The best food & gardening books of 2017

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 food and gardening books of the year, voted for by Readings' staff, and displayed in no particular order.

(You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2017 here.)


Ostro by Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Melbourne-based Italian food writer Julia Busuttil Nishimura provides the most wonderful interpretations of dishes from Italy and the Mediterranean that are both recognisable and innovative. This is classy, quirky – and perfect for anyone of us wanting to remember that life is, in the end, about friendships and family.


Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh

Even if you’re not a fan of baked goods, or sweet-afters, there’s a dish here filled with vibrant colours and flavours that will make you swoon. This collection is reminiscent of Ottolenghi’s salad dishes,with exotic spices and complex flavourings: including fig, rose petal, saffron, aniseed, orange blossom, pistachio and cardamom. It’s beginning to sound like Christmas already!


Poh Bakes 100 Greats by Poh Ling Yeow

This cookbook holds exactly the same philosophy as the Country Women’s Association, including recipes for crowd favourites like sausage rolls and perfect brioche buns. It considers and rejoices in the crowd-pleasing results of a shared meal, which I love. Like the Poh we know and adore, this collection of recipes is warm and inviting ─ and most importantly, accessible!


It’s Always about the Food by Monday Morning Cooking Club

Well over a decade ago, a group of delightful, passionate Jewish women decided to cook together every Monday morning. It’s Always about the Food is their third book and is another fabulous, nurturing treat for all of us who want to share our food and stories. The recipes are truly global, inspiring ─ and very easy to follow.


Maggie’s Recipes for Life by Maggie Beer & Ralph Martins

Maggie Beer’s enthusiasm is evident in this wonderful new cookbook, featuring over 200 recipes. She joins with Professor Ralph Martins (Professor of Neurobiology and Foundation Chair in Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease at Edith Cowan University) to create a wonderful array of delicious recipes that can help fight the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, by providing the nutrients needed for optimum brain health.


Mr & Mrs Wilkinson’s How it is at Home by Matt Wilkinson & Sharlee Gibb

In this gorgeous book, the inner-Melbourne-based Wilkinsons open their hearts and home to share their philosophies of simple, family-friendly food. It’s beautifully presented, with sweet photos throughout, realistic chapter titles (like: ‘When Mum’s Away’ or ‘When the Kids are Away’) and a range of fresh, approachable recipes.


Around the World in 80 Cocktails by Chad Parkhill

Chad Parkhill is a Melbourne-based cultural critic and bartender who writes about sex, booze, music, history, and books. He is ─ enviably ─ the cocktail columnist for the Guardian and his first book, Around the World in 80 Cocktails, celebrates the globetrotting history of the cocktail; each with its own origin story to tell.


Cornersmith: Salads and Pickles by Alex Elliott-Howery & Sabine Spindler

There is a clear plan to this pleasing cookbook: braise some veggies, toss some leaves, sprinkle with nuts or seeds, brighten with oils and vinegars, then serve with bread and preserves: the most perfect summer meal right at your fingertips. There’s no fancy talk, no elaborate ingredients… just recipes that make sense.


The Urban Farmer by Justin Calverley & Ceres

With a deep knowledge of permaculture and organic gardening, horticultural expert and CERES in-house gardener Justin Calverley shows you how to establish a diverse urban farm, whether in your own backyard, a plot shared with your neighbours, or even on a kerbside verge. This is a motivating guide to making all of your available outside space work.


Native: Art and Design with Australian Natives by Kate Herd & Jela Ivankovic-Waters

Local gardener Kate Herd started experimenting with native plants in her Melbourne riverside garden. Here, she graciously shares some amazing discoveries she made along the way. This marvellously photographed book offers planting palettes and design themes, gardening techniques, and inspiration for an original and exciting perspective on the very best of Australian local flora.

Poh Bakes 100 Greats

Poh Bakes 100 Greats

Poh Ling Yeow

$39.99Buy now

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