Travel the world from your kitchen with these cookbooks

Ryan MacEachern/Penguin

We might not be able to indulge our wanderlust this year, but we can still travel through food.

There's no more surefire way to conjure up a place than to cook the cuisine of that city or country; the smells and tastes will transport you there straight away.

Here are six cookbooks that will spirit you away to destinations across the world. 

Head to Venice with… Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking by Russell Norman (2018)

For this book Russell Norman, founder of the Polpo restaurants, headed to Venice to immerse himself in the authentic flavours of the Veneto and the culinary traditions of the city. Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking includes 130 easy family recipes, and also gives a glimpse into the life of the city beyond the tourist hotspots.

Head to China with... Exploring China by Ken Hom and Ching-He Huang (2012)

Exploring China pairs two of the most highly respected authorities on Chinese cooking: legendary chef Ken Hom (author of the timeless collection Chinese Cookery) and energetic newcomer Ching-He Huang.

This cookbook, a companion to their BBC TV show, is a culinary and cultural odyssey through China, telling the story of the country through food.

Each recipe is accompanied with a story from the authors, helping you invoke the history and significance of the food you're going to make. 

Head to India with… Fresh India by Meera Sodha

Meera Sodha's Fresh India, a collection of meat-free recipes, combines traditional recipes with innovative dishes that use seasonal British ingredients. Dishes include mushroom and walnut samosas, oven-baked onion bhajis and sticky mango paneer skewers. You can also take a look at the recipes by category, from those suitable for first timers to 30-minute midweek meals. What's guaranteed is that whatever you choose to make, and for whatever occasion, it'll be delicious. 

Head to Jerusalem with… Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (2012)

Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi were born in the same year in the same city; Ottolenghi in the Jewish west of Jerusalem and Tamimi on the Arab east side. When they met 30 years later in London, they discovered a shared language, history and love of food.

Jerusalem is their collection of 100 recipes, from chicken with caramelised onion and cardamom rice to clementine and almond syrup cake. 

Ottolenghi and Tamimi's book showcases culinary influences from the city's Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian communities, and the long history of Jerusalem. 

Head to Cyprus with… Taverna by Georgina Hayden (2019)

Cook, food writer and stylist Georgina Hayden grew up above her grandparents' Greek Cypriot taverna in Tufnell Park in London, and developed a love of cooking from the recipes passed down to her.

Taverna takes the best of Cypriot cooking - simple salads, classic ingredients, fresh herbs - and makes it relevant and easy to recreate for home cooks. Including vegan fast-day dishes and feasts for the whole family, this book will conjure up the sun-kissed Mediterranean in your home. 

Head to Turkey, Lebanon and Morocco with… Arabesque by Claudia Roden (2005)

Food writer and cultural anthropologist Claudia Roden's A Book of Middle Eastern Cookery revolutionised British attitudes to Middle Eastern food when it was released in 1968. Since then, Roden has written a number of cookbooks about the cuisine.

In Arabesque, she returns to Turkey, Lebanon and Morocco in search of new and old recipes and to find out how cooking has evolved since her first travels there in the 1960s. With recipes that are easy to make at home, this is a tribute to the culinary histories and contemporary food of Tukery, Lebanon and Morocco.

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