Monday Munchies: Unleash your Culinary Wanderlust


    I don’t wish to sound the alarm bells, but did you realize that it is only 9 weeks until Christmas! Don’t panic, I thought I would help and give you a few ideas for gifts with a round up of just released cookery books (all bar one). Not only will this selection give you a variety of new and delicious global recipes, but the books will delight you with some fantastic photography combined with stories from around the world – all designed to unleash your culinary wanderlust.



    International Night by Mark Kurlansky


    There is such a lovely story behind this cookbook. I think this book would make a wonderful gift, hence why I  included it in this roundup. Once a week Mark Kurlansky spins a globe and asks his daughter, Talia, to stop it at any point. Where Talia’s finger lands is the country that will be the inspiration for that Friday night’s dinner.


    International Night contains 52 weeks worth of appetizers, main and side dishes, plus desserts. As a professional chef, Mark uses his old favorite recipes, but will also research and create new dishes to put his own unique spin on basic recipes. Sadly the book fails to stimulate the palate with the eye, as there are very few photographs of the food. However, International Night is not just a cookbook, but a travelogue as Mark shares his experiences and recipes he discovered from visiting a wide variety of countries The beauty of this book is that all the recipes are designed for the every day chef with a child as a sous chef sidekick.

    Favorite dishes: Breton Cake, Ahi Poke, Guava Pastry

    Published October 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing

    Buy International Night here


    10 BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS 2015Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry


    This is so much more than just a cookery book with its exquisite photography and inspiring stories taken from Werner’s adventures in the Yucatan. Werner, along with his partner Mya Henry, gave up their restaurant jobs in New York to open an eatery in the wilds of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. As the chef, Werner cooks mainly over open fire, but in his book Hartwood he shows the reader how to achieve similar effects at home. Werner’s signature style is to use simple ingredients, mainly devoid of wheat and dairy, layering flavors to achieve divine deliciousness.



    Favorite dishes: Ceviche de Wahoo with Pink Grapefruit, Maya Prawns with Chipotle Mezcal Sauce, Horchata Cake

    Published in October 2015 by Artisan

    Buy Hartwood here


    10 BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS 2015The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook by Danny Bowien and Chris Ying


    Bowien is the cofounder and chef of two restaurants in NY and one in San Francisco. Born in Korea, raised in Oklahoma, and now a resident of New York City, Bowien was named Rising Star Chef of the Year 2014 by the James Beard Foundation. The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook offers up Bowien’s signature style of ‘mash-up Chinese food with American classics’.


    From humble food truck beginnings, Bowien’s own hunger and drive means that diners are now prepared to line up for many hours to sample his Kung Pao Pastrami. The Mission Chinese Food cookbook chronicles Bowien’s meteoric rise to fame (and presumably fortune) with mouthwatering photography alongside recipes that are designed to inspire home-cooks of all levels.

    Favorite Dishes: Sizzling Cumin Lamb Breast and Kung Pao Pastrami.

    Published November 2015 by HarperCollins

    Buy The Mission Chinese Food Cookbook here


    10 BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS 2015The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime: Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-Minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper! By Ree Drummonds


    This latest offering from the Food Network personality should get the award for the longest title. Don’t expect any off the wall recipes here, this is downhome wholesome country cooking, but with Drummonds infectious enthusiasm thrown in for good measure. Ree gives great practical advice including weekly planning and preparation tips, make ahead instructions, and possible variations. Each recipe includes step-by-step instructions with photographs (so helpful).


    The book is organized by type of meal, with categories such as comfort food, breakfast for dinner, and freezer meals. The only negative I would add is that many of the recipes contained within this book can already be found on Ree’s website.

    Favorite Dishes: Chicken Marsala, Beef Stroganoff, Pan-fried Pork Chops

    Published October 2015 by William Morrow Cookbooks

    Buy The Pioneer Woman Cooks here


    10 BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS 2015Sea and Smoke: Flavors from the Untamed Pacific Northwest by Blaine Wetzel


    In Sea and Smoke, the award-winning chef, Blaine Wetzel, details his journey to build a world class dining destination on an island with less than 1000 inhabitants. The Willows Inn on the Lummi Island in the Pacific Northwest is now home for Wetzel’s brand of hyper localism cooking, using the best ingredients sourced from local suppliers.


    As you might have guessed, this is far more than an ordinary cookbook. Journalist, Joe Ray, spent a year with Wetzel documenting the creation of The Willows Inn. Recipes don’t actually appear in the book until you are almost 100 pages in, but the photography by Charity Burggraaf and the fascinating approach that Wetzel brings to his cooking ensures that the wait only builds the readers appetite.

    Favorite Dishes: A broth of Roasted Madrona Bark, Bundles of Romano Beans roasted over Oregano sprigs, Pickled wild things.

