From Britain to Burma: our favourite cookbooks for summer

Six new cookbook releases to help you eat your way around the world this summer. 

Friday, August 14, 2020,
By National Geographic Traveller Food
Our round-up of the best cookbooks, from the peaks of Crete to the kitchens of Ukraine.

Our round-up of the best cookbooks, from the peaks of Crete to the kitchens of Ukraine.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller Food

Aegean, by Marianna Leivaditaki

Growing up on the Greek island of Crete, Marianna Leivaditaki would help out in her parents’ taverna and watch her fisherman father haul in the day’s catch. These days she lives in London, where she’s head chef at Hackney’s Morito, but she returns to the island whenever she can. Aegean is a reflection of her upbringing and those many trips home. Divided into sections focusing on ‘the sea’, ‘the land’ and ‘the mountains’, as well as ‘afters’, the book features recipes for every meal. Choose from simple seafood dishes, including whole charcoal-grilled fish with lemon, oil and parsley, and a fisherman’s soup called kakavia, or try tempting desserts such as tahini cake with metaxa and samos wine butter sauce. The recipes are interspersed with photographs of scenery, seaside and street life that really anchor the book in Crete, and several dishes are introduced with personal stories. The bougatsa (a salty-sweet cheese pastry) was inspired by a version Marinanna used to enjoy after a night out, while the mussel saganaki with feta, fennel and ouzo was a staple in the family restaurant. £26, Octopus Books. mariannaleivaditaki.com

Summer Kitchens, by Olia Hercules 

An ode to the traditions, kitchens and people of Ukraine, Summer Kitchens is filled with personal stories and recipes. There’s also a section dedicated to preserving and pickling, with recipes for quick-fermented cucumbers and a more ambitious whole fermented watermelon. £26, Bloomsbury. oliahercules.com

The Rangoon Sisters Cookbook, by Amy Chung & Emily Chung 

The duo behind The Rangoon Sisters, a London-based Burmese supper club, have created a clutch of recipes with manageable ingredient lists and well-explained methods. The book features salads (check out the pork and mango pickle), rice dishes and the sisters’ fish noodle soup, mohinga. £20, Ebury. rangoonsisters.com

James Martin’s Islands to Highlands, by James Martin

The latest release from the chef and TV presenter focuses on cuisine around Britain, from Scilly to Shetland and from Wales to the Yorkshire Dales. Expect stories from producers and chefs, plus recipes such as lobster and steak with haggis butter. £25, Quadrille. jamesmartinchef.co.uk

Thai in 7, by Sebby Holmes

Chef Sebby Holmes has dedicated his career to Thai cuisine, and in this book, he strips it back, showing how to recreate punchy flavours with a short shopping list and little time. Try the smoky braised beef shin curry or sticky palm sugar and fish sauce chicken wings. £17.99, Octopus Books. sebbyholmes.co.uk

Published in Issue 9 (summer 2020) of National Geographic Traveller Food

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