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Feed Your Soul With These Delicious Comfort Food Recipe Books

These food books are all about comforting food that is made to bring people together over a delicious homemade meal

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By House & Garden South Africa | September 26, 2023 | Shopping

These are food books to adorn your kitchen shelves and excite your palate with flavours from around the world.

Chetna’s Indian Feasts

Author Chetna Makan mentions, ‘If you look up the word “feast” in the dictionary, you’ll find it has a few definitions. A feast is a large meal, typically a celebratory one, for an annual religious celebration, for instance. Also, an elaborate and usually abundant meal, often accompanied by a ceremony or entertainment, can be called a feast. There are other ways to define the word, but for me, it conjures feelings of joy and thoughts of cooking with love for my family and friends to mark any significant occasion or gathering.

Chetna’s Indian Feasts by Chetna Makan is full of flavourful and vibrant heritage dishes. Image: supplied

I find so much joy in planning what to make, in cooking the elaborate meals and in watching everyone savour the food together. Devouring a delicious feast is a marvellous way for people to enjoy one another’s company, to enjoy life together. My aim for this book is to pass some of this joy from my kitchen into yours. This book contains a large proportion of vegetarian recipes, although there are some very tasty chicken and fish dishes included too. My hope for these recipes is that they will become part of the feasts you share in your own home, and contribute to the joy you experience with your family and friends as you gather together to celebrate good food and life.’

A delectable feast of papdi chaat, smashed alu tiki, dahi puriand spinach leaf pakora. Image: supplied

The North African Cookbook

After 20 years of extensive research, The North African Cookbook encompasses recipes from the Maghreb region – across Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. Featuring sweet-and-savoury combinations, colourful spices and the classic tagine with layered and complex flavours, Morocco boasts unique ingredients to amplify flavour.

The North African Cookbook by Jeff Koehler. Image: supplied

Algerian cuisine is an eclectic melange of aromas, blending in a variety of influence, while Tunisia is the most Mediterranean country in Africa, opening the melting pot to pastas, lemon, garlic and of course the distinct harissa chilli paste we all know and love. Libya has a strong focus on tea and coffee, and also cooking an array of seafoods and lamb using beautiful spices to enhance the flavour profiles of these proteins. From exploring the culinary diversity of the Maghreb, this book draws on Berber, Arabic and Ottoman influences, as well as French, Spanish and Italian regions to collate a multitude of recipes and give you a cohesive guide to cooking, the North African way.

This dish features white beans and lamb for a warm and comforting moment at home. Image: supplied

Author Jeff Koehler travelled across the continent, staying in small guesthouses like Auberge Dardara in Morocco’s Rif Mountains and Irocha in the High Atlas. It was here, Jeff learnt from well known culinary figures like Chef Mounir Arem – owner of the Tunis restaurant Le Baroque and president of the Academie Nationale de Cuisine – and Warda Bouguettaya, the Algerian owner of Warda Patisserie who won the 2022 James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef.

Bao Family: recipes from the eight culinary regions of China

Author Celine Chung celebrates her Chinese heritage in this wonderful explosion of flavour, cooking methods and the experience of a cuisine she ventured through from a young age. ‘Chinese cuisines are complex, flavourful, full of textures, sweet, salty, sour and spicy; so delicious, yet so little known. Certain produce is favoured depending on the season, and Chinese medicine traditions are respected. Food holds a key place because it defines the rhythm of the day.

Bao Family by Celine Chung and her Team. Image: supplied

Growing up, I realised that meals are everything in a Chinese family, the ultimate proof of love. Meals represent a time when we care for others, show them our love – time for sharing, exchanging ideas, having great conversations and making decisions. Cooking in China means more than just eating, it’s a way of life! When I returned from Shanghai, my only desire was to rediscover the cuisine I had tasted there, in a place where I could spend special moments with my loved ones. My restaurant would serve authentic traditional Chinese cuisine with classic dishes, from French-sourced products as much as possible, in a modern setting with design inspired by Paris and Shanghai.

I wanted to open restaurants because I wanted to bring happiness to as many people as possible. Our days can sometimes be difficult, but when you eat something good, it puts a smile on your face and brings us back to what matters most: enjoying yourself, sharing time with your loved ones, awakening your senses and travelling.

Red bean bao uses traditional red bean paste, which is mostly very sweet with lemon and spices added. Image: supplied

Chinese cuisine is a sharing cuisine, so Bao Family is a sharing project. We share everything we love to make you happy and transport you to China in our restaurants. And now you can travel in your own home too! These recipes have been created and adapted by our chefs so that you can explore China, from breakfast to dinner. The real way to the heart is through the stomach!’