Our editors' favourite global cookbooks

Eat your way around the world while you #stayathome with our team’s top 10 global cookbooks.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020,
By National Geographic Traveller Food
Some of our favourite cookbooks, from Basque by José Pizarro to Kaukasis by Olia Hercules.
Some of our favourite cookbooks, from Basque by José Pizarro to Kaukasis by Olia Hercules.

When you’re spending most of your time at home, making a meal from scratch can be a great way of breaking up the day, as well as giving you something delicious to enjoy. And while some ingredients may be hard to come by right now, plenty are still readily available – so if you’re tiring of your usual repertoire, now is a great time to expand your culinary horizons. The National Geographic Traveller and National Geographic Traveller Food teams have chosen their favourite recipe books, allowing you to travel the world without leaving your kitchen, via dishes ranging from Basque pintxos to Thai curries.

Eataly: Contemporary Italian Cooking
While antipasti on a sun-drenched piazza is, sadly, out of reach for now, this hefty tome from Eataly, the Italian food brand, is a welcome alternative. The handsome hardback has become a bible in my kitchen, championing the simplicity of Italian food and providing insight into its heritage and provenance, too. Recipes are easy to follow, and I also love the glossary: a visual who’s who of the national larder, covering everything from hard cheeses to obscure salumi. £29.95, Phaidon.
Go-to recipe: Tagliatelle with prawns and runner beans. Connor McGovern, commissioning editor, NGT

Morito, by Sam and Sam Clark
This book, by the husband-and-wife team behind London restaurants Moro and Morito, is one of the most heavily stained in my kitchen. The Spanish- and North African-inspired dishes are divided up according to ingredients (meat, fish, veg, eggs and dairy), with additional chapters on pintxos (the Basque country’s answer to tapas), puddings and more. Some of the best recipes use few ingredients but pack in plenty of flavour, such as roast carrots with carraway, feta and mint; and grilled courgette with sumac and pine nuts. £26, Ebury.
Go-to recipe: Slow-cooked leeks, yoghurt and walnuts – it’s the homemade chilli butter that really makes this dish. Nicola Trup, deputy editor, NGT Food

Kaukasis, by Olia Hercules
In Azerbaijani culture, home-cooked food trumps, well, everything. This book is crammed full of delicious recipes from both Azerbaijan and neighbouring Georgia, and entwined with heart-warming stories from Olia’s childhood, spent in the region. My favourite recipes are plov (aromatic rice, meat and greens), qutab (stuffed flatbread) and the extraordinarily sour plum ‘leather’, which never fails to scrunch up the face of whoever tries it. £25, Mitchell Beazley.
Go-to recipe: Shakh plov, a rich rice dish with chicken (or lamb), apricots and sultanas. Farida Zeynalova, assistant editor, NGT Food

Bazaar, by Sabrina Ghayour
Vegetarian dishes are the unsung heroes of Middle Eastern cuisine — often mere accompaniments to a meaty centrepiece. That’s why Sabrina Ghayour’s Bazaar is a must for meat-free Middle Eastern dining: her imaginative vegetarian creations — many deservedly upgraded to main-course status — are a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. £26, Mitchell Beazley.
Go-to recipes: Stewed aubergines with a punchy tomato and tamarind sauce, and dolma with freekeh, pine nuts and pomegranate molasses. Nora Wallaya, assistant online editor, NGT

The Silver Spoon
Italian recipes are traditionally passed down from generation to generation via observation — not recipe books. Written in the 1950s, The Silver Spoon was an attempt to get the nation’s dishes committed to paper. The weighty tome isn’t intended to inspire biblical reverence, rather it’s meant as a floury-handed reference manual (its encyclopaedia of regional pasta dishes is extremely useful). Admittedly, it’s maddening at times for its lack of step-by-step instruction (don’t expect detailed tips on making pasta from scratch), but with over 2,000 recipes, it’s still the most comprehensive Italian kitchen companion around. £29.95, Phaidon
Go-to recipes: Garden peas with pancetta; spaghetti carbonara; and seabass baked al cartoccio are easy-to-make treats. Sarah Barrell, associate editor, NGT

Cravings, by Chrissy Teigen
I love this book. There's a chapter called ‘Thai Mom’, which the author wrote with her mother, that pays homage to her childhood, growing up eating and cooking Thai food — yet she puts her own modern take on those recipes. The rest of it is comfort food at its finest and the narrative really doesn't take itself too seriously, which is just what we all need right now. £20, Michael Joseph
Go-to recipe: Sesame chicken noodles – the sauce is made from store cupboard items such as soy sauce, tahini and honey. Lauren Gamp, senior designer, NGT

The Lebanese Cookbook, by Salma Hage
This book is my bible. Quick, easy, delicious recipes and my favourite cuisine — it’s good for cooking with store-cupboard ingredients like chickpeas, too. It’s beautifully designed, with top-notch food photography — and the edges of the book have a quirky cut, making it a gem for any foodie designer. £35, Phaidon
Go-to recipes: Moussaka, stuffed peppers, and superlative baba ghanoush. Becky Redman, art editor, NGT

Basque, by José Pizarro
The photos in this book of smoky grills, moody harbours, sun-drenched mountains and freshly caught fish transport you straight to the beguiling Basque country. I’ve spent many a hazy evening eating my way around San Sebastian, and happy days driving through the surrounding mountains in search of cider distilleries and farm restaurants, and this book does a great job of distilling just what this food-obsessed Spanish region does so well. £35, Hardie Grant
Go-to recipes: Aubergine, honey and blue cheese omelette; and beef cheeks in red wine sauce with cauliflower puree. Josephine Price, online editor, NGT

Thai Food, by David Thompson
This sumptuous guide to Thai cuisine runs to almost 700 pages, its content as much about food as it is about history, culture and religion. Having spent years in Bangkok researching recipes passed down from generation to generation, David Thompson reveals the techniques and traditions of everything from the royal palace’s cuisine to street food. Rather than simply enabling the reader to replicate their favourite takeaways, this book immerses you in Thailand and explains the use of ingredients, as well as their place in society, and how menus are created. The simple but stylish photography adds a real sense of place too. £35, Pavilion.
Go-to recipe: Chiang Mai pork curry. Pat Riddell, editor, NGT

Persiana, by Sabrina Ghayour
The author makes tricky-sounding dishes accessible to all, demystifying the use of spices. I have her to thank for opening up my world to saffron, fenugreek and ras el hanout, and for introducing me to pomegranate molasses, something that makes every dish sing. £26, Mitchell Beazley.
Go-to recipes: Chicken, walnut and pomegranate stew, or spice-perfumed shoulder of lamb. Charlotte Wigram-Evans, content editor, NGT

Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
I read this book from cover to cover at least twice before tackling any of the recipes. It brings the flavours and smells of Yotam and Sami’s childhood home city to life so vividly, with expressive writing and tantalising photography. The pair both grew up in Jerusalem (in the Jewish west and Muslim east, respectively), and their passion for the place they both consider home, plus its food, is obvious. It’s a nostalgic and funny book, full of hummus obsession and recipes spanning multiple influences. £27, Ebury
Go-to recipe: Roasted chicken with clementines and arak. Jo Fletcher-Cross, editorial manager, NGT

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