cook book review

Book Review – New Pizza: A whole new era for the world’s favourite food by Stefano Manfredi.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Murdoch Books for providing me with a free paper copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Oh look, me reviewing another cook book – surprise! What can I say, I have a bit of a cook book habit and always feel I have room for just one more… or maybe it’s if I own enough of them I can justify getting a bigger house? 😉

But, enough silliness and down to business. I found this book very interesting as it wasn’t just a cook book about pizza. It was almost a love story retelling the history of pizza and the best ingredients to do this dish justice… and then introducing the characters (the different chefs) and allowing them to retell the story with their own take on pizza today. We then got into some of Mr Manfredi’s recipes too.

Yes, okay, I can be a little too arty farty at times but hey, I feel the description is apt due to the stories that come with each of the initial recipes and sometimes each ingredient. This isn’t just a cook book, it’s a book of passion shared… and that passion just happens to be about how to cook a great pizza!

But if all you want is just a good cook book and advice on how to perfect your pizza making skills, don’t be put off by my above description! As ‘New Pizza’ does this too! There are very in depth, detailed sections on different doughs and how to make them, how to shape the doughs, etc.

And I must emphasise the ‘in depth’ as making the perfect dough in ‘New Pizza’ takes on a scientific element of equations and measurements that I initially found quite daunting – and I’ve been cooking for decades! But I then looked at it from a different angle and decided it just added to the desire of Mr Manfredi to share his passion for the perfect pizza. He could have kept his perfect dough equations to himself, but instead he is teaching them to the reader so that they too can experience pizza at its best. True gentlemen and true artist!

Then we go into the specifics of pizza itself – it’s not all just round, flat tomato and cheese! There are the Pizza Rosa – red pizza (tomato base), Pizza Bianca – white pizza (olive oil base), the Roman pizza – rectangular, fried, sweet… oh so many choices and not enough time to make them all! 😀

Courtesy of ‘New Pizza’ by Stefano Manfredi.

And if, like me, you are wheat free, there is even a good spelt pizza dough recipe. Though, if you have intolerances to gluten, dairy, allium or seafood… yeah, I did find the book lacking a little in that department for me. But that is my own problem and no fault of ‘New Pizza’. Some people are blessed with being able to eat everything – they will love this book. Me? Well… Next time I feel like falling off the wagon, I think I will use ‘New Pizza’ as my guide. I will “die” happy. 😀

Please note – I probably won’t ACTUALLY die, simply have to live with all the issues I get from eating foods I know my body can’t handle. 😉

As to the editing and layout of ‘New Pizza’ it is good. I, personally, found the book a little too chunky and cumbersome in the kitchen and it was too big for my cook book stand and looked more like a coffee table book that had gotten lost in my kitchen… but again, that is just me.

Modern cooks will appreciate the fact there is not only step by step picture instructions for the important things like how to shape the dough, but also a picture of each of the finished pizza to help entice you into wanting to make it. The pictures are amazing! There MAY be drool marks in my copy.

There were, however, a couple of typos scattered throughout the book. Usually I would say – no biggie, they will pick them up in the final edit. But I say that with eBooks and this was a paper one. I have let Murdoch books know of the issues and they did take it very seriously – they are professionals after all. What I do feel may have happened is a bit of a language hiccup? This is just a guess as I am in no way fluent in Italian… but as the majority of typos were ‘am’ being used instead of ‘an’… I am wondering if they are as interchangeable as ‘im’ and ‘in’ in German? Yeah, I’m not that fluent in German either and this is all one big guess.

Too be honest, if you skim the words, you probably won’t even notice! So don’t mind me! It does not, in any way, detract from the information ‘New Pizza’ is giving the reader. I am just one of those perfectionist who is perfectly imperfect… so will spot a typo in someone else’s work and then be blind to several clangers I make myself! 😀

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, but I would advise them that ‘New Pizza’ is for those who truly want to learn exactly what a pizza is and how to truly make it into more than just a take away meal. I am talking friends who have wood fire pizza ovens in their backyards and the like – you know they are serious about pizza and this would definitely be a book they should buy.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Now, I will remind you that I was sent a paper version of this book already and so that can make this section tough to answer, as it’s hard to ask if I would buy it when I already own it… But I will say that if I was to see it in the shops I probably wouldn’t buy it. Not because it is a terrible book, simply because I do not feel I could do it justice as a cook. As in, I don’t think I would really use it that often.

