So, in no particular order, here are 10 of the best.
1. The Bread & Butter Project: How to Bake Perfect Bread,
by Paul Allam and David McGuinness, with Jessica Grynberg
Signature dish: white sourdough bread
The owners of Sydney institution the Bourke Street Bakery have branched out with a social enterprise teaching asylum seekers to bake bread. This inspiring book, their second, delivers basic dough recipes but is woven with migrants’ stories and recipes.
Pan Macmillan, $35
2. Whole Hearted Food, by Brenda Fawdon
Signature dish: Crunchy potato squares
There was almost a riot when the owners of Brisbane’s Mondo organics restaurant threatened to retire their crunchy potato squares from the menu. This useful and practical guide to cooking sustainably offers twists on standard recipes and manages to be mouthwatering, healthy and right-on.
University Queensland Press, $39.95
3. The Blue Ducks: Delicious Food, the Importance of Community and the Joy of Surfing,
by Mark Labrooy and Darren Robertson, with Hannah Reid
Signature dish: barbecued calamari with tomato and olive salsa
From a restaurant that has wowed the critics with chef hats and awards comes this part memoir, part practical guide to cooking fresh produce, simply. A hugely popular book with uncomplicated recipes and big flavours.
4. Almond Bar: 100 Delicious Syrian Recipes, by Sharaon Salloum
Signature dish: almond crusted scallops
Another Sydney restaurant cookbook but this one’s unique in being Australia’s first tome dedicated to Syrian cuisine. Expect recipes for a selection of small, delicately flavoured spicy dishes that you’ll actually be able to cook yourself.
5. Love Italy, by Guy Grossi
Signature dish: pumpkin tortellini with burnt butter and balsamic
A big book from a big name chef. Grossi travelled Italy to collect 150 authentic Italian recipes, documenting the people, the food and the artisans along the way. With beautiful photographs by Mark Chew.
6. Historic Heston Blumenthal, by Heston Blumenthal
Signature dish: meat fruit
Cookbook, trip through history or chemistry lesson? Blumenthal combines them all, setting out traditional foods from the 1390s to the 1890s and how you might cook them today. It’s also magnificently produced – hardcover with decorated endpapers, silk ribbons and a cloth-covered slipcase.
7. Colour of Moroc : A Celebration Of Food & Life, by Rob and Sophia Palmer
Signature dish: lamb shank and prune pie
A wonderful blend of recipes and cultural insights from an Australian photographer and his Moroccan wife. You’ll learn not just how to make lamb shank and prune pie but how Moroccans slaughter their beasts as well.
Murdoch Books, $59.99
8. Recipes For A Good Time, by Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate
Signature dish: homemade Porteno chorizo
Argentinean barbecue, anyone? The tattooed, cool-looking rockabilly chefs from ‘it’ Sydney restaurants Porteno and Bodega bring you a fun book (their first) full of big flavours and a LOT of meat – slabs of it, in fact, mostly cooked on coals in abandoned warehouses.
Murdoch Books, $59.99
9. The Agrarian Kitchen, by Rodney Dunn
Signature dish: slow-cooked duck with beetroot and mustard leaves
A collection of recipes and stories documenting this former editor of Gourmet Traveller Australia’s journey from Sydney to Tasmania, where he and his wife transformed a 19th century schoolhouse into a cooking school on a sustainable farm. With great photographs by Luke Burgess.
10. Gelato Messina: The Recipes, by Nick Palumbo
Signature dish: poached figs in Marsala gelato
Someone had to do it. Gelati is so hot right now and among the hippest purveyors is Gelato Messina. In this book the Sydney gelateria (recently expanded to Melbourne) blends interesting facts – such as how to make the basic foundation flavours – with fun, funky and colourful design.
Hardie Grant, $39.95
• David Gaunt, Gleebooks, 49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW, phone (02) 9660 2333
• Fiona Stager, Avid Reader, 193 Boundary Street, West End, Queensland, phone (07) 3846 3422
• Jason Lake, Imprints Booksellers, 107 Hindley Street, Adelaide, SA, phone (08) 8231 4454
• Matthew Marino, New Edition, 82 High Street, Fremantle, WA, phone (08) 9335 2383
• Mary Dalmau, Reader’s Feast Bookstore, 162 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC, phone (03) 9662 4699