Nigel Slater's cookbook on a marble countertop in a rustic kitchen

We select our staple cookbooks filled with easy-win recipe ideas to reach for in life’s more frazzled moments. 

Here at Object Story we love cooking for friends and family. Few pleasures can match gathering people around a table filled with platters of food for everyone to tuck into. Or celebrating a special occasion with a fancy candle-lit supper, using only the finest ingredients. 

These moments in the kitchen prepping and planning dinner parties can be joyous. Yet even the most seasoned cooks can feel overwhelmed when it comes to getting a wholesome meal on the table each and every day.

For times when the prospect of cooking may very well engulf you, we have a handful of cookbooks to ease the strain. Like long-loved pals, these reliable tomes will always have a space on our kitchen shelves – filled as they are with balanced recipes. With meal ideas that deliver full flavour quickly, they use ingredients you can easily pick up; or that may already be lurking in the back of your cupboard or veg basket. 

We’ve included our favourite tried-and-tested recipe from each cookbook, too, to inspire those easy-win snacks and dinners. Without further ado, let’s tuck in…

    1. Ottolenghi SIMPLE by Yotam Ottolenghi

      A collection of unique and vibrant recipes from the master of flavour, Yotam Ottolenghi. The recipes are what you expect from Ottolenghi in terms of packing a punch, but with shorter ingredient lists and clever ways to cut down on time. 

      Object Story founder, Alice's pick: Pappardelle with rose harissa, black olives & capers (page 183)

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    2. One: Pot, Pan, Planet by Anna Jones

      A purely vegetarian recipe book, but one that isn't lacking because of it. Anna Jones uses her experience as a chef in professional restaurants to write recipes that are quick and concise to work through. She offers simple tricks on how to save time in the kitchen, such as boiling the kettle before you start, or keeping a bowl by your chopping board for vegetable peelings so that you're not wasting time going back and forth to the bin. The recipes are all-in-one dinners that are nutritious, easy to follow and don't waste on ingredients or washing up.

      Object Story founder, Alice's pick: Greens & kimchi fried rice (page 193)

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    3. A Cook's Book by Nigel Slater

      A book to read as well as to cook from. Nigel Slater shares the story of his life in the kitchen, from a young boy through to what he's cooking now. His recipes are never complex, instead relying on fresh and seasonal ingredients that sing on the plate. A book to delve into when you want to up your game a little with the dishes that are already part of your repertoire. 

      Object Story founder, Alice's pick: Hake with chorizo, manzanilla & judion beans (page 269)

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    4. Home Cookery Year by Claire Thomson

      A bumper of a book taking you through the seasons with year-round inspiration. Claire writes foolproof recipes that the whole family will enjoy. This kitchen bible offers the full range, from simple suppers and light lunches to celebratory feasts. 

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      Nigel Slater's cook book next to a Selwyn House oak plate

    5. Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour

      Middle Eastern cooking can sometimes feel overwhelming, requiring lots of ingredients and an array of dishes to create a meal. But Persiana is the antidote to this thinking. The dishes are accessible and easy to pull off while keeping in play that core sense of authenticity. 

      We've also spotted that Sabrina Ghayour has a new book, Persiana Everyday, coming out in August 2022 we can't wait to add it to our cookbook stack. 

      Object Story founder, Alice's pick: Chicken, preserved lemon & olive tagine (page 80)

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    6. Made in India by Meera Sodha

      A fiesta of Indian recipes collected from three generations of Meera Sodha's family. You'll find things you'd expect like delicious curries and rice plates, but among the headliners, there are plenty of dishes you won't find on the menu in your local takeaway. Gather round for original ideas that are achievable to get on the table mid-week; you'll return to them over and over. 

      Object Story founder, Alice's pick: Mum's chicken curry (page 100) with Jaipur slaw (page 182)

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    7. River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall 

      We count the best-selling sequel Much More Veg into this category, too: so it’s technically two cookbooks, and all the better for it. As you would expect from the River Cottage brand, the focus in these two gems is on seasonal ingredients with no fuss. Vegetables take centre stage, and the second in the series is entirely vegan, too. Both promise an infusion of colour and flavour, with plenty of dishes that you'll want to cook on repeat. 

      Object Story founder, Alice's pick: Hot squash foldover (page 189)

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    8. Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard

      We couldn't write this list without including a cookbook on baking. This is the ultimate baking compendium to have in your collection for truly dependable recipes. Whether baking cookies with children, flapjacks for a mid-morning snack or brownies to serve with ice-cream after supper, this book has it all. It's not just the sweet stuff either: a rifle through its moreish recipes also reveals savoury breads, pastries and more. 

      Object Story founder, Alice's pick: Cherry & polenta pudding ~ read the recipe here

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    9. Tin Can Magic by Jessica Elliott Dennison

      Simple, delicious recipes using tinned ingredients. We all have those cans hidden away in the back of the cupboard, waiting for their day to be used. This book takes familiar tinned produce, and adds in fresh ingredients, along with clever twists and tricks, to create mouthwatering meals. It's a great guide to give you ideas, and encourages you to freestyle with what you have available to you. 

      Object Story founder, Alice's pick: Carrot & toasted cumin lentil dal (page 18)

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January 01, 2023 — Anna Brech
Tags: Food & drink