Cookbooks I use

In an attempt to improve my cooking and to eat a little healthier I invested in a few cookbooks. I have never been a good cook. I mean I can technically cook. I can make a steak anyway you like, I no longer burn sausages and my pizza (homemade dough included) is delicious. But when it comes to seasoning and taking the flavour to another level I’m at a loss. To avoid the usual ‘meat and two veg’ scenario every evening for dinner I did a little research and decided to try some books.
‘Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals’

This is a brilliant cookbook for mid-week dinners. The dinners don’t take 15 minutes, on average it’s more like 30 minutes but to be honest I don’t think that is too unacceptable. If you watch the TV programs he filmed to go alongside this book then he does explain that there are ‘tricks of the trade’ to make your cooking quicker, such as wear an apron and hang a tea towel on the ribbon of it. You are supposed to have the kettle pre boiled and all ingredients and pots and pans out before you start your 15 minute timer. Its a small niggle but I do consider that sort of thing as part of the cooking time and process. That aside the food is delicious. The recipes are easy to follow, easier that his 30 minute meals in my opinion, and many of the recipes have similar ingredients in them which makes the shopping much easier to do. As a plus each recipe has a calorie count per portion so if you are counting…. super handy.
‘Thugs Kitchen’

I stumbled across this one as I was doing my Amazon order and I am so glad I did. At the time I had no idea it was vegan and I probably wouldn’t have ordered it if I had. Initially it appealed because it’s written with a certain amount of sarcastic humour. I knew that if I gave Hubby a cookbook with swear words in he would take an interest and chose some meals that he liked the look of. It’s an american book so I find it hard to get some of the ingredients and have to improvise, this isn’t to much of a big deal. Also everything is measured in ‘cups’ since I am a solid ‘grams’ girl I find this confusing but I have an app on my phone that I use to convert. I also have a jug that I use for baking that has ‘cups’ marked on it. I haven’t done any of the breakfasts from this yet but all of the Main Meals and ‘Short Order Shit’ as they put it are delicious, so full of flavour. All of the dishes feel so complete that you wouldn’t notice there was no meat in them. Hubby and I are huge meat eaters so this is quite the revelation for us! My energy levels are at their highest the next day if I have eaten something from this book. This is my favourite cookbook by far. And it’s vegan…. who would have thought!
‘Deliciously Ella’

This is a lovely, bright and easy to follow cookbook. Vegan again, what is going on with me. This really kickstarted my breakfasts which I would normally skip. I know, I know… the worst thing you could do. But before this book I really struggled with improving things. Now I can make breakfast bars, little muffins and mix a really good smoothie bowl. I have never been a massive fan of milk that doesn’t come from a cow. Lets be honest, you cant milk an almond…. However rolled oat porridge made with almond milk is surprisingly yummy. Add a little maple syrup and banana and I’m a happy bunny. The dinners are very filling and although they lack a little flavour for my liking that is easily fixed with some extra herbs and spices. Of course this is simply personal taste.
‘Hemsley and Hemsley’

I am a sucker for marketing and I bought this book after watching an episode of their TV show to go with it. The food on the program looked good and I decided I would give them a go. In their introduction they discuss their ‘ethos’ around the diet they have developed, I haven’t read this (I’m too lazy) but it is there is you are interested. The recipes are varied and balanced and as with Deliciously Ella some of the breakfasts are really delicious. The dinners are easy to make but most of the ones I have tried do take about an hour. This isn’t all bad as most of them are ‘stew’ type recipes so once I have got it simmering I can stand back and enjoy a glass of wine. I haven’t made anything from this book for a little while as I feel like some of the dinners are more appropriate for winter and as we are having unexpectedly nice weather for England then the curries and stews will have to wait for a chillier climate.

As a keen baker I do not tend to make any of the desserts from these sorts of cookbooks. Dessert is meant to be indulgent and a treat so the idea of healthier alternatives doesn’t appeal to me at the moment. That may change with time….. but it is unlikely.

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