Cooking is one of the things that is (almost) maintaining my sanity during the lockdown in Mallorca. Like many people, I’ve been doing more baking than usual (mainly biscuits, bread, and pizza dough) and trying out new recipes, whilst there is more time to dedicate to kitchen activity. It’s a way to fill time, as well as tummies.
Growing up, I don’t remember my mum ever showing me how to cook anything. I always feel a little envious when chef friends say their first cooking experience was with their mother or grandmother.
Once I’d left home, I started buying cookbooks. And I haven’t stopped since. Over the years, I’ve had the occasional cull: an emotionally painful but necessary space-creating action to enable me to add new books to the collection. (Though I’ll never say goodbye to any books by Delia).
Google v Cookbook
Of course, I flirt with using recipes found on the Internet; it’s usually quicker to do a Google search than scan through the indexes of cookbooks. Mainly because once I open a cookbook, I’m likely to lose myself in its pages, admiring the photography and making mental lists of ingredients to buy for future meals. Oops! Is it that time already? But my gripe is that many online recipes have not been tested for reliability. You really can’t beat a book full of properly tested recipes.
If you’re in the market for a new cookbook, may I suggest the following? Each is linked to a business in Mallorca that’s been impacted by the pandemic. I know that the chefs whose recipes grace the pages of these books would appreciate your support.
I own two of these books myself, so they come personally recommended. I pre-ordered the other at Christmas time, after interviewing the author, Justine Murphy, for my radio show ‘Table Talk’. I am 100 per cent certain that her recipes will work, having known Justine personally long enough to make that bold claim.
Modern Mediterranean: Sun-drenched recipes from Mallorca and beyond – Marc Fosh (published by Nourish Books)
Marc Fosh is still the only British chef to be at the helm of a Michelin-starred restaurant in Spain. His eponymous restaurant is in Palma and a must-visit in Mallorca’s capital for any serious foodie.
Marc’s cookbook is not just a collection of recipes, but reads like a love letter to his adopted island and to Mediterranean products. Eighteen key ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine are each given a chapter of their own, with an introductory text and recipes in which the featured ingredient plays a starring role. The photos will stimulate even the most-jaded tastebuds and are by the award-winning Mallorcan photographer Nando Esteva.
Michelin-starred he may be, but chef Marc Fosh’s book is not just for advanced cooks. Read and follow his fail-safe methodology and you can transport yourself cuisine-wise to Mallorca. Not a bad prospect for anyone in lockdown elsewhere and longing for a taste of this stunning Spanish island.
This book is also now available in German, under the title Mallorca. Both are available from Amazon. In Palma de Mallorca, you’ll be able to buy a copy at Marc’s restaurant or in the lifestyle store Rialto Living – once these businesses re-open.
Restaurante Sebastian in Deià
Visitors to the Tramuntana village of Deià have been coming to this romantic restaurant (in a former stable) for 25 years. To celebrate that 2019 milestone, owners chef Sebastian Pasch and his hospitable Irish wife Patricia Sheridan decided to create a book telling their story and that of the popular restaurant. Yes, there are recipes too: for 14 of the most-ordered dishes over the past 25 years. You’ll also be fascinated to see a copy of the menu from 1994 – with prices in pesetas.
If you’re a fan of Restaurante Sebastian (as I am), I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know this couple and their restaurant through this book’s pages. The text is in English, German, and Spanish. It’s for sale through the restaurant website here.
The mymuybueno Cookbook – Justine Murphy (Meze Publishing)
British woman Justine Murphy owns a seven-division international business, based in Mallorca (with a London office). Her eight-year-old company includes an award-winning deli, chef-and-interior-staffing agencies, cookery school, concierge and lifestyle-management service, bespoke events, and luxuryware divisions. Good food is at the heart of it all.
If that were not enough for this inspirational woman, she’s also mum to two small boys. Justine’s backstory is an extraordinary one and makes what’s she’s achieved all the more remarkable. As well as 160 of her repeatedly tested refined-sugar-free recipes, The mymuybueno Cookbook provides Justine’s valuable tips on getting through the challenges of modern life and shares her personal story, in this 12-chapter, 288-page book.
Fingers crossed my own copy will be in my postbox tomorrow. I pre-ordered it at Christmas and it’s just been published. I can’t wait to sit down and read it with a glass of Mallorcan tinto one evening. You can hear Justine Murphy talking to me on ‘Table Talk’ (edition 87) here.
You can buy a copy of The mymuybueno Cookbook from Amazon or, if you’re in Mallorca, order a copy from this website.
These three cookbooks represent just three of the successful businesses in Mallorca that are facing an uncertain future, because the island is so dependent on tourism – which is impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If, like me, you’re a cookbook collector, buying any of the above, will be a small but helpful way to show your support.
Jan Edwards ©2020