Energy Balls Cookbook Review

 

I bought this book at the same time as the ‘energy bites’ book which you can read about here. Energy Balls by Sophie Ryan is very similar, again it’s not a huge book and the cover is bright and colourful but the inside of this one is all in black and white. There are a total of 30 super tasty recipes for you to try and keep you energized. It isn’t a paleo cook book but again, like Energy Bites, it is based on clean eating and doesn’t use any processed foods or artificial flavourings.

With a total of 73 pages, it begins with a breakdown on super-food ingredients, explaining the benefits of each one. For example it talks about the nutritional value of eating avocados, coconut and coconut oil and nuts and seeds (to name a few!). Each recipe has a large (black and white) photo showing you what the finished item will look like and a page for the ingredients and method.

There are more sweet recipes than savoury and they include chocolate chip and peanut vitality boosts, cranberry and raisin power balls, zesty lime and coconut balls, coffee fitness bursts, lemon and blueberry energy bites, almond chocolate truffles and macadamia and coconut bites. Only one of the sweet recipes requires some cooking, one or two of them require chilling or leaving to soak for half an hour.

The Savoury recipes are beetroot falafels, broad bean bites, chia and mushroom savoury balls, fresh herb and sweet potato cakes, kale and cannellini bean balls, spiced quinoa and chickpea falafels and kale and chickpea bites. All of the savoury recipes require cooking at some stage or another.

What I like
I like this book a lot; it’s got a lot of great recipes using fresh ingredients. All of the recipes are relatively easy to make and don’t require much time to make them. I also like how the book gives a little bit of an explanation for the ingredients used (e.g. the nutritional values of the food groups used for the recipes).

Any Downsides?
The down side to this book is that it’s in black and white, which although it’s no major problem I think it would have been lovely if It had be printed in colour. Again like the Energy bites cookbook the recipes are not paleo but they are fairly easy to tweak to make them so (subbing the non-paleo ingredients for foods that are!). That said, many of the sweet recipes are actually paleo – it’s mainly the savoury ones that have beans in them, which are not paleo (or considered a grey area as they can cause gut issues). The book is also not low carb as many of the recipes use dried fruit which are a ‘low carbers’ enemy – Ha! That’s by no fault of the book – if you were low carb you probably wouldn’t purchase the book or if you did (like me) you would expect the recipes to need some tweaking.

Overall
All in all this book is a handy little book to have and most of the recipes are quick and easy to make. Although it’s not specifically paleo, the recipes are clean so it’s great for those wanting to make their own breakfasts/ snacks or post work out eats without any added nasties or excess sugar. I also think that some of the savoury recipes could easily be made (in larger portions) for lunchtime meals or as side dish at dinner time. Although as already mentioned, because it’s not very low carb friendly some of the recipes could be tweaked to make them so, but you would need to be confident to do so. In comparison to the energy bites book, there is less information on ingredients and how to adapt recipes but it’s main let down is that it’s printed in black and white, so overall I’m giving it a 4 starts out of 5.

You can purchase Energy Balls from Amazon for £2.99 (June 2016)

Other Cookbook Reviews
For more cookbook reviews take a look at the following posts…
Family Food by Chef Pete Evans
The Ketodiet Cookbook by Martina Slajerova
Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine by Sarah Fragoso
Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind by Vanessa Barajas
Energy Bites by DK
The Art of Eating Well by Hemsley & Hemsley

**The above review is my own personal opinion and I purchased the book myself**

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Hemsley & Hemsley – The Art of Eating Well Cookbook Review

Hemsley & Hemsley

I purchased Hemsley and Hemsley’s first cook book ‘the art of eating well’ about 6 months after it was first released back in 2014. I’ve only recently got round to reviewing it, simply because as with all things life related, my health impacts on me so much that I just don’t have the energy, strength or ability most the time, so things kind of happen on an ‘as’ and ‘when’ basis.

