Healthyish by Lindsay Hunt

helathyishThe full title for Healthyish is “A Cookbook with Seriously Satisfying, Truly Simple, Good-For-You (but not too Good-For-You) Recipes for Real Life”.  It’s a mouthful but it does sum up quite nicely what this recipe book is about.   It’s full of food that looks delicious, tastes delicious (from the recipes I’ve tried) and sounds delicious (from those that I haven’t).

The idea behind Healthyish is that you can eat a good, healthy, balanced diet without living on lettuce leaves and by making some simple changes.  So you swap whole grains for refined, add ingredients like olives for natural flavour, and swap processed foods for homemade alternatives (think salad dressing).

Cut The Sugar, You're Sweet Enough by Ella Leche

imageCut the Sugar, You’re Sweet Enough is a practical, real-life approach to reducing sugar the healthy way so you don’t feel deprived. This is not a sugar-detox book but an inspiring cookbook and guide to change your relationship with the foods you love and address your cravings properly. There are over 100 delicious and easy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and yes, even dessert!

I picked up a review copy of Cut The Sugar in November as part of my attempts to eat healthier. It is the work of blogger Ella Leché, and I checked out her blog, Pure Ella, before requesting a copy. I liked what I read and saw – which included some great looking food.

The book opens with Ella’s own story, and the reason she started her blog. In a nutshell, back in 2008, she developed a rare autoimmune condition. Medication wasn’t working so she started to try and heal herself naturally…which included not just healthy eating (or what she had thought of as healthy eating) but making significant changes to the way she eats.

The main change was cutting out sugar and the result was she felt better – regaining her good health. It is a change a lot of people are making and one suggested in Eat, Nourish, Glow which I also read in an attempt to change my diet. The difference here is I didn’t feel beaten over the head with the message. Ella isn’t dictatorial and there is plenty of fruit in her recipes that it isn’t like you give up sweetness, just the processed kind.

After telling Ella’s story and sharing tips for healthy eating, the book presents recipes for each part of the day, including snacks like biscotti, and deserts. The recipes were beautifully photographed and had me wanting to try them. Plus they were meat-free, great for a veggie like me – I had some as mains whilst my husband had them as sides.

I haven’t been through all the recipes yet but those I have tried have been easy to follow and easy to make. The overnight chia oats are now a breakfast regular and the salads have made my packed lunches healthier and more interesting. I wish I could take photos that do them justice but food photography isn’t my forte so I am afraid you will have to go on my recommendation – which is this is a book for those who want to be a little healthier without feeling deprived.

Enjoy!

Emma x

 

As mentioned in the post, I received a copy of this from netgalley in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own.

 

Eat, Nourish, Glow by Amelia Freer

25718437Way back in what seems like the mists of time but was actually only the end of October, I decided I needed to start being healthier. Over the course of the previous year, I had slowly being putting on weight – about half a stone so not a lot but enough to notice. Worse, I was feeling sluggish and tired all the time.

I was talking (o.k., moaning) to a colleague at work who said she had recently made quite a lot of changes to her diet for the same reason and she was feeling much better as a result. She recommended a couple of books, one of which was Ear, Nourish, Glow, which I found at the local library so thought I would give a go.

Freer is a nutritional therapist who has worked with a number of famous people, helping them lose weight and look good – the type of changes the press love to report on. The idea she lays out at the beginning is everybody is different and responds differently to food and being healthy is not about dieting but about changing your diet, slowly and steadily getting rid of things that make you feel, basically, like crap.  These things end up being almost everything I would say I loved – sugar, bread, pasta, dairy and alcohol – and are replaced with fruits, veggies, natural grains. As a result, you will lose weight but, more importantly, you will glow from all the good things you are eating.

To get to the glow, there are 10 easy steps – or supposedly easy. I can’t say I found them that particularly and, if I’m honest, by chapter 10 I had pretty much lost the will to live because whilst Freer starts off saying it’s up to you what you change in your diet (based on a food diary you keep in the first two weeks), she basically ends up telling you everything is bad.

To follow her simple 10 steps, you need to cut out gluten, alcohol (other than good quality red wine), salt (unless it’s pink Himalayan salt), dairy and – most importantly – sugar.  Sugar, according to Freer, is evil and the worst thing you could consume.  She might be right here, given what is in the press, and I don’t necessarily disagree with her on processed sugar but she also doesn’t seem to like natural sugar in things like fruit.

The problem is that to do what she asks you basically have to throw out everything in your kitchen and restock it with things I’m not sure the average person could afford on a weekly food shop.  Cans need to be replaced with food stored in glass wherever possible for example and juices should be blended in a Vitamix which runs at several hundred pounds.  You could use another juicer (as long as it’s cold press) but you get the feeling that – if you do – you are failing.  I am sure that wasn’t Freer’s intention but it’s how it came across because the messages kept being repeated so it started to sound like dogma.

What also kept being repeated was basically the same dozen or so recipes – meaning the book became (for me) a bit of a boring lecture on what not to do vs. what to do to feel better.  Saying that, and almost despite it, I did find that after reading the book my diet improved.  That was down to the food diary I kept in the beginning and which I found really useful.  It told me what I already knew – I eat too much rubbish when I’m travelling for work and snack too much when I work from home – but made me focus and think twice when I was about to buy a bag of crisps as part of a meal deal.

