Toronto Eats by Amy Rosen
Is it a cookbook? A Toronto restaurant guide? A coffee table book? It’s actually all three! The follow up to the bestselling Toronto Cooks, this is a close up on Toronto’s current food scene, featuring over 100 recipes from 50 chefs. With recipes from every culture, from foraged food to fast food with a few sweet treats to boot, this book will simultaneously make you want to head out to dinner and head to you kitchen. Because that’s the beauty of Toronto Eats – the recipes are written with the home cook in mind, making restaurant favourites achievable in your kitchen! The book is organised with the restaurants listed in alphabetical order, but there’s a handy Table of Contents at the beginning of the book where the recipes are divided into Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Drinks, Mains, Sides and Desserts which means that you could literally plan a dinner party featuring dishes from six different Toronto restaurants (now there’s an idea for a dinner party!). From the stories behind the recipes to the beautiful photography, this is a book that is just as at home on your kitchen counter as it is your bedside table or coffee table.
Buy Toronto Eats on Amazon(this link should bring you to the Amazon store closest to you).
3 times a day: simple & stylish
Marilou Champagne, a French-Canadian pop singer, and her husband Alexandre are behind the hugely popular blog, troisfoisparjour.com, born out of Marilou’s lengthy battle with anorexia and her wish to heal herself through food and cooking. They wrote/ photographed the subsequent book Three Times a Day which sold over 200 000 copies in Québec. Simple & Stylish is the follow up and is a celebration of food and well-being, featuring recipe categories like Indulgent, Gift, Economical (using pantry staples), Vegetarian, His Choice (recipes curated by Alex), Entertaining, Quick and Easy, Gluten Free and Lactose Free. The recipes are divided into Breakfast & Brunch, Snacks & Small Bites, Lunch & Salads, Soups, Fish & Seafood, Meat, Pasta, Rice & Pizza, Vegetables, Casseroles & Sides and Desserts. This is everyday food made elegant. The gorgeous photography places this firmly in the category of coffee table book but the recipes are on the whole, very accessible for home cooks.
Buy 3 times a day: stylish & simple on Amazon (this link should bring you to the Amazon store closest to you).
Best of Bridge: Sunday Suppers
Best of Bridge is a Canadian institution: In 1975, at a weekend getaway, a group of friends had an idea: since a consistent highlight of their decade-old bridge group was the food they prepared and enjoyed together, perhaps they should think about writing a cookbook. This spur-of-the-moment notion was the impetus for The Best of Bridge, which went on to become one of the most successful brands in Canadian publishing. Over 40 years later, the “ladies” have changed (Elizabeth, Julie and Sue grew up enjoying Bridge recipes!) but the concept has not: Simple recipes with gourmet results. This volume of the Best of Bridge celebrates recipes and dishes to be enjoyed with company – bringing friends and family back around the table. With over 200 recipes to inspire you to get cooking, what I love about this volume is that, while for many people a Sunday supper might beef like a big challenge, these recipes aren’t necessarily complicated or fancy (pizza or taco night can also be a “Sunday Supper”!) and the trademark Bridge “look” (no photographs, block capital font and spiral bound books give it that feel of someone’s mum’s recipe notebook) make the recipes feel really do-able. This is a book for anyone who loves to gather people around the table (so, that would be most people!). Read about the time I cooked from the book with my boys’ cooking club (hey, if my boys can cook from the recipes, that’ s a pretty strong indication that they are “do-able”!)
Farm to Chef: Cooking through the Seasons by Lynn Crawford
If you’re a fan of cooking seasonally, Lynn Crawford’s latest book is for you. With over 140 recipes, Farm to Chef is the ultimate farmers’ market companion – if you’re one of those people who returns home from a market shop with a bunch of beautiful in-season produce that you couldn’t resist but now don’t know what to do with, Lynn’s got you covered. Each chapter represents a season and features recipes grouped according to ingredient (so if you’re like me and have a ton of cabbage hanging around your kitchen right now, there are a few ideas to help you out!). The photography is stunning, highlighting the produce beautifully. Lynn is a true champion of all that’s local and this book celebrates that passion for and dedication to supporting our farmers and growers. Celebrate the abundance of our seasons by cooking your way through them with this book.