I have to admit that when I first got the book I did scribble some notes down on a pad which have been left rotting away in a drawer and it surprises me (I had forgotten what I had written), that I wasn’t that impressed when I first flicked through this book. Now don’t by any means let that put you off because let me tell you right now – I was wrong. Yep, I was oh so very wrong and this book is fast becoming one of my favourites.

First up I have to say that this book is beautifully detailed with lots of colourful photos and is in hardback format. It’s also a whopping 319 pages broken down into the flowing sections; Introduction – 10 things to do daily, our food philosophy, 12 golden rules, kitchen essentials and cooks notes; Meal sections – breakfasts, soups, salads, sides and snacks, meat and fish, vegetable mains, dressings and dips, baking and desserts and drinks. And finally – Basic recipes and methods, Sunday cook off, the menus, a guide to eating out, stockists, acknowledgements and index.

The introduction section begins with explaining who the Hemsley sisters are and how they got into the way of eating that this book follows. All of their recipes are free from gluten, grains and refined sugars and focus on nutrient dense unprocessed foods, good fats and bone broth. Their philosophy explains a number of things from how they source ingredients, e.g. what to look for when selecting food, gut health, fats – the good the bad and the ugly, dairy, grains and potatoes and the reasons for increasing or decreasing certain food groups. It also looks at the benefits of raw versus cooking, soaking and activating foods, simple food combining and the importance of sleep and hydration.

There is a section called ‘stocking your kitchen’ where it lists the types of ingredients their recipes use and gives a brief explanation of its benefits. For example under ‘Flaxseed (Linseed) oil’ it states “Contains high omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. It’s sensitive to heat so be sure to store in the fridge for use in dressings and drizzling over stews and soups”.

There is also a kitchen section which lists the types of tools you may need for creating their recipes. It lists things such as types of chopping boards (wooden is preferred and it explains why plastic is a bad choice), types of pans (cast iron or ‘green cookware’ is preferred; again it explains the reasons why other types are poor choices, such as the toxins in non-stick or aluminium bakeware).

Now on to the best bits – the recipes! The recipe section is quite extensive and begins with breakfast recipes. With 14 recipes in total it includes blueberry pancakes with mango cashew cream, cinnamon and buckwheat crunch granola, chai chai butternut breakfast pudding and goji marmalade.

Next up is you have 10 soup recipes including chicken tinola, roasted tomato and butternut squash soup, kelp pot noodle and no cook coconut soup.

There are 12 salads in total with puy lentil beetroot and Apple salad, pea peach and goats cheese salad, roasted bone marrow with salad watercress and fennel and cucumber and dill salad to name a few!

Sides and snacks has 19 recipes such as cauliflower rice and pilaf style cauliflower rice, baked courgette fries, garlic lemon green beans, pea mint and broccoli mash, falafel and Italian vegetable balls, toasted coconut chips, chickpea crunches, Apple rings 5 ways and baked broccoli and spicy avocado dip.

The mains are split into two sections which can be handy for those who do or don’t eat meat/ fish. The first part being meat and fish and the second being vegetables mains. The Meats and fish section has a whole 25 recipes including fish and celeriac chips and Tatar sauce, beef ragu and courgetti, sausage and cider stew, sea bream teriyaki, salmon with Argentinian chimichurri sauce, Sri Lankan lamb curry, Moroccan chicken stew and prawn laska.

The vegetable mains section has 21 recipes including mushroom quinoa nut roast with a chestnut apricot topping, flower power pizza, caramelised garlic tart with almond crust, smoked baked beans. Malaysian lentil and squash curry, beetroot and goats cheese terrine and feta and black bean burgers.

The dressings and dip section has 9 recipes including Thai sweet chilli sauce, pomegranate molasses dressing, kale pesto and lemon parsley cashew dip.

Baking and desserts has 22 fabulous recipes including avocado lime cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding, chocolate fig pudding, pineapple carpaccio with chilli, mint and lime, salted apricot caramels, pea and min ice cream or lollies with chocolate, chocolate avocado pudding, paradise bars, dark chocolate thins and chocolate wheels and multi seed load.