But this is due to my food intolerances and allergies making pizza not the best food for me. I can’t eat wheat, dairy, seafood, allium… you know? All the stuff that makes pizza GOOD!

Don’t get me wrong, now that I have a copy I am determined to try and learn how to make that perfect pizza dough from those in depth equations – I have a thing for equations – and my kids can eat most of that stuff… so, yeah, while I own it I will try and do ‘New Pizza’ justice, but I feel I am just not the right person to honour the passion and recipes within its pages.

 

In summary: A fantastic insight and lessons into how to make pizza the old and new ways.

Until next time,

Janis.

 

Ready or Not! – 150+ Make-Ahead, Make-Over, and Make-Now Recipes by Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam, Henry Fong.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Well, I have to start by saying this is a very different cook book to the ones I am used to reading and reviewing and, for a while, I wasn’t too sure if I was finding it refreshingly different or just a little too off centre for my liking. So, yeah, mixed feelings about the layout and formatting, but we will get to that later.

What I did love about ‘Ready or Not!’ is that it is my sort of paleo. I am a whole foods, make from scratch but nobody’s perfect sort of person… In fact I am known for calling myself perfectly imperfect and sometimes just eat cereal for dinner (gluten free and in activated almond milk but still cereal)!

And I really do find the term ‘Paleo’ has been given a really bad name in recent years as it’s gone from a generic term for just plain and simple whole food eating to anti this and ban that and “it’s all meat and you must hunt it yourself or you’re not a Paleo”…. I hate labels. And so refuse to call myself paleo due to all this negativity. It’s not a cult people! It’s a suggestion on how to eat food!

Which is why I loved ‘Ready or Not!’ as it not only seems to follow a similar perfectly imperfect lifestyle, but also seems to have gone back to the old style, far more flexible approach to paleo and so I am not ashamed to say I have read it… Or now follow ‘Nom Nom Paleo – Michelle Tan’ on Facebook. What can I say? Her food looks amazing and the recipes are simple and very easy to follow.

I will state here and now that my own personal food allergies and intolerances (recapping for those who don’t know me – wheat, allium, seafood, dairy to name a few) mean that not all recipes were suitable for me… while some could be fine-tuned to suit my needs and others were perfect to just go with… I’m looking at you Pina Colada Tapioca pudding!

So another reason to have mixed emotions as not every recipe in ‘Ready or Not!’ could be made in my house. And so as much as the book tempts and excites me with its differences… I am also disappointed it is yet another cook book that is hit and miss for my diet. Won’t anyone think of the allium intolerant? 😉

Okay, back to the layout and formatting of ‘Ready or Not!’ and me stating it’s very different to the norm. I mean, my 12 year old daughter loves it, but she is really into Manga and graphic novels – as well as inheriting my cook book addiction. It is indeed rather… unique being set out like a manga book but then again I think our modern new home cooks would like it as it has the set by set pictures and instructions, it has the smiley faces and constant chatter of making it like a one on one cooking conversation and would give them that feeling instant gratification the younger generation seems to need.

But for me? And my love of 100 year old (and then some) cook books that consist of a paragraph or two and the belief the reader knows their way around a kitchen and doesn’t need to be spoon fed each ingredient… yeah, I can’t say I enjoyed the manga style that much. A little too dumbed down and babyish for me.

Oh, and it is written for an American audience so uses imperial measurements and the American names for foods – such a cilantro rather than coriander. This may be a stumbling block for some new cooks here in Australia but who knows? Do Aussie kids still say capsicum rather than peppers? Maybe I am just outdated again. 😉

However! What I did love about the layout was how the recipes were broken down into different “are you ready?” sections… Hence the name ‘Ready or Not!’ I guess.

There is the intro that tells you all about how the book is laid out, then then prep section for sauces and other basics. Then we hit the section where you have all the time in the world to cook. The section for having some time to cook and the section on having no time and just wanting a wholesome family meal ASAP. This was great as I have days like this where I either have all the time in the world, a little time or none at all and so the idea of having a go to recipe idea for each time limit was great. Again, not all the recipes in any of these sections suited my personal dietary restrictions, but I really did love that layout as I honestly feel it a great way to encourage more people to skip the instant meals and take away and try their hand at some simple but tasty whole food home cooked meals.

