When you run out of ideas in the kitchen, sometimes the only answer is to search for inspiration in the pages of a cookbook. The problem is, there are now so many to choose from that sometimes it’s hard to know where to turn. Here are 10 Diana Henry cookbooks – a cookery writer you can trust.
Who is Diana Henry?
If you don’t know who she is, let’s start with a brief introduction. Diana Henry is an award-winning Northern Irish-born British food writer, journalist and broadcaster.
Having grown up in Northern Ireland, she has fond memories of food and cooking, but it wasn’t until she moved away that her passion for all things culinary really began to take hold.
As well as authoring a number of cookbooks, she also writes for the Sunday Telegraph, a British national newspaper, and pens a monthly column for the BBC Good Food Magazine.
The accolades she has picked up during her career include the James Beard award for her book A Bird in the Hand, and the Cookery Writer of the Year award at the Fortnum & Mason Food & Drink Awards in 2013 and 2015, among others.
The title of this book says it all. Simple is a collection of uncomplicated but mouth-watering recipes that anyone can manage using only readily-available ingredients and some fairly easy cooking techniques. This is a book for those who love eating but who prefer their food to be fuss-free and unpretentious. The lovingly-written recipes contained in this book, along with the many accompanying anecdotes, will be a source of inspiration for many meals to come.
2. A Bird in the Hand – Chicken Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood
Chicken is one of the most widely eaten meats the world over, and each country and region seems to have its own way of preparing it. In this volume, Diana Henry has drawn on a range of different culinary traditions to assemble an eclectic selection of exciting ways to cook the humble bird. As the title suggests, there’s a dish for every occasion, whether you need to throw together a light salad or prepare an elaborate full-blown feast.
3. A Change of Appetite
Like many of us, when Diana Henry began to realize that her daily diet featured too many heavy foods like red meats, she began to cast around to try to discover lighter, healthier ways of eating. Her research led her to uncover recipes from around the world based much more on fish, vegetables and grains. This book will take you on a culinary journey from Scandinavia to North Africa and on to Southeast Asia, discovering a healthier way to eat along the way.
4. Salt, Sugar, Smoke
Before the days of refrigeration, people came up with many different ways to preserve seasonal ingredients so they could be stored up and eaten later. This has created a whole range of appetizing specialties around the world, including jams, pickles and relishes, along with various smoked and cured meats. This book is dedicated to these techniques and teaches you how to achieve the same delectable results in your own kitchen.
5. Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons
Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons is a classic cookbook that was highly acclaimed when it was first published and continues to be extremely popular today. It explores the lesser-known regions or the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East and introduces some wonderfully exotic dishes with equally exotic names. Add to this Diana Henry’s typically absorbing prose and you can see why this book is a winner.
6. Roast Figs, Sugar Snow
One of the hallmarks of Diana Henry’s cookbooks is the originality of the ideas behind her work, and Roast Figs, Sugar Snow is a perfect example. This collection is the culmination of Henry’s culinary adventures in the snowier regions of the world, bringing together winter recipes from North America, northern Europe and the Alps, among others. Any good book of recipes should leave you itching to try the suggestions found within, and this volume doesn’t disappoint.
7. The Gastropub Cookbook
In recent years in Britain, pubs serving traditional fare like pie and chips have found themselves squeezed out by a new phenomenon – the gastropub. Chefs up and down the country have begun preparing very simple but extremely high-quality food, transforming the pub from a place simply to drink beer into somewhere to head for an outstanding meal. Here, Diana Henry has assembled 150 favorites for you to try at home.
8. Food from Plenty
In our modern world of dwindling resources and ever-growing populations, being extravagantly wasteful is becoming increasingly unacceptable. This is a book about how to eat well and prepare exceptional meals while saving money and helping to care for the planet. A very welcome and much-needed collection of ideas.
9. Cook Simple
Another wonderfully original concept from Diana Henry, this book takes 12 of the most basic ingredients found in any kitchen and dedicates a whole chapter to each. This is an excellent book for anybody who wants to acquire the basics of cooking – and it would also be the perfect gift for someone who needs to learn their way around the kitchen.
10. How to Eat a Peach – Menus, Stories and Places
Rated by the Washington Post, the New Yorker and others as being among the cookbooks of 2018, one of Diana Henry’s latest titles once again showcases her talent for bringing us the tastiest dishes from a variety of countries and her ability to narrate the story behind them. This book is more than a simple list of recipes, focusing just as much on the setting of a meal and the manner in which it should be eaten. This is another collection that will only enhance the reputation of an already highly-regarded author.
Somewhere reliable to turn for creative culinary inspiration
Diana Henry’s books are full of original ideas for meals that you are unlikely to find anywhere else. If you are looking for ideas for recipes that are unusual and exotic as well as being easy to prepare, this is a cookery writer whose work you would be well-advised to investigate.