The final recipe section is drinks and it has 17 drinks from juices and smoothies to hot comforting drinks and a cocktail. They include fennel and mint juice, classic green cleansing juice, papaya smoothie, chocolate peanut butter and maca smoothie, Pina Colada smoothie, Mexican hot chocolate and blueberry lime and lavender cocktail.

The last few pages of the book include some great bonus information such as basic recipes and methods. It tells you how to make bone broth, activate and soak nuts/ pulses/ seed and pseudo grains, how to make your own nut butter, nut milks, sauerkraut and kimchi, it then lists quick menus such as which recipes are quick to make/ those for easy entertaining or those best for packed lunches and snacks and those great for festive seasons or Sunday roasts. It then has details on how to look after yourself when traveling and finally a list of stockists.

When I first got this book I didn’t cook anything from it and it probably sat on my book shelf for over a year (oh the shame!). However in January I stated a new protocol for my health and it left me quite unwell and pretty much tied to my bed or sofa. During that time I found watching telly white nauseating so I kept my spirits up and distracted myself by looking though my cookbooks.

I have now tried a few recipes from this book including Sri Lankan Lamb curry, baked broccoli fritters (my absolute favourite!), spicy avocado dip (yummy), chimichurri sauce, lamb meatballs (another favourite) and cauliflower tabbouleh and I have to say that they are now all regulars in my kitchen!

What I like
This book really is becoming one of my favourites because there are just so many recipes that I like. Many of the sides or salads could easily be served as a main as they are quite generous servings. I like how many of the recipes have side recipes included in them so you have an idea of what recipes go together. I also like that there are plenty of condiments and sauces that you can make that you can add to salads or cooked meats to keep them from being boring. Another plus is that many of the recipes are very tweak-able – if you don’t do quinoa or pulses it’s easy to make most of the recipe without these ingredients and sub with other foods that you can have. I’m also impressed with the section on basics such as how to make your bone broth and nut milks etc, as these are really useful things to know if you want to eat clean without breaking the bank (they are cheaper to make than buy!). I should point out here that many of the recipes in this book are quite large servings however that could be because I’ve been low carb for so long that I don’t fill my plate up high with food. Some of the dishes were listed as 4 servings where as I was able to get 6 portions. I decided to list this under a positive note because I personally like having left overs or extra servings when making recipes, as I dish them up into glass containers and freeze them, have them the next day for breakfast or they get packed and sent with my husband to work the next day for his lunch!

Any Downsides?

The only real downside (which really hasn’t been much of a problem for me), is that this book isn’t paleo and it’s not low carb/ ketogenic. However like most of the other cookbooks I have reviewed if you are low carb/ ketogenic chances are you will buy a book that’s aimed at that particular diet. Even though I am ketogenic I have been able to try plenty of these recipes easily – all I did was enter them into my keto diet app and work out how big/ small the portion needed to be for it to work with my macros.

Overall Rating

I have to give this book a whopping 5 out of 5 simply because I’m finding myself going to it more and more often. I don’t even have to follow the recipes – I can use the seasoning recommended on the meats or fish, make part of the salads or dips and before I know it, I’ve got a meal in itself! It’s great for inspiration, it’s got plenty of flavour, lots of ideas for making meal times exciting and still the old family favourites but more ‘clean’ than the originals. If you were thinking about starting a clean diet then this book is for you; if you want to go paleo but don’t know where to start – this book would be a great stepping stone. If you want to just try some new recipes then BUY THIS BOOK!! It really is a great all-rounder and even if you are low carb/ ketogenic or paleo I would STILL recommend this book as it has lots of recipes with avocado, meats, fish and other healthy low carb foods and uses homemade stocks and simple seasoning to flavour foods. If that isn’t enough to convince you, then I should add that it easily explains the reasons behind soaking foods, buying good quality produce (like organic), why It’s best to avoid things like plastics and non-stick cook wear, all without being too complicated, too long or boring. It really is a fantastic book that will leave you feeling rather smug – I can vouch for that and you’ll only need to take a look at my Instagram account to see people’s comments asking for the recipe or saying how delicious the foods look!!!

