5 new cookbooks to inspire spring menus

As the weather changes, so do our palates.

It’s time to revamp your weekly menus at home and swap out heavy, creamy fare for lighter, crisp ingredients.

This doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favourite comfort foods, just transform them a little to suit the season.

These five new cookbooks make it easy:

1. Goodness: Recipes & Stories by Peter Neal and Chris Neal

You know Peter & Chris Neal as The Neal Brothers, the ones that make those highly addictive tortilla chips and salsas, popcorn, potato chips (it’s impossible not to finish the entire bag of Maple Bacon Kettle Chips), pasta sauces and salad dressings.

Their new Goodness cookbook does more than offer fabulous recipes from our own homegrown chefs, producers, farmers and entrepreneurs —50% of the profits from the sale of Goodness will be donated to Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC) to help support their good work across Canada.
And many of the recipes are ideal for spring - Quinoa Chicken Salad, Dungeness Crab Tacos, Wild Leek & Morel Quiche, and Spicy Pork Noodles, to name just a few.

2. Citrus: Sweet and Savory Sun-Kissed Recipes by Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson
Add zest and zing to your dishes with ease. Infuse your food  this spring with lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit and more. 

Lighter fare such as Szechuan Shrimp & Ruby Grapefruit Salad; Fennel, Tangerine & Olive Slaw; Panfried Scallops with Smoky Jalapeno & Tangerine Relish; Salt Crusted Cornish Hens with Lemon Butter will impress your guests.

And don’t forget the drinks – from Lime & Coconut Lassis to Havana Mojitos and Yuzu Cocktails, your spring is now complete.

3. Salad Love: 260 Crunchy, Savory, and Filling Meals You Can Make Every Day by David Bez

Salads have come a long way even in the last ten years and this book (the author insists it’s not a cookbook) is proof of how much of a satisfying, tasty meal they can be.

And in case you’re worry you’ll get tired of them, there are 260 recipes contained within these pages. Something tells me you might just get hooked.

Bez - who is not a chef, but an art director - spent three years creating a new salad every workday and posted the recipes to his blog. Then came the cookbook and now an actual restaurant in London. 

Within the pages, it’s not so much recipes as a way to assemble ingredients in an appealing and satisfying way. He shows you how to create a lunchtime salad every weekday in 20 minutes or less - versions for vegetarians as well as meat lovers are included.

And the fab dressing recipes will have you tossing the premade bottled versions forever.

4. Sirocco: Fabulous Flavours from the Middle East by Sabrina Ghayour

This spring go east.

Your pantry - and palate - is about to get a serious overhaul thanks to dishes made with harissa, saffron, pickled chilis, and garlic oil.

Start the day with Pear, Feta & Honey Toasts. Snack on Courgette (Zucchini) Fries with Sumac Salt. Tuck into a Couscous Maftoul Salad for lunch. Dine on Octopus with Maple Chili Dressing for dinner. And for dessert? A stunning Nectarine Pavlova with mint, almonds and tea syrup.

5. The Nordic Kitchen: One Year of Family Cooking by Claus Meyer

This inspiring cookbook is divided into the four seasons, making it easy to find recipes suitable for right now.

It even lays out ingredients – both cultivated produced (Jerusalem artichokes, dandelion leaves, and rhubarb for example) and wild (elderflower, nettles, sorrel, ramsons – what we call ramps) that will take you to June, before summer arrives.

The fam will be thrilled with new additions such as Asparagus & Chervil Mousseline; Chicken, Shallot & Chanterelle Salad; Salmon Gravad with Mustard Sauce; and Apple Pie with Hazelnuts & Vanilla.