If there is something positive to be said so far for 2020, for me at least, it has been a year of home cooking.
Gone are the urges to just order in after a long day of work and commuting, now instead replaced with one-pot meals that I have cooking all day, as I work away in the next room.
Like clockwork each payday, I have been treating myself to a new cookbook, each of which offer a wealth of new dishes to try my hand at in my tiny kitchen. Naturally, there have been some mixed results, but one constant has been how much I have enjoyed trying a world of new dishes.
Here is a round-up of new cookbooks released so far in 2020...
1. 'Table Manners: The Cookbook'
Released: March 3
If you're a podcast fan, it's likely that you'll be familiar with Table Manners, a podcast by mother-daughter duo Jessie and Lennie Ware. The show sees weekly guests join the pair at their home, where they cook for them and talk about eating and food memories.
A few of their family recipes emerged as real favourites among guests, which led to them collaborating to pen a book of their best recipes.
It will make you nostalgic for cooking with your mum – which really is something when a cookbook has the power to make you well up. It has anecdotes and family photos peppered between the recipes, and highlights include the Marbella chicken – if you listen to the podcast, you'll know – as well as the lemon ice cream and hearty summer salads.
I should also probably disclose that at the time of writing, I have (kind of) got three copies of this book in my possession. One that I bought myself (and have since given as a gift to my mum), one that my friend bought me for my birthday (that I plan to keep) and one that I bought for another friend, for her birthday, only to find out she already owns a copy. That one still needs a home.
Released: March 26
Palestinian chef Sami Tamimi released Falastin earlier this year, his first solo recipe cookbook as a "love letter" to his homeland.
The long-time business partner of Yotam Ottolenghi has teamed up with Tara Wigley for the project, compiling a comprehensive collection of 122 recipes.
In April this year, Tamimi shared the recipes for his aubergine, chickpea and tomato bake (musaqa'a), chicken musakhan, and sweet tahini rolls (kubez el tahineh), with The National. You can find them here.
3. 'Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen'
Released: February 11
Alexander Smalls has married music and food in his latest release, Meals, Music, and Muses: Recipes from My African American Kitchen, with personal anecdotes included throughout. Each chapter is named after a type of music the best reflects the recipes, taking readers on a journey around the American South. Dishes include the Carolina Bourbon Barbecue Shrimp and Okra Skewers and Prime Rib Roast with Crawfish Onion Gravy.
4. 'Vegetable Kingdom: The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes'
Released: February 11
An almost encyclopaedic guide to vegetables and vegan cooking, Bryant Terry takes the reader through ingredient-specific recipes, with individual sections on seeds, beans, fennel, asparagus, cauliflower and much more. In all, the book contains more than 100 vegan recipes.
Don't expect meat substitutes, this cookbook gets the reader to cook well, with vegetables as the stars of the show.
Highlights include, caramelised leek and seared mushroom toast, Panko-crusted cauliflower and coconut curry, spinach salad with blackened chickpeas.
The book also offers a playlist, with songs specially selected as a soundtrack for each recipe. And Terry has also compiled an essential list of cupboard recipes, for readers to rely upon, including stocks, sauces and oils.
5. 'Open Kitchen: Inspired Food for Casual Gatherings'
Released: March 3
You may well have started having people over again, and if you are, Susan Spungen's book is the ideal guide to impressing your guests with good food at home.
You will find recipes to try on special occasions, and others that are perfect for relaxed nights in with friends and family – the key theme is that they're all incredibly comforting, wholesome dishes.
Expect to be sharing a few of her recipes, with starters such as burrata with pickled cherries, mains including the rosy harissa chicken and desserts such as roasted strawberry-basil sherbet. The dishes are seasonal and ingredient focused.
It is also helpfully offers hosting tips and ways to get ahead in the kitchen, so there is no wild rush when your guests arrive. Getting ahead is the philosophy of the book.
6. 'Grow Food For Free: The Sustainable, Zero-Cost, Low-Effort Way to A Bountiful Harvest'
Released: March 3
The title of this book gives away much of why this is the perfect recipe book for the now.
A guide to self-sufficiency, learn how to grow all the fruit and vegetables you can in as low cost a way as possible. The book takes into account that we don't all have spacious gardens, with tips for pallet planting or using public vegetable plots, which the UAE have on offer.
The book was born from Huw Richards's personal challenge, to be self-sufficient by growing his own fruits and vegetables for free for a year, which he succeeded in doing.
Don't assume that the mission to start planting starts with an expensive trip to the garden centre, Richards has more low-cost tips, encouraging readers to look in the fridge and kitchen cupboards for food that can be planted – you'll never throw away a pepper seed again.
7. 'My Korea: Traditional Flavors, Modern Recipes'
Released: April 7
Like its pop culture, Korean food is undeniably popular. Here, Michelin-starred chef Hooni Kim aims to introduce novices to the cuisine to the "Korean culinary trinity: gochujang, doenjang and ganjang (Korean chili pepper paste, fermented soybean paste and soy sauce)." Kim advises readers that "these key ingredients add a savoury depth and flavour to the entire spectrum of Korean cuisine".
The book offers everything from simple rice cakes drenched in a spicy sauce to a 12-Hour Korean Ramyeon (ramen).
8. 'Fakeaway: Healthy Home-cooked Takeaway Meals'
Released: January 23
When Chris Bavin released Fakeaway in early 2020, little did he know that we were going into a year of self-reliance and austerity, making the guide all that more significant.
With his guidance, you'll be whipping up low-calorie, low-cost versions of all your takeout favourites; think curries, stir-fries, pasta dishes, pizzas and fish and chips, with plenty of vegan, vegetarian, dairy and gluten-free options included.
Recipe highlights include chicken chow mein, calzone pizza and Thai noodle soup. Even if, just once a week, it encourages you to close the delivery apps and try something new in the kitchen, it's worth a buy.