From Sweden to Ethiopia: The best new cookbooks

Glorious baking from Sweden and beyond.

By National Geographic Traveller Food
Published 8 Apr 2019, 23:42 BST, Updated 15 Jul 2021, 15:12 BST
New cookbooks.

Our pick 
The Nordic Baking Book, Magnus Nilsson
Magnus Nilsson, head chef of Sweden's two-Michelin-starred Fäviken, admits in the introduction to The Nordic Baking Book that he struggled to decide which recipes to include. After exploring the steam-filled, flour-dusted kitchens of professional and home bakers across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, he returned home with an exhaustive shortlist of traditional bakes. In the end, he decided to omit nothing: the result is an ambitious record of rich Nordic baking culture. The rye-bread chapter alone offers more than 10 variations, from an Icelandic version baked in smouldering holes in the thermally active land to anchor-shaped Swedish loaves and syrup-enriched Upplandic rye. There are cinnamon buns, of course (along with a handy illustration on how to shape them), but also cardamom-spiked versions, vanilla cream buns and crescent-shaped hazelnut pastries. More unusual recipes include sweet kringles (sugar-crusted, oversized pretzels), apple-topped rye porridge and cultured cream waffles fried in lots of butter. The recipes share one unifying factor: they're perfect for fika. The Swedish word, meaning a coffee and snack break, is a Nordic tradition worth embracing. £29.95, Phaidon

If you're after the flavours of Iran…
Try this: Nightingales & Roses, Maryam Sinaiee
In her debut cookbook, Iranian-born writer Maryam Sinaiee, author of food blog The Persian Fusion, invites readers to spend time in her Persian kitchen. Delve into the stories and traditions behind dishes such as baked fish with tamarind, lamb and aubergine stew, and gold-tinged saffron rice pudding. Sinaiee's warm writing transports you right to the stove beside her. £25, Anima

If you're after sharing plates…
Try this: Eat at the Bar, Matt McConnell
At his Melbourne restaurant, Bar Lourinhã, chef Matt McConnell is inspired by the tapas culture of Spain and Portugal. Thanks to his debut cookbook, you can recreate it at home. Sardine bocadillos, crisp prawn croquetas and petruccio cocktails laced with gin and Aperol sing with Mediterranean sunshine, as does the evocative travel photography. £25, Hardie Grant

If you're after shortcuts…
Try this: Simple, Yotam Ottolenghi
If you find Ottolenghi's typically long lists of ingredients off-putting, the latest book from the king of Middle Eastern cooking will appeal. Its pared-back dishes — from herb fritters to pappardelle with rose harissa — are made for manic weeknights, and recipes are grouped to suit your lifestyle, whether you want to prep ahead or have a meal ready in 30 minutes. £25, Ebury Press

If you're after a taste of East Africa…
Try this: Ethiopia, Yohanis Gebreyesus
Chef Yohanis Gebreyesus has become known in his hometown of Addis Ababa for his healthy Ethiopian cooking. This volume features dozens of Gebreyesus's recipes inspired by Ethiopa's truly singular cuisine, from doro wat (spiced chicken stew) and yeassa alichia (curried fish stew) to veggie options including gomen (collard greens with ginger and garlic). £30, Kyle Books

As featured in Issue 3 of National Geographic Traveller Food

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