Toscanini is an institution in Amsterdam. For those of you who may not know it, it's one of the best Italian restaurants in the city.

Bernadette and chef/owner Leonardo Pacenti go back a number of years. At one stage, Bernadette made the desserts for the restaurant for a couple of years.

Leonardo has teamed up with Maud Moody and Nina Bogaerts to bring 'De Bijbel van de Italiaanse Keuken' or The Italian Kitchen Bible to life.

This comprehensive book covers every aspect of the Italian kitchen, the equipment you need, basic ingredients and the essential recipes that everyone who has an interest in Italian cuisine should know.

Go get yourself a copy while sipping on an espresso and getting some food to go from their new location, Magnani, just a few doors down from the main restaurant.

Cookbook Bouillon

We've known Jean Beddington, the author of 'Bouillon' for many years.

She was and is a pioneer chef. From the early days how she introduced Japanese flavours and techniques to Dutch pallets, she continued to push the boundaries in her famous restaurant, Beddington's.

Although not cooking in a restaurant kitchen these days, Jean still remains as active as ever. Her latest cookbook is called 'Bouillon'. Stocks, as they are taught in chef's school, are the fundamental building blocks in cooking. This book gives readers the know how to getting the best stock you possibly can. Taking you through the sourcing of the ingredients to the cooking techniques and timing to achieve perfection.

The book then follows with an array of tempting and delicious recipes all featuring stock as there base.

The book is currently only available in Dutch, but we hope that an English version will follow soon.

De Eetbare Stad

'De Eetbare Stad' or Edible City is a book packed with gems what can be foraged in and around Amsterdam.

Filled with interesting and unusual ingredients, this book, divided into the seasons, supplies background information on the ingredients and includes a recipe with each. The perfect hand guide to the secret treasures hiding around the city of Amsterdam.

On a side note, the photos in this book have been taken by photographer Hay Hermans, who also produces beautiful food and ingredient photos which we stock in our store.

Prawns with Sumac and Grilled Fennel - Persiana

Persiana has taken the culinary world by storm. Sabrina Ghayour grew up in an Iranian family and was brought up on Persian food. Through hosting supper clubs, at which she served her style of Middle Eastern cuisine, her first cookbook was born.

We absolutely adore this type of food. It's about bringing people together over large plates, helping themselves and interacting with others. The recipes make use of easily available ingredients but combining them in amway to achieve authentic flavours.

We cooked her recipe for Prawns with Sumac, Coriander, Lemon and Garlic. An absolute winner of a dish. We made a couple of adjustments - you'll find our feedback under the original recipe.

Prawns with Sumac, Coriander, Lemon and Garlic

Serves 4

6 tablespoons olive oil
grated rind of 2 lemons and juice of 1/2
2 tablespoons sumac
5 large garlic cloves, bashed, peeled and thinly sliced
1 x 20 g packet coriander, stalks and leaves finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
800 g large raw peeled tiger prawns

Select a wide, shallow vessel in which to make your marinade. Put in the olive oil, then add the lemon rind, sumac, garlic and coriander. Season well with a generous amount of sea salt and black pepper, add lemon juice and mix the ingredients together well.

Place the prawns in the marinade and mix well to ensure they are evenly coated, then cover the dish with clingfilm and marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator if you can. Of course you can cook the prawns immediately, but a little marinating time will allow the flavours to permeate the prawns. As the marinade contains acid (lemon juice), I would not recommend marinating the prawns for longer than a few hours, as it may partially cook them (although they will be perfectly safe to eat).

Preheat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, shake off the excess marinade from each prawn and place it straight into the frying pan. Cook the prawns for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn pink and serve immediately.

Chefs notes: we adjusted the recipe a little to suit our tastes. We used 3 instead of 5 cloves of garlic, chopping them finely. We brought the amount of sumac back to a heaped teaspoon instead of 2 tablespoons and we served our prawns with grilled fennel, so that we had a vegetables accompaniment. 

Publisher: Good Cook Publishing

Author: Sabrina Ghayour

Price: 24,95 euro

Vegalicious (Vegetarian)

We are all guilty of going to the supermarket or market, seeing an array of vegetables and never quite knowing what we should do with all the produce on offer. This vegetarian cookbook is just the answer.

The recipes are straight forward with easily obtainable ingredients. The photos are enticing, urging you to have a go and cook the recipes for yourself.

We decided to have a go at one of the recipes and chose the Rigatoni with Chilli and Walnuts. Quick and easy to make, it was on the table in 15 minutes. It was delicious and surprising how much flavour can come from such simple ingredients. A few points from our side about the recipe - we halved the number of walnuts, increased the garlic and served it with a green salad, which we felt was a much needed addition. Our changes are reflected in the recipe below.

Rigatoni with Chilli and Walnuts

Serves 4

150 g walnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 generous tablespoons mascarpone
2 generous tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
350 g rigatoni (or any other short, tube-shaped pasta)
salt and pepper

Roast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until golden brown and smelling nice and toasty. Place them on a chopping board once they've cooled down, roughly chop (so that there are large and small pieces).

Place the olive oil in a cold pan with the garlic and chilli and heat for 1-2 minutes over a low heat (the garlic shouldn't colour). Add the thyme leaves. Remove from the heat and stir through the mascarpone, Parmesan, salt, pepper and all but 2 tablespoons of the walnuts.

Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water according to the package instructions. Drain off, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pan with the reserved cooking liquid and the walnut sauce and mix together well. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped walnuts and serve with a green salad.

Publisher: Terra

Author: Alice Hart

Price: 15,00 euro

Plenty More - Yotam Ottolenghi

As most of you know by now, we are HUGE Ottolenghi fans. We love his creative use of simple ingredients, especially vegetables and is combinations of Middle Eastern spices.

Plenty More has been out for a while now. It's the sequel to Ottolenghi's immensely popular Plenty. The book has been categorised into cooking methods, again with the most tantalising and beautifully photographed recipes.

The best way to review a book, in our opinion, is to cook out of it. And that's just what we did! We made the Fig Salad for lunch and it was just delicious. Here is the recipe:

Yotam Ottolenghi's Fig Salad

2 small red onions (200g in total)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
50g hazelnuts, skin on
60g radicchio leaves, roughly torn
40g basil
6 large ripe figs (300g in total)
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220 C.

Peel and halve the onions, lengthways and cut each half into 3cm-wide wedges. Mix together with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt and some black pepper and spread out on a baking tray. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking, until the onions are soft and golden and turning crispy in parts. Remove and set aside to cool before pulling the onions apart with your hands into bite-sized chunks.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160 C. Scatter the hazelnuts on a small roasting tray and toast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, roughly crush with the flat side of a large knife.

Assemble the salad on four individual plates. Mix the three leaves together and place a few on the bottom of each plate. Cut the figs lengthways into four or six pieces. Place a dew fig pieces and some roasted onion on the leaves. Top with more leaves and continue with the remaining fig and onion. You want to build up the salad into a small pyramid.

In a small cup, whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar and cinnamon with a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Drizzle this over the salad, finish with the hazelnuts and serve.

Chefs Notes
We loved the salad, fresh, sweet and full of flavour. We think it can do with a little mor roasted onion, but that's a personal preference.

Publisher: Fontaine Uitgevers

Author: Yotam Ottolenghi

Price: 29,95 euro


Reizende Sterren

Street food is becoming ever more popular and more accessible. Reizende Sterren (Rising Stars) is a book documenting the growing number of mobile kitchens and food trucks in the Netherlands.

The chapters begin by telling the story behind each of the talented and passionate entrepreneurs; their reasons for choosing to do what they have.

Each featured kitchen has supllied a recipe for their signature dish, so you cooking some delicious street food at home.

Think, slow-cooked pork belly with cauliflower cream,puffed quinoa and mustard oil from Smokey Goodness or The Thriller Burger from the Thrill Grill.

This book is ideal for those who love fast food with a twist!


Publisher: Uitgeverij Komma

Author: Monica Abdoel

Price: 29,95 euro



The Mighty Spice Cookbook

Spice up your life with The Mighty Spice Cookbook. 

In this book, John Gregory-Smith has travelled through Asia and North Africa to bring us delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes.

John Gregory-Smith loves spices so much that a few years ago decided to establish his own business, The Mighty Spice Company. His aim is to show everyone how easy it is to cook with spices and above all, how delicious they are.

The use of spices requires a delicate touch, as they can so often over-power a dish or shift it's balance. The recipes in this book contain no more than 5 different spices each.

The book is divided into chapters covering soups & salads, meat, fish, through to desserts. Heat and spice levels are also indicated. The recipes are clear and concise and we like the addition of side dishes from the book to combine with each recipe. At the back of the book there is also a detailed overview of all spices.

Publisher: Veltman Uitgevers

Author: John Gregory-Smith

Price: 19,99 euro


We Love Beef

We Love Beef shows how versatile beef is and how we should be using all of it from nose to tail.

In this book, two of Hollands most well known chefs, Alain Caron, known to most as a judge on the Dutch Masterchef and Richard van Oostenbrugge, excutive chef at restaurant Bord'eau at Amsterdam's De L'Europe Hotel have travelled to England to discover beef of superb quality and what can be done with it.

Each chapter in the book covers different sections of beef, for example the forequarter, hindquarter and offal. Why it's so useful is that special attention needs to be paid to the specific cuts when it comes to the cooking methods applied.

A brilliant addition to the book is the beef A-Z, with detailed information on the different cuts, their uses and cooking methods to achieve the best results.

Each chef has filled the book with personal recipes in each chapter.  There is a wonderful range of home-style and restaurant-style recipes.

A great book which will introduce readers and cooks to new ways with beef.

Publisher: Carrera Culinair

Authors: Alain Caron & Richard van Oostenbrugge

Price: 25,00 euro

"Groente bijbel" - Vegetable Bible

Covering more than 65 types of vegetables with 850 recipes and an endless list of variations thereon with matching serving suggestions, Groente Bijbel has become the standard on vegetable cookbooks.

Mari Maris decided to hang up her chef's jacket after twenty years of cooking and started growing her own vegetables. Groente Bijbel is the culmination of that. It is not a vegetarian cookbook, but rather a book consisting of recipes without the use of fish and meat, including Mari's own experiences as a chef and vegetable grower.

Every vegetable is given its own chapter, describing in detail how they are best prepared and used including some interesting facts and their seasonality.

Publisher: Carrera Culinair

Author: Mari Maris

Price: 29,90 euro