Features & Stories

Newsletter: Spicy Mexican celebrations + a podcast featuring ckbk and Felicity Cloake

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 Happy Mexican Independence Day!

September 16 marks Mexican Independence Day, an annual celebration remembering the 1810 start of Mexico’s fight for freedom from Spanish rule. It is an opportunity to honor Mexican history, culture, traditions, and food! We are delighted to have two more newly-added books on ckbk from Mexican culinary matriarch Zarela Martinez, each offering a wide selection of Mexican recipes to get your Independence Day preparations off to a delicious start.
The Food and Life of Oaxaca: Traditional Recipes from Mexico’s Heart is Martinez’s love letter to the most ecologically and culturally diverse state in Mexico. Oaxaca's cuisine is built on a rich fusion of Spanish and indigenous influences. The region's valleys offer a rich harvest of fruit and a wide variety of chiles, and the coast ensures that seafood also plays an important role. This is a book packed with glorious food.
It is also a great read, as Martinez weaves in stories about village life and culture, and about the community and religious festivals that are so important to the area. Try this chipotle-seasoned Whole Baked Fish, Estero-Style or perhaps Teotitián-Style Black Mole – one of two recipes for black mole, the state dish of Oaxaca.

Food from my Heart: Cuisines of Mexico Remembered and Reimagined is described by Martinez as ‘a memoir, a guide to Mexican culinary basics, and a personal recipe collection, all interspersed with glimpse-by-glimpse evocations of Mexican life and culture.’

Her prose in this autobiographical cookbook is a delight, and the recipes span the full range of Mexico’s culinary traditions, along with Zarela's own innovations and new directions.

Try Pork in Red Chile Sauce, or Tamales with Corn and Poblano Chiles. Martinez particularly recommends Creamy Rice Casserole with Poblano Chiles for a party – which sounds perfect for Independence Day.

If you are looking for even more Mexican recipe inspiration, look no further than our Mexican bookshelf.
Search all 460+ recipes from Zarela Martinez
Pictured above: Stuffed Jalapeño Chiles in Vinaigrette from Zarela's Veracruz: Mexico's Simplest Cuisine

The future of cookbooks, with the Culinary Now podcast

In the latest episode of the Culinary Now podcast, ckbk co-founder Matt Cockerill and food writer Felicity Cloake discuss all things cookbook-related with hosts Jaime Schick and Matt Britt, two chefs on the faculty of culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University. The conversation looks at how digital access can be a boon for lovers of print cookbooks, thanks to the complementary strengths of digital and print.

The episode also looks at the role played by cookbooks in culinary education, and as a career-long source of inspiration for professional chefs. For more information about getting full access to ckbk for your college, university, culinary school or high school, contact education@ckbk.com.


Celebrating Marlena Spieler with a spicy new addition to ckbk

Watermelon with lime, chile & saltMuch-loved culinary writer Marlena Spieler left an impressive legacy of writing, and we are very happy to have recently another of her classic titles to ckbk. In Hot & Spicy: Unusual, Innovative Recipes from the World’s Fiery Cuisines Spieler recounts how she discovered her love of spicy food over a Mexican lunch at the tender age of five — after which she did not look back.

Hugely informative about the spices that create heat, Hot & Spicy takes us on a fiery global journey. And brings us dishes ‘full of lusty flavour, some filled with warmth, others hot enough to bring tears to your eyes.’

Bring piquancy to your lunch with Marlena's Red Chilli Mayonnaise from California, or warm up a little with Tibetan Mo-Mos and Khotes (steamed meat or curried vegetable dumplings). The book includes over 200 recipes, so there are no shortage of opportunities to turn up the heat – why not spice up your life with this simple recipe for Basmati Rice with Lime, Coriander, Spring Onion and Chillies.

A festive spread for Rosh Hashanah

September 15 marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year festival. Like all Jewish feasts and celebrations, this is covered in depth in Marlena Spieler’s seminal work The Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking. For even more ideas, take a look at our Festive Spread for Rosh Hashanah – with recipes for the Perfect Challah, a vegan version of Rosh Hashanah Rugelach, Plum Streusel Slices and more.

Ingredient spotlight: Apples

The apple is not just a fruit, it is the fruit – ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ it is the symbol of the mega-city that is New York, and of the garden of Eden. Apples symbolise so much for so many of us. In Western Cultures they are often the first fruit we eat, and remain the most widely available fruit. No wonder we love them so much.

Watermelon with lime, chile & salt Apples were one of the first fruits to be cultivated, and there are between 7,000 – 8,000 varieties. Which means plenty to choose from to suit a huge variety of culinary uses – their firm texture, combined with a tart and sweet flavor, lends itself to sweet and savory dishes, to eating raw and to cooking.

Apples are a natural partner for pork, try these Pork Chops with Apples and Cream. In early cookery books 17th century Apple Tansy was a popular dish made with apples and eggs that needed to be used up, and Apple Crumble is a classic for a reason. Try these or any of the recipes in our 12 Ways with Apples collection.

6 ways to celebrate Scottish Food

Scottish Food Fortnight, which runs from September 2 – 16 in the UK, shines a spotlight on the rich food traditions from north of the border. Here are 6 of the finest, to help you see out the fortnight in style (bagpipes and kilt optional!)

Whisky Fudge

from Gary Maclean’s Scottish Kitchen

Oatmeal Porridge and Tomatin Tipsy Prunes

from A Taste of the Highlands by Ghillie Basan

Scottish Raspberry and Whisky Steamed Pudding

from Lavender & Lovage by Karen Burns-Booth


from Cookies by Le Cordon Bleu

Cranachan with Raspberries

from British Regional Food by Mark Hix

Stornaway Black Pudding Cheese Scones

from A Taste of Scotland’s Islands by Sue Lawrence
The International Association of Culinary Professionals hosts its annual summit and cookbook awards on Friday 29 September at City Tech in Brooklyn. The event includes a panel 'What Makes an Award-winning Cookbook' featuring author Toni Tipton-Martin, literary agent Sally Ekus and ckbk co-founder Matt Cockerill.
Save 25% on your ticket with code IACPxFF23
Kick-start your day and sign up to receive our Recipe of the Day email each morning.
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