5 of the best new cookbooks for summer

5 of the best new cookbooks for summer

Sea and Sunshine: Recipes from Malta, including comfort food and celebration meals.

Published July 13, 2023

3 min read

This article was produced by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

1. Malta, by Simon Bajada

£26, Hardie Grant

For those who long to be transported to the sunny Mediterranean, Simon Bajada’s latest cookbook, Malta, is just the ticket. Although raised primarily in Australia, Bajada’s Maltese background is the thread tying this cookbook together: carefully curated pictures — taken by the author, who’s also a photographer — of the country’s coast, produce, architecture and people are interspersed with dozens of recipes and fascinating insights into Malta’s politics, geography and colonial past. Strong umami flavours punctuate Malta’s culinary vernacular. Expect to see plenty of fish, such as tuna and anchovies, as well as olives, capers and kunserva — the country’s signature tomato paste. Recipes range from simple, everyday meals to celebration centrepieces. Standouts include swordfish carpaccio with crispy fried capers, timpana (rigatone, chicken livers and pork ragu, all encased in shortcrust pastry) and a fragrant bay leaf and mulberry pannacotta. And newcomers to Maltese cuisine will be glad of the Mediterranean Pantry section, outlining essential ingredients to stock up on. 

2. Plentiful, by Denai Moore

£24, Hardie Grant

Divided into fabulously titled chapters such as Sides that Have Main Event Energy and Dessert as a Lifestyle, Plentiful is a playful exploration of plant-based Caribbean cuisine. British-Jamaican Denai Moore’s recipes include plantain and lentils with hot pistachio and corn nut dressing. 

3. Pomegranates & Artichokes, by Saghar Setareh

£26, Murdoch Books

From her homeland of Iran through the Levant and over to Italy, Saghar Setareh explores how these regions are culinarily intertwined via family recipes, essays and photos. Come for the recipes — such as fried polenta bites and syrupy baked quince — but stay for Setareh’s evocative writing. 

4. Yiayia, by Anastasia Miari

£27, Hardie Grant

Inspired by her own yiayia (grandma), Miari’s book lifts the lid on Greece’s hyper-regional cuisine as she travels the country, cooking with local grans. Among the family favourites featured are karavides yiouvetsi (crayfish orzo) and kolokithopita strifti (sweet pumpkin pie). 

5. The Syrian KitchenImad, by Al Arnab

£26, HQ 

Damascus-born chef-restaurateur Imad Al Arnab arrived as a refugee in the UK in 2015, later opening his London restaurant, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen. Containing recipes adapted for the home cook, his debut recipe book showcases 120 Syrian dishes, from baba ghanoush to eawaama (doughnuts in date molasses). 

Published in Issue 20 (summer 2023) of Food by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

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