I love that it’s so easy to find recipes quickly and for free online. Sometimes I even look up recipes on my phone from books that I actually own, because it’s easier than trying to keep the pages open. But with the vast number of recipes, it can be hard to work out which ones to trust enough to invest my time and ingredients in…after all, any amateur with a laptop can post recipes online. Ahem.
The resources I trust most online, having been tempted by the photos, bewitched by the prose, and buoyed by having good results with are listed here.
Tried and tested
At The Food Lab and How to Make the Perfect… Kenji-san and Cloake-san research and test recipes to iterate to the best possible version of each. I love reading about the experiment processes, the appeal of the dish, and sometimes I even get round to making them. They are slightly different in approach – like a research scientist, Kenji spends hours making the same recipe over and over with minute changes in each variable, and sometimes graphs the results, whilst Felicity Cloake tries all the recipes that we might potentially trust (from Nigella Lawson to Heston Blumenthal via Jamie Oliver, Delia Smith and Simon Hopkinson) and combines the best of each.
I love, love the work of Deb Perelman over at Smitten Kitchen. I had the pleasure of attending a book signing/demonstration/dessert party to launch her cookbook and it was terrific. When I don’t know what to make for dinner it’s her site I browse first.
Mark Bittman at the New York Times (subscription) – Both classic Bittman and new, heart-healthy Bittman who uses meat as a seasoning are world-class. My pie pastry recipe is his, and the Asian food recipes of his I’ve tried have been very reliable.
Also at the New York Times, the Recipes for Health column is great for ideas, but I haven’t had great results with the healthy cake-type things.
Nigel Slater in the Guardian actually lives in the same London borough as us, so as well as loving the way he writes, I’m encouraged to try his recipes since I assume we can get hold of the necessary ingredients and I really appreciate his focus on seasonal foods. Thrillingly, I once ran into him at the fancy butchers’ in Highbury and was totally star-struck…I managed to blurt “I love to read and eat your recipes!” before running out of the door.
Having banished our novels, Christian books and knitting patterns to the front room, the only books remaining in the low-ceilinged kitchen are cookery books:
- Nigella Lawson – I have such a lady-crush on La Nigella and love her early books. How to be a Domestic Goddess was my first cookery book and still my go-to for all things baking. I also use How to Eat, and more rarely, Feast (at Christmas), Nigella Bites, Forever Summer (for the ice cream) and Nigella Express
- Delia Smith – I bought Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course at university and it’s normally my first stop for working out what to do with a new ingredient. Additionally, I have Delia’s Summer Collection (highlights are the rhubarb crumble ice cream and halloumi salad) and the Winter Collection (apple and ginger puddings)
- Nigel Slater – the Kitchen Diaries I is a terrific read and I’ve made quite a few things from there, but haven’t got into the sequel quite as much
- The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook – the battleground for a husband and wife bake-off at church. The raspberry cheesecake brownies in this book are immense.