The Best Food & Garden Books of 2014
Here are our top ten food and garden books of the year, as chosen by our resident foodie and gardener Chris Gordon. Displayed in no particular order.
Nonna to Nana by Jacqueline & Jessie DiBlasi
Melbourne sisters Jessie and Jacqueline DiBlasi explore the connections between love and nourishment, inspired by their grandmother, Nonna Giovanna. The book shares stories and recipes from the living culinary traditions of 15 Australian grandmothers across diverse cultural backgrounds.
Mr Hong by Dan Hong
This is my pick of the Australian cookbooks for the year: innovative, fun and delicious. If you are searching for a cookbook for your friends, family, anyone – Mr Hong is the one. This wonderful collection of fusion recipes from all three of Dan Hong’s restaurants (Mr Wong, El Loco and Ms G’s) is easy to follow with brilliant graphics and not scared of being funny.
Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
Fresh from his Australian tour, Mr Ottolenghi’s cookbooks are a winner for inspiring end-of-year banquets and gatherings. Honestly, what is there not to love? What this bloke can do to a vegetable is extraordinary. You too can turn cauliflower into a meal so delicious that even the kids will be asking for more.
Home by Karen Martini
Home is where the heart is and this book clearly exemplifies ways to turn your mealtimes into a pleasurable experience for each and every member of your family. Martini’s recipes are easy and accessible. Home is filled with meal ideas for every day and some fancy-pants dinner parties too.
Salad Days by Ronnie Scott
This is the perfect gift for your foodie friends. Melbourne-based author Ronnie Scott muses on our general obsession with food. This droll essay is vivid in its reckoning of inner-urban-Melbourne folk and I beg each of you to read this glimpse into our time – if only to stop the food porn.
Heirloom Vegetables: A Guide to Their History and Varieties by Simon Rickard
If you have ever been fortunate enough to eat at the Annie Smithers Bistrot or the Diggers Club, then you have eaten vegetables grown by this great gardener and author. Heirloom Vegetables is a history book full of family feuds, love stories, tales of trade and great mythology – and it all revolves around carrots. No, not really, but this extraordinary book chronicles vegetables old and new through the history of humanity.
1-Minute Gardener: The 70 Skills You Need for Growing Food in Small Spaces by Mat Pember & Fabian Capomolla
The boys are back with their third book and I reckon it’s their best one yet! Mat and Fabian have realised we are time- and spacepoor and have come up with 70 different solutions for growing food in no time. There are step-by-step lessons on fast, edible gardening essentials, from preparing and caring for your veggie patch (or pot) through to harvesting the rewards – and getting the kids involved along the way.
Dig Deeper: Seasonal, Sustainable, Australian Gardening by Meredith Kirton
If you are after a gardening manual full of practical advice then this is the book for you. This book is literally full of down to earth advice! Kirton has spent her whole life teaching, designing, planting, guiding and writing about all things gardening. In here you’ll find projects for the amateur and the established gardener.
Adam’s Big Pot: Easy Meals for Your Family by Adam Liaw
Liaw understands the importance of gathering around and digging in, together. I love a recipe that not only enhances fresh ingredients but has just one pot to clean and is suitable for pretty much any occasion. I also like that Liaw has demystified many Asian-inspired dishes, making all his recipes accessible to anyone who shops in a supermarket.
What Katie Ate at the Weekend by Katie Quinn Davies
The second gorgeous book from much-loved foodie blogger and photographer Katie Quinn Davies gives particular thought to seasonal produce and incorporates popular and new recipes for all forms of weekend hosting including brunches, dinner and cocktail parties. You’ll find all the inspiration you need for entertaining as well as delicious everyday meals.