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Our relationship with cooking during lockdown has been love-hate. 

We’ve loved that we’ve had more time to dedicate to cooking, experimenting with new recipes, but some nights we just want something simple, and easy 30 minutes from fridge to plate-type meal.

As the weeks have worn on, however, there have been some cookbooks that have turned into staples – the ones we turn to again and again, most of the corners folded, marking the recipes we want to try or have loved.

So we’ve asked the team to divulge their go-to cookbooks, from a Jamie Oliver classic to a baking compendium – read on to see our picks. 


The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf

Having more time at home means more time for baking, and not the banana bread-kind . It’s been so fun to explore an old favourite and bake in a way I could never justify during normal life, from the easiest brownie recipe ever, to super-sweet cupcakes and the mammoth red velvet cake recipe which I made last weekend over a few hours – no mean feat when you don’t have a stand mixer. Homemade cake is one of those things that everyone appreciates and it’s nice to fill my house with delicious baking smells, too. Amelia Heathman, Senior Tech Writer

The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook | £13.38 | Buy it here

Simple by Diana Henry

With everything from easy-peasy laidback breakfasts to desserts that beg you to take a second helping, Simple has truly come into its own in recent weeks. As the title suggests, Diana Henry’s recipes are stress-free to put together – but a cut above what I’d usually cook on a weeknight/Saturday morning/as a totally unnecessary midnight snack. Crucially, there’s no need for cupboards full of hard-to-get spices and Diana definitely wouldn’t judge you for occasionally missing things out or making dubious substitutes (I’ve thought about this a lot). The parmesan roast chicken with cauliflower and thyme is divine. Cheese, potatoes and a bit more cheese because why not? You should probably eat this with some green vegetables but I have no interest in doing so. – Rachel McGrath, Digital Showbiz Editor

Simple | £18.31 | Buy it here

Round to Ours by Laura Jackson & Alice Levine

The title is a sad reminder that no one has, in fact, been round to mine for such a long time. Nevertheless, the contents more than make up for the mocking name. As much interior and tablescape inspo (tips on where to buy great plates and glassware as well as advice on how to make a ‘grammable place setting – it’s all about dried flowers, people), as it is crammed with easy yet impressive recipes. I’ve been living off Jackon & Levine’s kale chana with burnt garlic recipe as a great way to use up leftover spinach, kale and chickpeas. And while I’ve not bothered with sourdough or banana bread during lockdown, instead it’s been the salted caramel brownies on page 229 that have kept me going. I’m looking forward to making a batch for someone other than myself very soon. – Suzannah Ramsdale, Digital Head of Lifestyle

Round to Ours | £25 | Buy it here

Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour

This cookbook is superb. It’s filled with lots of lovely home-cooked recipes from Iran and the Middle East. I made the lamb and sour cherry meatballs the other day and it was the best thing I’ve eaten during lockdown. Jochan Embley, GO London Writer

Persiana | £20.18 |  Buy it here

The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth by Roy Andries de Groot

I’ve been enjoying discovering new recipes in lockdown but, if I’m completely honest, I’ve mostly sourced these from the internet. That’s not to say I haven’t been reading cookbooks, though. I’ve been loving dipping into The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth. Written in the Seventies by New York journalist Roy Andries de Groot, it describes his visits to said guesthouse, run by two French women, whose dedication to food and wine runs to serving twice daily six-course feasts – accompanied by local wines, aperitifs and digestifs – described in loving detail by the author. Some of my favourite recipes are the cocktails, in particular the “Entente Cordiale”, a variation on the Americano mixing equal parts French vermouth and Campari in an ice cold glass with a twist of lemon rind and a dash of soda. It’s not as good as being on holiday in France but it’s the closest I’ll get for a while.Prudence Ivey, Deputy Website Editor, Homes & Property

The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth | £10.95 |  Buy it here

Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living by Dr. Thomas Yarema M.D., Daniel Rhoda and Chef Johnny Brannigan 

Now that I have more time on my hands to make proper meals, I’ve really been re-thinking what kind of eating patterns work best for me. This book is great because it takes a tailored approach to diet and nutrition using holistic principles that date back at least 5000 years. My favourite recipe is the braised chicken with cilantro sauce. Natasha Mwansa, Features Social Media Producer

Eat-Taste-Heal | £24.11 | Buy it here

Deliciously Ella: The Plant-Based Cookbook by Ella Mills

I’ve always found hovering over a huge pan of veggies to be weirdly therapeutic, and never more so than during lockdown. Deliciously Ella’s books are my default for easy stews and curries – I always make her sweet potato and courgette stew, which appears in The Plant-Based Cookbook, for friends, so it’s felt quite comforting to revisit this recipe in quarantine. Thanks to veg boxes and their unpredictable contents, though, I’ve also ventured into previously uncharted territory – a rogue butternut squash meant I found a new favourite in her Sri Lankan curry. – Katie Rosseinsky, Deputy Digital Showbiz Editor

Deliciously Ella: The Plant-Based Cookbook | £16.58 | Buy it here

The Green Roasting Tin: Vegan and Vegetarian One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer

Rukmini Iyer’s roasting tin series is ideal for any time poor Londoner, and has been just as handy during lockdown for when we want an easy, no-fuss meal. This vegetarian version is filled with hearty dishes, and a favourite of our household has been the crispy gnocchi with mushrooms, squash and sage. We’ve simplified it even further to have just four ingredients: gnocchi, butternut squash, chestnut mushrooms and pesto. Whack the former three in the oven for 35 minutes and combine with pesto and you’ll have an instant crowd-pleaser. Laura Hampson, Digital Lifestyle Writer

The Green Roasting Tin | £7  | Buy it here

Week Light by Donna Hay

If you’re looking for quick but not boring healthy weeknight dinners for two, this book from Australian cook Donna Hay is a godsend. Very much veg-centric, with a few meat and fish dishes sprinkled throughout, Hay avoids the temptation to overcomplicate and use 30,000 odd ingredients as so many of her healthy counterparts do. The bible of deliciousness is split into really useful sections: in the first Hay reworks comfort food classics, like macaroni cheese, tacos and spaghetti bolognaise, with a lower calorie spin, while the middle section is devoted to yummy salads and bowl ideas, perfect for getting creative with a WFH lunch. My favourite is the last section, where she gives simple recipes for fresh and zingy dressings you can bang in the nutribullet, and ideas for homemade teas and pickling veg, for those days when you’ve got way too much time on your hands. Chloe Street, Digital Fashion & Beauty Editor

Week Light | £15.40 | Buy it here

5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food by Jamie Oliver

As someone who lived off tins of macaroni cheese at university, I consider myself to be somewhat of a novice to cooking, so my boyfriend’s copy of Jamie Oliver’s Five Ingredients – Quick and Easy Food has been a bit of a godsend. It almost didn’t matter that the supermarkets were practically bare; the book had plenty of delicious recipes that you can make with only five ingredients – many of which you could still find on the shelves. The garlic and mushroom pasta has become a particular household favourite – tasty, filling, and putting my previous crimes against pasta to shame. Kimberley Bond, Digital Showbiz Reporter

5 Ingredients: Quick & Easy Food | £13  | Buy it here

10 cookbooks the ES team has been using religiously during lockdown
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