So, yeah, a bit of a like/ unlike relationship happening here. 😀 I love the passion, enthusiasm and talent shown by Ms Tan and her family and I do love the styles of meals as Cantonese food – via Darwin – is my childhood comfort food. And so there was some definite connection there that has made this book somewhat appealing despite my also dislike of it. Oh dear, I am getting a split personality over it! 😀

Would I recommend this book to others?

You know, I think I would. But I would be recommending it to the younger generations. I can’t see myself or my mother wanting to race out and buy it… but I can see myself buying it for my daughter to add to her slowing increasing cook book collection.
It is a good cook book, but just one meant more for the modern generation rather than an old fuddy duddy like me. 😉

Would I buy this book for myself?

Ummm, I MIGHT sneak an electronic copy onto my tablet as a “just in case” as there were some really appealing recipes in ‘Ready or Not!’ or I might buy a paper version for my daughter and pinch it from time to time. I really can’t be sure… it interests me and I love the vibe Ms Tan has created… but manga cook books just go against my grain. 😉

In summary: a great cook book for the next generation of whole food home cooks.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Cook Fast, Eat Well by Sue Quin.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Murdoch Books for providing me with a free paper copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

I have to start by saying ‘Cook Fast, East Well’ was a delightful surprise, especially because I received a copy without having requested it first. Yay!

Secondly, as much as I’ve never really been a fan of the 4/ 5 ingredient cook books, I really enjoyed this one! Why? Because the majority of ingredients are whole foods – which is what I like to see in a cook book. Most “only this many ingredients” cook books contain way too much processed, ready mix nasties for my liking. And, yes, there are things like marshmallows and crackers (see the smores recipe) in ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’ but they are few and far between. Pretty much everything else is like fresh pasta, fresh spinach, double cream, etc… No, I don’t mean every other recipe is just made up of these particular ingredients – give me some credit people! – what I am saying is that the ingredients used in the recipes are good, whole foods and not a tin of this and a packet of that rubbish I find so abhorrent in cook books. It’s not cooking if all you’re doing is opening things and mixing them – that’s just making a meal… and not a very good one either. Just saying. 😉

And – shock and horror – I actually TRIED a recipe and have the photographic evidence to prove it. My kids simply begged me to try the ‘smores – even though they already know how to make them. And, yes, Canadian cousins have pointed out these are not true ‘smores as some of the ingredients are wrong… but I don’t mind. They tasted good and that’s all that matters. Only problem I had was I used imported American marshmallows, rather than the Aussie ones I am used to… and those suckers cooked faster (and were more flammable) than I am used to. Super, super sweet too. Good thing they tasted okay “slightly caramelised” aka burnt. But the fault lies completely with me not paying attention to the griller and ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’ cannot be blamed at all. It DID warn me to keep an eye on them!

Actually I found this a great little cook book for my eldest (soon to be 13) to add to her collection for when she eventually flies the nest. She has picked up my love of cooking (and cook books) and simply loves the quick and simply whole food recipes shown in ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’. So definitely one for the beginner!

The layout and format were interesting. I personally found them a little weird as there is no real ingredient list like what I am used to. Instead there is a picture of the ingredients with notes attached to each item telling you what it is and how much is needed. The method too is different where it’s not in a step by step or bullet format, simply a couple of paragraphs explaining it all to you. I am not saying this is bad or makes it a terrible book… it’s just different. But my daughter doesn’t see a problem with it and finds the ingredients easy to read and the method easy to follow… so I guess new generation, new style cook book and I am just an old fuddy duddy set in my ways! 😀

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would, but I would only be recommending it to those new to the kitchen and cooking their own foods from scratch. That is not me being derogatory about the person’s skills or this book – I simply feel ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’ is an excellent book for beginners or for getting those not too confident with from scratch cooking to get in there and give it a try.