You can purchase The Art of Eating Well by Hemsley & Hemsley from Amazon for £12.49 (June 2016) and if you are interested they also have a Hemsley & Hemsley Spiralizer (Yep, I also have this – See the photo below!). In Spring 2016 they released their second book called ‘Good & Simple’ which is available on Amazon, also for £12.49 (June 2016) and I am just about to purchase my copy!

Spiralizer (1)

Other Cookbook Reviews

For more cookbook reviews take a look at the following posts…

Family Food by Chef Pete Evans
The Ketodiet Cookbook by Martina Slajerova
Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine by Sarah Fragoso
Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind by Vanessa Barajas
Energy Bites by DK

**The above review is my own personal opinion and I purchased the book myself**

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Energy Bites Cookbook Review

Energy Bites Cookbook Review – DK (Author)
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First up before I go on to talk about this book I have to point out two things; number one – this recipe book isn’t Paleo and secondly it’s certainly not low carb!! However it’s a great little book and I thought it was really worth reviewing especially as it’s a real bargain too at £2.99!

Originally I found this book (along with another one which I will also review) on amazon when I was looking for recipe books using nuts and seeds as its main ingredients. A friend of my had recently made the switch to a clean eating diet and was struggling to find recipes using her newly purchased ingredients. So I purchased it (along with ‘Energy Balls’) and sent them to my friend for some much-needed inspiration. As it happened I ended up ordering myself the same two books – ha!! Some books with Amazon allow you to scroll through the pages and after taking a look, recipes sounded so good I couldn’t resist buying myself a copy.

Now it’s not a huge book, it has just 15 recipes and 61 pages in total but it’s beautifully laid out with great colourful photos. Although it’s not ‘technically’ paleo, pretty much most of the ingredients in the recipes are and they are all ‘clean’ made using fresh raw ingredients and nothing artificial added.

It begins with a section explaining why it’s best to eat all natural food without artificial flavours or additives. It then goes on to discusses the top 20 ingredients such as seeds, nuts, quinoa, oats, coconut oil, cacao, berries, green vegetables, eggs and avocado to name a few! It then lists a whole range of other ingredients that are also great with a little bit of blur explaining what its benefits are; for example under nuts it lists Brazil’s as ‘A fantastic source of mono-saturated fatty acids and selenium. Brazil nuts are great for the hair and skin’.

The next few pages explain the ‘formula’ for making energy bites, breaking down the components in to nuts, dried fruit, powder (e.g. Maca, Baobab), ‘sticky stuff’ such as coconut oil, tahini or honey and the final component being the coating (what the energy ball gets rolled in to finish). The great bit about this is that you can use this formula to go on and create your own recipes/ concoctions! It also has the step by step method for making the bites (for raw recipes),as well as details on soaking ingredients (such as pulses), pre-boiling or cooking and a range of methods for making savoury bites.

The sweet recipes are tropical immune boosters, peanut butter and banana balls, Apple Pie antioxidant bites, fruit and nut, super food granola balls, cranberry and fig spice balls, raw chocolate and avocado and banana recovery ice bites.

The savoury section consists of carrot and beetroot buckwheat balls, pea green high protein munchers, nut and seed nutrient boosters, hemp coated quinoa crunchers, sweet potato chilli bites, broccoli and maca powerhouse balls and kale covered coconut blasts.

Right at the very back is a great little glossary that explains all the ‘nutrition’ terms, such as ‘Amino Acids’ “used in every cell of the body, amino acids are the building blocks for protein and also aid tissue growth and repair”

What I like
This little book is awesome and really worth every penny! It’s an absolute bargain and I think it would make a great gift for both children and adults as the recipes are super tasty and easy to make. Although it’s not specifically paleo it would be easy to tweak many of the recipes to make them so. The weekend I got this book my husband and I whipped up a batch of sweet bites and although they were quite carby I was still able to have a small taste and can vouch for them being really tasty. The recipes we tried were tropical, fruit and nut and the super-food granola balls.