Since reading the book, I have paid much more attention to what I eat and my diet has changed.  However, I haven’t cut out things that I don’t think have a negative impact on me – like dairy – because life is basically too short to not enjoy what I eat.  As a result, though, I have probably reduced the bad fats and definitely the sugar in my diet, and I have lost weight – 4lbs so far which I’m chuffed with.  I could probably have done I without the book though – or at least chapters 2 through 10 – so overall, I have to say, the book wasn’t for me and it’s not one I can recommend.

Emma

Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding

If, like me, you find yourself with enough hot cross buns left to see yourself through to next Easter (when I will once again vow not to buy quite so many) , you might want to try turning them into a variation on a Bread and Butter Pudding.

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To make you will need: 

4 Hot Cross Buns 

Butter (enough for four buns) 

350 ml milk 

50 ml Cream 

2 eggs 

3 tbsp of caster sugar 

Then simply: 

1. Cut the hot cross buns into three slices (horizontally). Butter. 

2. Layer in an oven proof dish. If you prefer a sweeter pudding you can sprinkle sugar between the layers. 

3. Mix the milk and cream together. Heat over a low heat, stirring constantly until warmed through, but not boiling. 

4. Beat the eggs. Slowly add the milk the pour over the buns. Sprinkle over the sugar. 

5. Bake at 180 for about 30 minutes. 

The top will be golden brown. Serve straight away with cream, Crème fraîche, or ice-cream. 


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Enjoy!

p.s. This post is linking in with Weekend Cooking with Beth Fish Reads, a weekly anything related to food meme.

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Recipe: French Toast

I always make breakfast beyond toast and cereal on a Sunday, even if it’s just scrambled eggs or bagels and smoked salmon. It is our “lazy day” and a great way to start it.

With today being Mother’s Day in the UK, I plan on making a huge stack of French Toast, my mom’s favourite. I know there are lots of versions of French Toast (aka Eggy Bread) out there but I thought I’d share my version anyways.

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To make, you will need:

3 eggs
150 ml whole milk
150 ml single cream
1/2 vanilla pod
2 tbsp sugar
8 slices of brioche
Fruit and maple syrup for topping (optional)

Then:

1. Beat the eggs and mix in the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar.
2. Soak each slice of brioche for a couple of minutes (turning over so both sides are coated).
3. Melt a knob of butter in a pan and add the brioche, cooking until golden brown on both sides
4. Put on a baking tray in a warm over while you cook the others – this puffs the bread up a bit, which I like, though I imagine you could also keep warm in tin foil.

When they are all done, top with fruit, icing sugar and serve with maple syrup.

Enjoy!

This post is linking in with Weekend Cooking, a weekly food related meme from Beth Fish Reads

Recipe: Raspberry Cheesecake Mousse

I may be the least romantic person on the planet. My husband isn’t much better and we decided a fair few years ago to not worry about exchanging valentine cards.  So, despite roses and hearts being everywhere, I still managed to forget it was Valentine’s Day until I woke up yesterday and saw something on the news (don’t ask me what, I forget that too!).

Still, something must have been in the air because I decided to make a special tea for my husband and I last night including fizz and a rather romantic looking desert (if I do say so myself). I was rather proud of the finished pud and thought I would share it….

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The following recipe makes 6:

200g full fat cream cheese
75g caster sugar
2 large egg yolks
200g raspberries (fresh or frozen – I have used both in the past and either work)
125ml double cream
6 tbsp. of good quality raspberry preserves

Once you have your ingredients together, you will need to:

1. Mix the cream cheese, sugar and egg yolks together until smooth
2. Heat the raspberries on a slow heat until they are broken down
3. Add the raspberries into the cream cheese mixture
4. Whip the cream until it has formed soft peaks and then mix into the cream cheese mixture
5. Pour into serving dishes (about the size of a teacup)
6. In total, the mousse will take 4 hours to set. After a couple of hours, however, you can add the topping (step 7)
7. Warm the raspberry preserve in a pan until runny. Pour over the mouse. Leave to set for at least 10 minutes.

The mousse can be served with shortcake biscuits.

Enjoy!

p.s. This post is linking in with Weekend Cooking with Beth Fish Reads, a weekly anything related to food meme.

Coddled Eggs

Ever since reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, I have become slightly obsessed with coddled eggs. Which is a bit strange, as they are only mentioned once in passing.

It started, though, because I didn’t know what they were. Once I knew – it is a way of cooking eggs by gently steaming them – I had to give it a go, despite the fact that I didn’t have an Egg Coddler. Luckily Martha Stewart came to the rescue, offering baby food jars and tea cups as alternatives. I decided to use a ramekin and this has worked really well.

There really isn’t a lot to coddling eggs, you simply coat your dish in a little butter to stop the egg sticking, add the egg, put the dish in an inch of simmering water and cover (I use the pan lid but have also used tin-foil and parchment paper – thank you Martha for this suggestion as well). You then leave the egg to cook in the gently simmering water for 8 – 10 minutes until the whites are cooked and then serve.

The ease is one of the reasons I like them but I also like that you can add other ingredients to make them different each time. This morning, I used spinach, cheese and a little crème fraiche, topped with salt, pepper and spring onion and am already planning on Sage for my next attempt.

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Sorry the photos aren’t much better but I took on my phone and food photography isn’t something I normally do. However, I can promise they are very tasty and easy too. Enjoy!

Emma

This post is linking in with Weekend Cooking with Beth Fish Reads, a weekly anything related to food meme.