But even an old hand like me can learn a thing or two from ‘Cook Fast, Eat Well’ (like how to NOT burn marshmallows) so maybe it is suited to all levels of cooks? Though, personally, I think it is an excellent starter book for those new to the kitchen and that is how I will be recommending it.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Because I was gifted a paper copy, I don’t need to. Though I will openly and honestly say here and now I have regifted it to my daughter (or so I have been told when she politely snatched it from my hand crooning “my precious”). I, personally, don’t see a need to race out and buy a new copy… If I need to borrow it I will just nick it from her room when she is at school. 😉 But, yes, not a book I would/ do own… but a book much loved by my daughter and budding young cook so I feel it has gone to a good home.
In summary: an excellent simple ingredient whole food cook book best suited to encourage new and inexperienced chefs to get into the kitchen and have a go. Great book.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition by DeeDee Stovel.

2 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Storey Publishing for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Okay, as you can guess by the score that I wasn’t such a fan of ‘The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition’ as I had hoped to be. I mean, I wouldn’t have requested it to review if I hadn’t thought it looked interesting. And please, don’t get me wrong, I can see this being just the right sort of pumpkin cook book for certain readers and cooks. I feel I am just the wrong person and that is probably due to the fact I cook and eat pumpkin near daily as it’s not a novelty item here in Australia, like it is in the USA and Canada. So, please realise the flaw causing my low score and less than glowing review comes from me the reader not being suited to the book, rather than ‘The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition’ being a bad book. It’s not, honest. It has a lot of potential – for the right audience… which wasn’t me.

Though I will also add, before getting into the positives, that I was actually surprised this was a Storey Publishing book as it doesn’t seem to have the usual sparkle they give their work. I mean, the layout was perfection as usual – simple, easy to follow recipes, well laid out formatting and all in all easy to read. What images there were, however, didn’t seem to have the usual Storey Publishing ‘glow’ to them. Oh, and although it doesn’t affect my way of cooking, some modern cooks may not like this book that much as their isn’t a glossy image to go with each and every recipe. Me? I don’t need it so not affected. People more used to the hand held, step by step, must have a picture to compare their work with it reader… they won’t be as happy with ‘The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition’ – sorry.

As for the recipes themselves… well, there were some really good ones, some really interesting ones and ones I just wouldn’t try. I am putting it mostly down to the cultural thing again, as in pumpkin isn’t a novelty ingredient here in Australia, it’s a staple. I also found there were just too many recipes that used pre-mades. Things like cereal, pretzels and – the most mind boggling one to me – canned pumpkin. Wasn’t this book all about learning to cook with fresh pumpkin? Again, I am blaming my cultural background on the canned pumpkin thing as I don’t even know if you can BUY canned pumpkin here… it’s fresh or nothing I think.

And, despite there being some attempts to use healthier ingredients, there was still too much refined sugar and the like for my wholefood, unrefined heart.

But I will say the dedication to making such a wide variety of interesting and different recipes where pumpkin was the key ingredient was impressive. Weird thing is the sweets section interested me more than the savoury. As, here, pumpkin is used in both sweet and savoury dishes, but more so in savoury ones.All in all it looked to be a very interesting book that would help the adventurous try using pumpkin in ways they may not have done so in the past. But, again, I feel I must emphasise that I wasn’t the best reader for this book as I am simply in the wrong country. Storey Publishing is USA based and cater to the USA market – which is why the recipes are always only ever in imperial measurements. They were decent enough to allow me an ARC, but I simply wasn’t the best person to review it. Fault all mine.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Possibly. I mean, if any of my friends in the USA or Canada who wanted to do more with pumpkin all year round in all sorts of dishes – then yes. This is a book they should check out. People here in Australia or even over in the UK? No, not one I would recommend. Not the fault of the book – it is perfect for the market it is aimed at.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yeah, we all know the answer to this, right? This is a great book, a perfect way to allow those in the USA to explore how to use delicious and versatile pumpkin in more meals… but not a book for me. Australia’s see and use pumpkin a lot differently, and that is something I have learned from this book and will remember next time I go looking at pumpkin cook books. 😉

In summary – a cook book that truly allows those who see pumpkin as a novelty ingredient explore other options.

Until next time,

Janis.