Any Downsides?
The ONLY downside with this book is that it’s not really going to be used much if a person is low carb as many of the recipes contain dried fruit or other ingredients that make them high in carbs. It wouldn’t be impossible to reduce the fruit/ high carb ingredients and do a little subbing (I tried it) but it becomes a bit trickier to get them to stick together and obviously it has an impact on the taste.

Overall
Overall I would say that this book has to get 5 stars out of 5!!! YES!! It’s got the gold seal of approval. Although it’s not ideal for low carb and some of the ingredients aren’t paleo, there is plenty of inspiration and the recipes can be tweaked. Its prefect for parents and those wanting to eat clean – you could make a batch of bites and that’s breakfast or snacks sorted for the week! I also like how much information there is in this book – it tells you what foods are good for you without being too complicated or boring.

Energy Bites can be purchased from Amazon for 2.99 (June 2016)

Other Cookbook Reviews

If you want to see more cookbook reviews take a look at the following posts …

Family Food by Chef Pete Evans
The Ketodiet Cookbook by Martina Slajerova
Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine by Sarah Fragoso
Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind by Vanessa Barajas

**The above review is my own personal opinion and I purchased the book myself**

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Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind Cookbook Review

Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind by Vanessa Barajas
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When I first got my copy of clean eating with a dirty mind I was super excited as I had seen so many people Instagramming their selfies (while smugly clutching a copy) and saying how awesome it was. And they were not wrong, this book is pretty fancy pants and it leaves no heavenly dessert stone unturned.

The book is a whopping 432 pages and broken down into two parts, the first part being ‘The essentials’ where it tells you everything you want to know about the whys and how’s of Paleo. It discusses what the paleo diet is (including ‘what to avoid’), a list of appliances and how necessary they are, a list of paleofied ingredients such as flours, sweeteners and fats and plenty of tips for measuring and troubleshooting, which is particularly handy as it can give you an insight into why your muffin’s have sunk, why your sponge has a soggy bottom or why your sauce has separated.

What I didn’t expect was this book to have a range of savoury dishes! In the ‘meal ticket’ section savoury recipes include biscuits and Cajun sausage gravy, pesto reloaded, French onion and bacon tart, bacon cheeseburger stuffed potatoes, chipotle coleslaw, duck fat fries and pizza soup! It was a pleasant surprise as I had shamelessly assumed that it was purely deserts.

Other recipe sections include bake my day, confections of a dirty mind, easy as pie, let them eat cake, that the way the cookie crumbles, what’s the scoop and whisky business. All of the recipes from ‘bake my day’ on wards are deserts ranging from pies, cakes, bars and cookies to glaze and fillings. There really is a lot to choose from if you’re looking to impress!

“Bake my day” includes recipes such as S’mores bars, sour cherry crumble bars, billionaire bars, brownie crumb donuts, pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookie bottom.

“Confections of a dirty mind” include white chocolate, almond butter cups, salted caramel cups, cookie dough fudge, chocolate covered toffee, brown sugar bacon and caramel crème brulee.

“Easy as pie is” – as you may have guessed – the sweet ‘pie’ section with old-fashioned flaky pie crust, graham cracker crust, pumpkin pie, S’mores pie, blueberry lemon tarts and strawberry meringue tartlets.

“Let them eat cake” is the cake section where you can really get to grips with paleo ingredients and make some fabulous show stoppers. Recipes include classic yellow cake, blackberry elder-flower cake, death by chocolate cake, S’mores cupcakes, key lime cheesecake cups, “Reese’s” cheesecake and spooky Halloween cake.

“That’s the way the cookie crumbles” is (yes, you guessed it!) the section on cookies with recipes including chocolate fudge cookies, shortbread cookies, paleo moon-pies, soft batch chocolate chip cookies, French macarons and soft and chewy gingerbread cookies.
“What’s the scoop” is the frozen section for ice creams, pops and bars and recipes include the best chocolate ice cream, cookie dough sandwiches, almond butter and jelly ice cream sandwiches, sea salt and honey ice cream, banana bites, coffee ice cream, peach sorbet and pumpkin ice cream.

