Paul West is a professional chef, the host of hit TV series River Cottage Australia and the author of The River Cottage Australia Cookbook. Here are the cookbooks Paul cannot live without:
Larousse Gastronomique by Prosper Montagné
The original tome of French cookery. It’s about the same size and weight as a phone book and is chocked with baseline recipes for classical French techniques and dishes
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee
This book is an indispensable tool for understanding the hows of cookery. What makes eggs scramble, why does meat brown when it’s cooked at a high heat, how does sugar become caramel? Arming yourself with the scientific understanding of basic cookery allows you to better understand your ingredients and how to get the most out of them.
Community by Hetty Mckinnon
A friend first introduced me to this wonderful book and it has since become a regular source of inspiration for cooking simple and nutritious meals for my family.
Mr Wilkinson’s Simply Dressed Salads by Matt Wilkinson
No other chef I have met in the Australian food scene can match Matt’s passion and understanding for the true seasonality of produce. He has an impressive haute cuisine pedigree but has turned that skill set into creating dishes of tasty simplicity. Another one of my go-to books for inspiring family meals.
A Year of Practiculture by Rohan Anderson
A man after my own heart, Rohan’s book is filled to the brim with his unashamedly frank and personal account of a journey into producing his own food. The book follows a year of his life as he hunts, grows and fishes his way to a full belly and a full larder. Beautiful photography and tasty, accessible recipes.
The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander
Another tome that deserves a spot on everyone’s bookshelf, it’s not Australia’s most shoplifted cook book for nothing! This A-Z ingredient dictionary is full of tips, recipes and inspiration for a comprehensive list of ingredients that should keep any cook inspired.
Jam Drops and Marble Cake by the Country Women’s Association
Honed over years of refinement and competition, if I have to bake, I do it from this book. As the name suggests, it’s packed with classics baking recipes that would have your nanna reaching for the fine china and putting the kettle on.
The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz
Arguably the most cultured man on the planet, if Sandor hasn’t written about it, then when it comes to fermentation, it’s not worth knowing.
Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing by Michael Ruhlman
Ever since I began raising my own pigs, this book has become a constant reference for mastering the art of charcuterie.
See Paul West talking to Cheryl Akle on Better Reading TV here.
For more on the River Cottage Australia Cookbook and the free recipe for the Hazelnut Syrup Cake click here