100% Real – 100 Insanely Good Recipes for Clean Food Made Fresh by Sam Talbot.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Time Inc. Books for providing me with a free electronic ARC, via Netgalley, of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Regular readers of my reviews will come to know I am very much into wholefoods, local foods, in season foods and eating as a part of life rather than a fad or trend… And so should realise that when I say I really loved this cook book, that it contains all of the above!

So what is 100% Real all about? It’s a cook book (duh!) that helps give a better understanding to just eating real food and enjoying it. And by real it isn’t meaning living off kale, mung beans and organic tofu…. Though hey – don’t knock them until you’ve tried them. 😉

No, 100% Real explains how pizza, pasta, burgers, cakes…. is all real! Well, it CAN be if made from the right ingredients. Ditch the synthetic substitutes, manufactured meat and other rather nasty things. Choose fresh, local, in season fruits and veg, choose good artisan bread free of all the bleaches and preservatives, choose ethical raised and finished meats, choose unrefined sugars. Eat what you like – in moderation of course – but make sure you choose the real version and not the man made fake version.

This is almost identical to my own food beliefs and so I found this book very inspiring, great to read (the non-recipes bits as well as the recipes) and honestly feel this is what cook books should be about today. Actually – cooking books, cooking shows, cooking lessons – they should all be about this simple 100% Real approach to food.

Gluten-Free Shells and cheese with peas – courtesy of Sam Talbot’s Facebook Page.

Though I will say here and now not all the recipes were appealing to me – yes my food intolerances and allergies got in the road. Won’t anyone think of we the allium intolerant? When you are lumbered with needing to cook/eat wheat, barley, rye, dairy, seafood, lamb and allium free (before we get into the fussy food issues) – you can really come across as a PITA (Pain In The Arse) when looking through a cook book.  But I am getting used to it and so know when to skip a recipe or study it for modification to a ‘Janis friendlier’ option. I’m a big girl, I can do it. And so, when I say not all the recipes are appealing to me… that doesn’t mean everyone is going to screw their noses up at them. It just means I am more limited to what I can eat, not that the recipes themselves sucked. They didn’t – it is totally my fault. 😀

TI will have to say there was one recipe that is all about roasting your own veg, making a sauce from scratch, etc… that then calls for a shop bought pre-cooked chicken. And that made me pause a moment. Why? I would much rather buy a local truly free range ethical chook (that’s chicken in Australian by the way) and cook it along with the veg… But hey, it’s not as if I HAVE to buy a pre-cooked chook. I could roast it myself and still rock it at that recipe!

That is what I am trying to say – the book allows to you to be flexible while still showing you how to cook and keep food 100% Real. Yes, follow the recipes to the letter to ensure you get as close to the same results as Mr Talbot as possible. But the recipes also seem to say – cook to suit yourself, as long as you keep it 100% Real. So, to me, this is a very user friendly cook book for home cooks of any level.

Oh, and I will add that Mr Talbot also tries to accommodate for the more main stream food intolerances and allergies and a lot of the recipes listed are gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian or vegan… sometimes a combination of these. So, although it’s not a book written to cater for any specific dietary requirement, they are still considered and easily recognised by the clear symbols at the top of each recipe. The introduction to 100% Real also explains all this – which is why people should really read ALL of a cook book and not just the recipes. Just saying. 😉

As for the review from a layout point of view – it is clear, precise and easy to read and follow, and each recipe has a gorgeous photo of the finished items to entice you into making it. Although the recipes are all in imperial measurements, there are a few different conversion charts at the back of the book so we on the metric system have been thought of. 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. This really is the sort of cooking and therefore cook book we should all be following. It doesn’t dictate a trend, fad or what I call a “Foodism” – a food faith so out there it comes across as similar to a fanatic religion. No, this book is what the title says it is. 100% Real. And no, you don’t need to be diabetic to buy and use this book! I’m not (yet… genetics indicate type two likely) but love cooking with whole foods, local foods and real foods. I love unrefined sugars, making my own nut butters and all the fun things this gorgeous cook book encourages. This is not a diabetes cook book – it is a cook book on keeping EVERYONE’S food 100% Real. And so a very big YES to me recommending it to people.