    Published October 2015 by Running Press

    Buy Sea and Smoke here



    10 BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS 2015The Nordic Cookbook, by Magnus Nilsson


    This is a truly huge book that Nilsson compiled while travelling extensively throughout the Nordic region. Nilsson set out to document traditional Nordic home cooking, although he admits that even with 700 recipes listed, his work is far from complete. Nilsson is head chef of Sweden’s Faviken Magasinet but might be recognized from his appearance on the US series, Mind of a Chef. He obviously likes the television medium, as this year he is set to appear in a Netflix docu-series, The Chefs Table.


    The Nordic Cookbook contains recipes from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Sweden, and the Faroe Islands. Nilsson carefully explains Nordic cooking techniques and the regions culinary history. The aim is for the at home cook to recreate authentic Nordic delicacies, but I’m not sure that I have ever noticed the ingredient Puffin on the self of my local grocery store.


    Published October 2015 by Phaidon Press

    Buy The Nordic Cookbook here


    10 BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS 2015Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook


    In 2008 Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook opened Zahav, a Philadelphia based restaurant that serves traditional Israeli food, but incorporates vibrant spices with a modern spin. While the restaurant has been hugely successful, this is their first cookbook, created with the aim of enlarging their audience.


    Solomonov and Cook explain the complexities of Israeli cooking, and the impact of the regions various cultural influences on the recipes. Solomonov’s philosophy is simple; he wants to make food taste great. This book will provide you with all the basics you would imagine from the region including hummus, lamb shoulder, laffa bread, crispy haloumi, and fried cauliflower but with gorgeous photographs of delicious platters of food that will inspire you.If you love hummous then Zahav is your book as there is a whole chapter devoted to tahini.

    Favorite Dishes: Matzo Ball Soup, Yemenite Soup, Fried Kibbhe

    Published October 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Buy Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking here


    10 BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS 2015NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi


    Nopi: The Coobook contains over 100 of the most popular recipes from Yotams London based restaurant. Written in collaboration with the head chef of the restaurant who brings his distinctive Asian twist to the Ottolenghi kitchen.

    Whether you’re a regular at the NOPI restaurant and want to know the secret to your favorite or are an Ottolenghi fan that wants to see how it’s done in the restaurant kitchen, this is a collection of recipes that will inspire and delight.

    From simple starters – the burrata with blood orange, coriander seeds and lavender oil – to more involved main courses and puddings, there is something here for every meal and every occasion. Whether you’re looking for a quick brunch or an impressive and complete restaurant-style dinner party, this book is another gem to add to your collection.

    Favorite Dishes: Baked Blue cheesecake, Beef Brisket, Twice-cooled Baby Chicken

    Published October 2015 by Random House

     Buy NOPI:The Cookbook here


    10 BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS 2015Simply Nigella: Feel Good Food By Nigella Lawson


    I could hardly put a list together without including one of my favorite British cooks. Plus I love Nigella’s message – Relax, don’t stress in the kitchen, make simple food, food that you will enjoy eating. In this latest cookbook, timed perfectly for the Christmas market, Nigella includes a variety of recipes ranging from the quick weeknight suppers to those a little more intricate, designed for entertaining.


    Simply Nigella has been described as ‘the perfect antidote to our busy lives: a calm and glad celebration of food to soothe and uplift’

    Favorite Dishes: Nutella Brownies, Salted Chocolate Tart, Feta & Avocado Salad

    Published November 2015 by Flatiron Books

    Buy Simply Nigella here


    10 BEST COOKBOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS 2015Laura in the Kitchen: Favorite Italian-American Recipes Made Easy by Laura Vitale


    Somewhat unusually this book accompanies the hit You Tube cooking show, Laura in the Kitchen, that Laura Vitale started with her husband as a creative outlet for her cooking, following the demise of her fathers pizzeria. Born in Naples, Italy, Laura moved to the US at a young age but cured her homesickness by cooking up favorite family recipes. In this, Laura’s debut venture into the world of cookbook publishing, Laura shares over 100 recipes that range from her tried and true quick fix suppers to her fan favorites from her You Tube show.


    Favorite Dishes: Tortellini with pink parmesan sauce, Pot Roast alla Pizzaiola, No bake Nutella Cheesecake.

    Published October 2015 by Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony

    Buy Laura in the Kitchen here


    Pin this image to remind yourself later




    I hope that the above list of 10 best cookbooks for Christmas 2015 has ticked some boxes on your holiday shopping list. I’m quite surprised that an Indian cookery book didn’t make it into my list this year, but as I am still trying to master my Aloo Gobi dish I will look to some other countries recipes for inspiration. I  would love to hear your recommendations for any other cookbooks. Please hop on over to my Instagram account to see some of my mouthwatering photos of food and places from around the globe.

    Happy travels






    *Disclosure: Some links in this email are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support in this way!


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