our favourite cookbooks that have stood the test of time in our homes:

Alphabet Lifestyle Book Recommendation Shehzad Husain Healthy Indian Cooking
Click to order Shehzad Husain Healthy Indian Cooking
  1. Healthy Indian Cooking – Shehzad Husain

This book is an inspiring book for those wanting to delve into authentic Indian cooking. It takes you through useful utensils, Indian ingredients, spices and cooking techniques and has an emphasis on nutritious vegetables, pulses, rice and grain recipes.

Favourite recipe: Vegetable and red kidney bean pulao. This pulao makes an excellent complete vegetarian meal in itself.

Alphabet Lifestyle Book Recommendation
Click to order Gary Rhodes Food with Friends

2. Food With Friends – Gary Rhodes

This book is a meal planner to make entertaining simple. All the recipes are part of a dinner plan. They include shopping lists and preparation schedules, including a time plan. Organised into three categories: menus for four, menus for six and menus for eight and more. Try a meal plan for 6: Tastes of the Caribbean – Jerk chicken wings, Grilled swordfish with sweet sour relish and sweet potato roasties followed by baked tropical fruits! Heaven!

3. The Kinfolk Table – Recipes for Small Gatherings

The author of this delightful book has travelled the world, collecting recipes. He takes us into the homes of each contributor and captures what makes them all so special. The Kinfolk Table offers great recipes that are uncomplicated and inexpensive, yet ideal for entertaining with friends. This book feels like a welcome invite into the kitchen of a group of diverse and interesting friends.

Alphabet Lifestyle Book Recommendation The Kinfolk Table – Recipes for Small Gatherings
Click to order The Kinfolk Table – Recipes for Small Gatherings

4.  Jamie’s Italy – Jamie Oliver

Jamie’s Italy is a result of Jamie’s quest to capture the essence of Italian cooking. It’s more than just a cookbook, it’s a travelogue of Italy, from Sicily to Tuscany, savouring the Italian flavours along the way. It features local fishermen, family bakers and special ‘Mamas’ sharing their tips and recipes.

Alphabet Lifestyle Book Recommendation Jamie Oliver Jamie's Italy
Click to order Jamie Oliver Jamie’s Italy

5. Tagines – Over 50 Delicious Recipes by Lakeland

Discover the fragrant dishes of Morrocan cooking with a heady blend of spices and herbs.  Create hearty, slow simmered stews and authentic North African dishes. Our favourite is the Lamb and Apricot Tagine with Citrus Cous Cous.

Alphabet Lifestyle Book Recommendation

6. The Complete Book Of Low-Carbphydrate Cooking – Elaine Gardner

This is our go to book when we need to shed a little bit of weight or we’re just looking for high protein/low carb healthy recipes. This is a quick easy reference guide for healthy weight loss options and contains over 150 nutrient packed recipes.

Alphabet Lifestyle Book Recommendation

7. Keeping It Simple – Gary Rhodes

In this simple cookbook, Gary Rhodes strips out complicated techniques and fiddly instructions and demonstrates the fundamentals of good cooking. This is an essential cookbook for busy people who want simplicity and flavour. This book allows you to follow your own instincts and discover and create your own favourites. A great beginner guide but also an essential reference book.

Favourite recipe: Roast Chicken Wing Kiev

Alphabet Lifestyle Book Recommendation Keeping It Simple - Gary Rhodes
Click to order Keeping It Simple – Gary Rhodes

Quesadillas with feta, hummus and avocado


One of our favourite quick, easy and healthy lunch ideas is quesadillas filled with creamy feta, hummus and avocado.

A great after school snack for kids or a simple office lunch!



8 small tortilla
2 avocados
150 g feta
250 g canned chickpeas
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 tablespoon cumin
some olive oil
Juice of one lemon
some parsley, finely chopped
Add a few diced jalapeños or chili flakes to spice things up a little!


For this quick hummus put chickpeas, tahini, cumin and lemon juice into a blender and chop. Start adding olive oil until the hummus is creamy.

Spread some hummus on each tortillas and sprinkle chopped parsley/coriander over the tortillas. Cut the avocado in half, remove the stone and remove the flesh with a spoon. Cut into slices and put two or three of them on top of the hummus. Add jalapeños or chili flakes.

Crumble some of the feta over it and fold the tortilla in half and press together slightly. Heat oil in a pan and fry the quesadillas on both sides crispy.

Source and photography, The Stepford Husband.

Simple Morrocan Lamb Tagine

Spice up your life with a traditional fragrant lamb tagine.


Shoulder of lamb or lamb chunks cut into small chunks ( approx 2lb lamb)

2 large onion splash of olive oil

3 cloves crushed garlic

1 pint tomato juice

2 x 400ml tins chopped tomatoes

600ml lamb stock

4oz dried apricots, halved

2oz dates, halved

2oz sultanas or raisins

3oz flaked almonds

1 tbsp clear honey

2tbsp coriander

2tbsp parsley

Spice mix – 1tsp cayenne pepper, 2tsp black pepper, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tbsp ground ginger, 1 tbsp turmeric, 2tsp cinnamon


Mix together the spices cayenne pepper, black pepper, paprika, ginger, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cover the lamb with half of the spice mix and leave to marinate for at least two hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole dish or tagine. Add the onion and the remaining spice mix and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes so that the onions are soft, but not coloured. Add the crushed garlic. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
In a separate frying pan, heat the remaining oil and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides, then add the browned meat to the casserole dish. Add the tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, saffron, lamb stock and honey to the casserole dish or tagine.

Bring to the boil and cover with a fitted lid. Place in the oven for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.

Sprinkle with chopped herbs.

Serve with warm crusty bread and a large glass of red wine.



Couscous with onion, feta and pine nuts



80g whole wheat couscous

1tbsp olive oil

1 red onion, peeled and sliced

30g sweet rocket leaves

1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted

60g feta


Place couscous in a bowl and cover with 125ml boiled water. Leave for 5-10 mins until couscous swells.

Cook  the onion at medium heat slowly until partially caramelised.

Tear the salad leaves.

Seperate the couscous with a fork and stir through the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, onion and pine nuts.

Crumble in the feta, add the leaves, season and toss.

Adapted from womenshealthmag.co.uk

Avocado and Lemon Zest Pasta


400g spaghetti

olive oil

4 tablespoon capers

2 ripe avocados

i clove garlic

1/2 lemon zest

bunch of basil

bunch of parsley



Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water for 8-1o minutes until al dente

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, add capers and garlic, saute gently. Remove from heat and add lemon zest.

Chop the herbs and add to the pan. Scoop out the avocado and add to the pan.

Drain the pasta saving half a cupful of the water. add the pasta with the cooking water to the fruying pan.

Add salt, pepper and lemon juice  to taste

Drizzle with olive oil

@AnnaJones A modern way to eat