Would I buy this book for myself?
Here I am torn as I really don’t know. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVED most of the recipes and if we weren’t in single digits Celsius right now that avocado melon Lassi would be my morning tea! But I am still a very tactile person when it comes to cook books and so prefer playing about with them in paper version (but only half the cook books I am sent are in paper format). So as much as I want to play with the recipes in 100% Real more, and test some of the ones I would need to modify out… I would want to be playing with it as paper form. So, for now, would consider this something I would rather borrow from a library to see how we got along together in my kitchen before I would buy it.

But that is simply due to me being weird, and the amount of recipes I just can’t eat in their current form due to my own food issues. It has NOTHING to do with the quality of the book. This book looks awesome! I just need to get to know it a little better first before giving it a permanent space on my limited physical book shelves. I hope Mr Talbot understands and can forgive me for being so fickle. 😉

In summary: This is what cook books should be like – explaining why foods should be real, local, in season and ethical as well as showing how easy they are to cook with. Great book!

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Wholefood Thermo Cooked by Tracey Pattison.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Murdoch Books for providing me with a free paper copy of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

As part of being open and honest let me state here and now I do indeed own a (dun dun da!!!!) Thermomix. No surprise really, if you’ve read any of my other reviews and blog posts as that little baby gets mentioned a LOT!

No I am not about to now go on and MLM (Multi-Level-Market) you into having to go buy one yourself as that’s not my style. But I will say the ‘Wholefood Thermo Cooked’ cook book recipes worked a dream in mine. Actually, I found the cooking instructions so generic that I am pretty sure these recipes would work just as easily with say a Bellini or other Thermo style cooker. But please don’t quote me on this as I have never used a different Thermo cooking device and so am just guessing. And we all know what happens when readers of my work think I’m faking my views as I’ve not TRIED what the book is about first! But hey, I read a lot of crime fiction and murder mysteries, so I am pretty sure my family, friends, neighbours and total strangers who piss me off in the street are happy I don’t try EVERY single thing I read in a book. 😉

Oh and if any Thermo cooking device makers reading my review want to send me one of their babies to test run some of these recipes with… There is a ‘Contact Me’ form. Just saying.

But I can say for certain that you can use a Thermomix to cook the recipes in ‘Wholefood Thermo cooked’ and that I have NEVER made such yummy and easy to make brown rice in my LIFE! So good. Oh, and while being boringly honest, no I didn’t try EVERY recipe. But I played with the book enough to know I was on to a winner and totally in love with what it had to offer.

I mean, yes there were some recipes that I already knew versions of from my years of being a Thermomixer… I have heard it called a ‘Coven of Mixers’ or a ‘cult of mixers’. Just pass me my broom so I can get to my next coven meeting on time, ‘kay? But yes, there were a couple of recipes or recipe variants that I was already familiar with. But they were just the basics and things I feel any good Thermo based cook book is going to cover to ensure you know how to get the best out of the Thermo beast of your choice.

But some of those basics… mind blowing – oh my! Polenta/ cornbread from popcorn kernels? Macadamia pastry? Stock cubes best suited for winter and summer… I could go on but seriously feel you should just go get the book and look for yourself. 😉

I think what blew me away with ‘Wholefood Thermo Cooked’ was that I’d never even considered soaking/ prepping my dried beans in my Thermo device to get them to the same consistency as tinned beans. I mean, I buy dried beans as it’s a more budget friendly thing. I then soak them over night to be soft enough to then cook with…. Until now. Yup, an hour in your Thermo device and those dried beans are as moist and ready to go as a tin of beans… and for half the price! Can you see why I am in love with this book? If I forget to soak my beans the night before, which I often do, dinner isn’t cancelled – Thermo Cooking to the rescue!

Yes there were the usual recipes that my annoying food allergies and intolerance made no go zones… but those recipes were far out-weighed by things I could and have tried.

As for the editing, page layout and all that official stuff? Perfect as usual – if you get a cook book from Murdoch Books, you’re going to get a well laid out, easy to read and follow book! All recipes have highlighted areas at the bottom that show whether they suit certain dietary requirements – vegetarian, gluten free, etc. And all recipes are in both imperial and metric measurements. Score! Internationally friendly, just like a Thermo cooking device.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. I loved the freedom that came with ‘Wholefood Thermo Cooked’ as all you need is some sort of Thermo cooking device (rather than a specific one you may need to sign your first born away to afford) and a desire to cook whole foods. And, quite honestly, wholefoods on an everyday budget for most of it too! Definitely a cook book I would recommend to anyone with a Thermo device, or wanting to buy such a device and get a decent cook book to go with it.

