Category Archives: Cooking

Summer reading with Booko: Australian Food

Australian food is all about fresh flavours and local produce, healthy but never preachy, and whose main ingredient seems to be sunshine itself. We’re loving Bill Granger’s new book aptly named Australian Food.


Jamie Oliver, King of Christmas

It’s hard to believe that Jamie Oliver first burst onto our screens over 20 years ago. Young and exuberant, he was unlike anyone before him, and he made cooking cool and accessible. His championing of rustic, flavourful dishes, of relaxed cooking and dining, continues to influence our food habits today. At Booko HQ we love Jamie at Christmas time – his recipes help us entertain without stress, his books make welcomed gifts, and his YouTube channel (now also starring Buddy and River, his two youngest children) makes for fun, relaxing holiday viewing. Here are six of our favourite Jamie Oliver books to get you through Christmas and beyond:

Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook

Jamie’s Christmas Cookbook has been a Team Booko favourite for some years now. This is a complete how-to guide for festive entertaining, with planning tips, shopping lists, decorating ideas, and recipes for edible gifts; as well as lots of great recipes. The recipes are a nice balance between traditional and modern; Jamie excels in simplifying/re-interpreting classic dishes without sacrificing that traditional taste. There’s also an extensive collection of vegetarian/meat-free dishes, canapes, drinks, and ideas for leftovers, to cater for all guests and occasions.

7 Ways: Easy Ideas for Everyday of the Week

Jamie’s latest book is all about adding tasty variety to our dinners by changing up our staple foods. He takes 18 of the most common meal ingredients – think chicken breasts, beef mince, eggs, mushrooms, potatoes etc – and shows us seven different ways to cook each (one recipe for each day of the week!). Drawing many different cuisines, there are versions of popular takeaways, one-dish traybakes, as well as freezer-friendly ideas. The dishes are quick enough to cook for weeknight dinners, but also impressive enough for entertaining. 7 Ways is a great source of inspiration on how to make family meals interesting without them becoming too fussy/ expensive/ unfamiliar.

Veg : Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone

Plant-based or meat-free eating is a huge trend right now – so many people are discovering that, not only is eating more plants healthy, it is also affordable and environmentally responsible. Jamie Oliver and his family have been eating more vegetarian meals for over 5 years, and in Veg, he shares his favourite veg-based recipes, as well as tips on how to make to most of any vegetables. There’s a good mix of dishes that are naturally meat-free (such as salads and curries ) and meat-less versions of popular favourites (including burgers, bakes and roasts). Each of these dishes spotlight how colourful and flavourful vegetables can be. Whether you want to try to do Meatless Mondays, are already committed to a plant-based diet, or simply want to increase your vegie intake, let Jamie Oliver be your trusty starting point.

Jamie Cooks Italy: from the Heart of the Italian Kitchen

My copy of Jamie Cooks Italy was gifted by my Italian mother-in-law – quite an endorsement, coming from a good cook who is a stickler for authenticity. This is Jamie’s second book dedicated to Italian food (the first is Jamie’s Italy). It is a tribute to the nonnas all over Italy – those frugal, hardworking women who take great care even with the simplest ingredients, and who express their love for their families through their cooking. Jamie spent two years travelling around Italy, cooking and learning these recipes from many nonnas. Not only is this a collection of heritage recipes at risk of dying out, it is a beautifully-documented social history showcasing these resilient women.

Cook With Jamie: my Guide to Making you a Better Cook

Ever wished you could cook like Jamie Oliver? Then you’d love Cook with Jamie, which is both a manual for fundamental kitchen skills, and a core collection of dishes that are accessible, yet will impress your family and friends. Jamie’s tutorials cover everything from what kitchen tools to own, what to stock in your pantry, to recognising cuts of meat and how to shop – advice that can save you money as well as make you a better cook. The recipes range from fairy cakes to whole baked cauliflower and Christmas turkey, and are dishes that you will want to cook again and again. Jamie is passionate about encouraging people to cook fresh food as part of a healthier lifestyle – this manual will show you how.

Everyday Super Food

Everyday Super Food came about when Jamie Oliver turned 40, and felt the need to reassess his life habits. The result was a greater emphasis on nutrition, leading to improved health, better sleep and more energy. This approach has flowed into his work as well, where Jamie regularly works with nutritionists, and he also includes detailed dietary information with many recipes. Jamie has a very accessible approach to Super Food, which does not rely on boutique “superfood” ingredients, but rather 14 commonly-found “hero ingredients” that are healthy and nutrient-packed – think eggs, sweet potatoes, seaweed, and fresh fruit. The resultant recipes, including versions of popular dishes such as pasta carbonara and french toast, are family-friendly, full of bold flavours, and nutrient-rich yet without empty carbs or unnecessary sugar.

How to have a clever Christmas online (and how to shop local both here and overseas)

It’s that time of year with just over two weeks left to frantically wrap parcels and pop them under the tree. This year has been somewhat bonkers and so we thought we would show you how to have a Clever Christmas shopping from your sofa and let the postie wrestle with your gift delivery instead…no matter where in the world you’re shipping to.

Here’s a little table we whipped up for you to remind you when the postie will be making his final rounds.

Handy Hint: If you are sending parcels overseas and have missed the dreaded cut off dates, fear not! You can simply change the location setting at the top right hand corner on the Booko website and shop like a local in that country. 

We have made you a clever guide stepping you through the process which you can read here

Stuck for gift ideas? Not to worry, the Booko team has been keeping an eye on which books have been popular this festive season for all ages. Sit back, have a read and then get clicking. 

Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts by Mary Berry

Mary is always a crowd pleaser and her baked creations never fail to delight. While you may want to keep this for yourself, if you do gift it, then there is always a chance that the recipient will invite you back for dinner! Win win.

Mary Berry shares over 120 of her ultimate food recipes, all made simply and guaranteed to get smiles around your kitchen table in her new cookbook. Mary’s utterly reliable recipes are perfect for days when you want tasty and dependable food. Come home to the delicious simplicity of a Whole Roasted Squash with Garlic and Chilli Butter, or a warming Spicy Sausage and Red Pepper Hot Pot. Treat your family to Slow Roast French Lamb with Ratatouille, and spoil everyone with a decadent Frangipane Apple and Brioche Pudding. Featuring all the recipes from Mary’s new series, plus many more fresh from Mary’s kitchen, every single dish is accompanied by a photography of the finished food, so you know exactly what you’re making. Each recipe includes Mary’s trademark no-nonsense tips and techniques for getting ahead, and has been rigorously tested to make your cooking stress-free.

Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain

Here’s another gift that may offer you a dinner (or possibly dessert) invitation. Nadiya Bakes is one series on Netflix that our family binged during our first lockdown and inspired the children to hop into the kitchen and whip up a storm.

At last, Nadiya returns to baking. This is her long-awaited reunion with her true love incredible cakes and bakes that we can all achieve at home. It’s a fact that baking makes us happier and this book is bursting with recipes that will bring a little sunshine into your world and the lives of your friends, family and neighbours. Nadiya explores all areas of baking, conquering cakes and tray-bakes, no-bake bakes, tarts and pies, desserts, celebration bakes, biscuits and buns as well as breads and savouries. Recipes include Money-Can’t-Buy-You-Happiness Brownies, Baked Chilli Churros, a beautiful Baked Rhubarb, Rosemary and Olive Oil Polenta Cake and a wow-factor Layered Honey and Soured Cream Cake. Yummo!

Guinness World Records 2021 by Guinness World Records

All aboard Guinness World Records 2021 for a life-changing journey of discovery! This year, there is a chapter devoted to the history of exploration, starting with the story of the very first circumnavigation, along with a “History of Adventure” timeline, featuring a host of remarkable achievements. The fully revised and updated best-seller is packed with thousands of incredible new feats across the widest spectrum of topics, providing a whistle-stop tour of our superlative universe. Travel through the Solar System and see the planets come to life with a free augmented-reality feature. Encounter the cutest, weirdest, most dangerous and exotic creatures on our home planet. Meet the world’s tallest, shortest, hairiest and heaviest humans. Marvel at the latest high scores, speed runs and players at the top of their game in eSports and beyond. Get the lowdown on the world’s most successful and prolific actors, musicians, TV stars and influencers. Review the greatest sports achievements from the past year and celebrate today’s top athletes.

Code Name Bananas by David Walliams

David Walliams’ stories are a delight to read, and always make us giggle. Code Name Bananas is his newest book and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Eleven-year-old Eric spends his days at the place that makes him most happy: London Zoo. And there’s one animal in particular he loves: Gertrude the gorilla. With bombs falling all over London, Eric must rescue Gertrude. Together with his Uncle Sid, a keeper at the zoo, the three go on the run. But while hiding out at the seaside they uncover a top-secret Nazi plot… Join David Walliams on this action-packed, laugh-out-loud adventure for all the family!

Brickman’s Family Challenge Book by Ryan McNaught

We’re slightly biased with this book (ahem…Booko has a new website in the family www.bricko.info in case you need to buy for a LEGO fanatic). 

Challenge each member of your household to a building competition that is the brainchild of Brickman himself, star judge of smash hit TV show LEGO® Masters and a LEGO Certified Professional. Each of the 30 challenges can be attempted at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels. So whether you’re 5 or 105, an infrequent brick builder or a huge LEGO fan, these challenges will get you off your screens and get your creative juices flowing with even the most basic of LEGO collections. Including: Maze runner: build a maze with obstacles and design themes, Get crazy: roll a die to determine which hybrid model you need to build in under 2 hours – a Supersonic Banana Plane, anyone? Self-portrait: one of the hardest things to build with LEGO is curves, but Brickman helps you crack the techniques for building a recognisable 3D portrait of yourself. Packed with pro tips and suggestions on how to take your builds to the next level, as well as a ‘know your bricks’ glossary, this book will turn you into a Master LEGO Builder in no time. Do you know someone up to the challenge?

Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant

From the duo behind the massively successful and award-winning podcast Stuff You Should Know comes an unexpected look at things you thought you knew. Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant started the podcast Stuff You Should Know back in 2008 because they were curious. Curious about the world around them, curious about what they might have missed in their formal educations, and curious to dig deeper on stuff they thought they understood. As it turns out, they aren’t the only curious ones. They’ve since amassed a rabid fan base, making Stuff You Should Know one of the most popular podcasts in the world. Armed with their inquisitive natures and a passion for sharing, they uncover the weird, fascinating, delightful, or unexpected elements of a wide variety of topics. The pair have now taken their near-boundless “whys” and “hows” from your earbuds to the pages of a book for the first time. Featuring a completely new array of subjects that they’ve long wondered about and wanted to explore. Each chapter is further embellished with snappy visual material to allow for rabbit-hole tangents and digressions, including charts, illustrations, sidebars, and footnotes. Follow along as the two dig into the underlying stories of everything from the origin of Murphy beds, to the history of facial hair, to the psychology of being lost.

Enjoy!

Why you should shop at your local farmers market

This festive season, perhaps more than ever, it feels important to be supporting local businesses and that includes our farmers too. This Ted Talk shows us how to put our purchasing power into action and why we should shop at our local farmers market this festive season.