Eat at Home by Voula Halliday
Voula is a Cordon Bleu trained chef, writer, recipe developer and tester, television and radio presenter whose work has also appeared in places like Bon Appétit, Canadian Living, The National Post, Reader’s Digest Canada, Best Health, Food & Drink, and Chatelaine, where she was both a contributing editor and an associate in the test kitchen. Eat at Home is Voula’s first cookbook where she shares recipes, tips and tricks for those who, like her, want to do it all but who need a helping hand to get them on the path to performing at their best in every aspect of their life. Starting with food:. Voula says: “I believe that fresh is the ultimate start to good health and that standing in your own kitchen cooking your own food is a powerful way to take care of yourself and your family.” With ideas for making sure your pantry and fridge are always well-stocked, recipes for homemade seasonings and spice blends and recipes for every meal of the day (including treats) this book is an excellent starting point for busy people who want to make getting back to the kitchen and cooking from scratch a priority in their lives. Voula’s also a lover of leftovers (me too!) and there are tons of recipes that make excellent leftovers which, in turn, makes meal planning for the week so much easier. Cook once, eat twice. With over 150 recipes for fresh, real food meals, you’ll find something to please everyone. A really useful book for novice and more experienced cooks alike.
(On a personal note, though I have never met Voula, I have followed her career and was super impressed to see her self-publishing this book – and raising the funds through Kickstarter. I contributed simply because I know how much work is involved in producing a cookbook. So. Much. Respect.)
Buy Eat at Home on Amazon.
The School Year Survival Cookbook by Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh
Do the words “school year” strike fear in your heart? Do you dread having to pack lunches and make dinners (generally, feed your family despite hectic timetables)? Well, never fear – the bestselling authors of How to Feed a Family, Laura Keogh and Ceri Marsh of Sweet Potato Chronicles, are here to help with a playbook for the school year with strategies and recipes that will help you plan all your meals (even snacks) with less stress! The School Year Survival Cookbook will help you navigate mealtimes so you can feed your family healthy meals and snacks even through the busiest of weeks. The book features tips and tricks to help you stock your pantry and fridge ready for school year success, great advice on “gearing up” your kitchen and kids’ lunchboxes (with some tips for food safety when sending lunches into school). With a range of kid-friendly, easy-to-prepare breakfasts lunches and dinners with lots of make-ahead tips, Ceri and Laura have you covered. The beautiful photography will draw you in and parents concerned with nutrition will appreciate the inclusion of the nutritional information (not for every recipe but as tips throughout the book). My boys’ cooking club made the Hawaiian Pizza Muffins from the book (with Ceri, no less!) and gave them the thumbs up. If you’re planning on making Term 2 and 3 better than Term 1, this is the book you need to read over the holidays!
The Simple Bites Kitchen by Aimée Winbush-Bourque
The Simple Bites Kitchen is Aimée’s second cookbook and she calls it a “behind-the-scenes personal tour” of her kitchen, with recipes and stories. It’s a reflection of how her family eats every day; with a focus on “unprocessed, unrefined, fresh, organic where possible, vegetarian most days, homemade where we can.” If that sounds daunting, Aimée promises, though the pages of the book to be right by your side as you cook along with her. If you’re familiar with her Simple Bites blog, you’ll recognise her easy, conversational writing style – reading the book feels just like sitting down with Aimée over a cup of coffee and chatting.
The book covers Nourishing Breakfasts, Wholesome Lunches and Snacks, Homegrown Vegetarian, Fresh-Air Gatherings and Everyday Suppers, along with Simple Bites Staples and a chapter on keeping your preserves pantry well-stocked year-round. This is definitely a book aimed at people who do more from scratch that most, but even if you’re not in that category, this book will inspire you! The recipes are more sophisticated than many family cookbooks (alongside muesli and frittata in the breakfast chapter, you’ll find recipes like bagels, a porridge made from millet and polenta, a savoury oatmeal and gingerbread waffles), but again, if you know Aimée’s work, this is an extension of her blog and the gorgeous food she posts on her Instagram feed. As well as recipes, throughout the book, Aimée shares a lot of kitchen wisdom too (you get to peek inside her fridge and learn about the “Fine Art of Fridge Management” – because who doesn’t need help with that?), ideas for hosting a soup sway, a pie party (! because who wouldn’t want to go to one of those?!) and tips for packing a lunchbox.
For Aimée, the kitchen is a place to gather with friends and family, cook, eat and celebrate and this book is a reflection of that philosophy. With over 100 recipes (including snacks), this is beautiful food, beautifully photographed by Tim Chin, accompanied by stories, this is another coffee table/ kitchen counter cookbook – equally at home on both.
Which one of these books would you like to give or receive over the holidays?
Disclosure: I received review copies of Three Times a Day, The Simple Bites Kitchen, Toronto Eats, The School Year Survival Cookbook and Best of Bridge Sunday Suppers from the publishers. I purchased Eat at Home myself and received Farm to Chef in a conference swag bag. I was not asked to write about these books, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions my own.
Please note: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post also contains affiliate links from the Book Depository. This means that if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you). Thank you in advance!