Would I buy this book for myself?

As I have been gifted a paper copy of this book I don’t have to… and no one is getting this copy off me any time soon. 😉 We’re meant for each other, leave us be. 😀 But if I had to get a new copy, then I happily would as it is so worth it.

In summary: A great all round cook book for those interested in cooking Wholefood recipes in a Thermo device of their choice and budget. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

My Precious…. 😉

Book Review – Healthy Baking: Nourishing breads, wholesome cakes, ancient grains and bubbling ferments by Jordan Bourke.

Healthy Baking

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Orion Publishing Group for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

If I was allowed to name this book, I would really call it the ‘Great Big Baking book of Everything’ as it covers such a wide range of recipes and dishes.

It starts out as I had expected with sourdoughs, yeast breads and other baked goodies that had me want to own my own paper copy of ‘Healthy Baking’. But there is then just so much more to this cookbook than bread, pastries and pizza! Oh so much more. We get into main meals – I am a sucker for roast whole head of cauliflower recipes and so need to try that one. And then into preserves, fermentations and more. I simply loved this book.

And no, no I didn’t get a chance to try any of the recipes… Yet. But from my 30+ years of cooking, making and baking I know how to read a recipe and I know what I would like to make and what I would avoid. I also know a well-constructed and tasty meal idea when I see one. And yes there were a few too many allium rich dishes within ‘Healthy Baking’ to have me want to try everything. But there was enough other ideas to try and I can see myself opening this book and trying them.

Oh, and for the record – whoever tries a recipe in a cook book at the shops before deciding to buy it and take it home? Anyone? Yes, you can see I am still bemused by a recent accusation I can’t really comment on or review a cookbook if I’ve not tried any of the recipes… but hey, I am giving you my opinion as if I saw this book in the shops. I would go through it (not read it cover to cover like I actually did mind you) and judge whether or not it was something I would want to take home and cook from. So those who tell me I can’t review a book without having tried everything in it first… you’re so funny! I don’t kill people before reviewing cosy crimes either, maybe that’s why the comments were left by ‘anonymous’… so there would be no volunteers to ensure I review murder books appropriately too? 😉

Anyhow, back to ‘Healthy Baking’. Loved it, I did say that though. So here is why I loved it. I can’t eat wheat – I have a medically diagnosed wheat protein intolerance (not coeliacs) that means a lot of wheat, barley or rye makes me sick. So a bread book that relies on spelt, dairy free options and unrefined sugars – all how I live and eat – was just a dream come true to me!

Yes there were all the allium issues, but I am just so used to people never thinking of the allium allergies and intolerances I just let it slide. Especially as ‘Healthy Baking’ never states it is a diet specific cook book. It is just a cook book demonstrating… Healthy Baking. Yeah, its title pretty much explains it all – nailed it.

For the formatting side of things – gorgeous, enticing and clear pictures draw the reader in and make us want to see more. A great deal of helpful information is provided for each section and some of the recipes too – I do like those personalised touches as to why a recipe is important enough to the author to appear in their work. And the recipe layout and other essential information was clear and precise too. Being a cook book made in the UK, no conversion to metric issues either.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. In fact, I already have been. There are a lot of people out there who aren’t just on the kale drinking, raw vegan, “hippy food” bandwagon as it matches our shoes. We have legitimate allergies and intolerances that seem to be overshadowed by foodisms and gimmicks. ‘Healthy Baking’ is NOT one of those foodism gimmicks. It really does come across as one of the open and honest cook books wanting to help everyone eat better and therefore feel better through whole foods and great recipes. So people with or without food allergies and intolerances will all enjoy this book. Maybe not every recipe… but there are enough there to keep us all amused.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. It’s already on my Amazon wish list and I have been shopping around the various online bookstores to find the best deal on where to get it. 😉 Yes, this is really one of those books where I will happily put my money where my mouth is and hope to own my own copy very, very soon.

In summary: This is indeed a great book about Healthy Baking, and then some. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.