The final recipe section “whisky business” is based around fillings, glazes, frosting and creamy stuff! It includes maple sugar, ganache three ways, chocolate shell coating, sour cherry compote, lemon curd, chocolate butter cream, elder-flower mascarpone and goat cheese frosting and lemon glaze.

Now without sounding like I’m down on this book (I’m not, it really is a work of art) I do have a bit of a mixed review on it. This is partly because of its layout and partly down to its ingredients, but I’ll try to explain as much as possible so that you can decide whether this book is for you.

What I Liked
The advantages to this book are that it is jam-packed with tips, hints, subs and extra ideas to make many of the recipes even more super awesome. There are little info-graphics to show if a recipe is nut free, dairy free (we’ll come to that below), or egg free which I thought was pretty handy. As paleo ingredients don’t act the same as grain/ non paleo ingredients you have to be mindful of that when mixing, cooking and allowing to cool, therefore the troubleshooting section is a bit of a god send as it can explain what it is you might be doing wrong! I also like that although it might be complicated to a paleo newbie, this book takes things to the next level and will give you a whole range of ultimate show stoppers. This is probably the best-selling point for this book, because many paleo dieters have made the change to this way of eating as a lifestyle choice (not just for a few weeks or months to lose weight!). So this book takes desserts to the gold standard of baking, and is like a big fat middle finger to those who ask if paleo food is ‘boring’ or comes out with that annoying question every Paleo eater gets fed up of being asked… “don’t you miss …” (fill in the blank!).

Any Downsides?
I was particularly surprised that there are a number of recipes in this book made using dairy because I had assumed they would be dairy free; ingredients include butter, cheese, mascarpone and ghee – which isn’t technically dairy but is still to be avoided by those who are super sensitive to dairy products. That said, many paleo people do still consume dairy and I don’t want that to put you off as these recipes do have ‘sub notes’ and everything you need to know to adapt the recipe for dairy free, but you need to pay attention to changes in weight or volume when subbing. The only real downfall (which is what I found personally) was that a LOT of the recipes are made up using a number of other recipes in the book. For example the sweet brownie sundae with brown sugar bacon crumbles is made up of 4 different recipes , most with 4-5 ingredients which you have to make beforehand before you’re able to start making the initial recipe. It does note in the ingredients section which page to refer to (for e.g. Better than brownie box batter page 110) but It could get very confusing as it means a lot of too-ing and fro-ing. Now don’t me wrong, the recipes really do look and sound amazing but for some of the more fancy pants ones, you need to be prepared to do some prep work and take your time.

Another thing to consider with this book is the type of paleo diet you are following, It’s not AIP, I quite sugar, Low carb, Ketogenic or FODMAP friendly as many of the recipes contain quite a lot of sweetness (either from coconut sugar, maple sugar or dried fruits), however that’s not the fault of the book – but it is worth noting if you are following any of these diets.

Overall Rating
If you are ‘just’ paleo (not low carb, AIP or FODMAP) one of the great things about this book is that there are so many awesome recipes, many that are (dare I say) better than the original non-paleo versions. There are some real show stoppers that would be great to make on special occasions and you certainly wouldn’t feel like you’re missing out on anything (as many non-paleo people seem to think!!). If you are prone to falling off the wagon or often crave non-paleo sweets and treats, then get this book because it will stop that from happening!

I have only actually tried one of the recipes (flour-less Almond Butter Cookies) from this book as many of them are very carby and I have to manage my carbs levels (I didn’t realize when I purchased it – doh!). The recipe turned out really well and they were chewy and soft and I really enjoyed them; I am planning on making one of the more special cakes for my husband’s birthday, so keep an eye on my Instagram as I will no doubt be uploading photos once I have picked and made something! Considering I’ve only tried one recipe from this book and I am limited (as I am Ketogenic) I’m not disappointed because I know that when I want an extra special treat I can look to this book and find something.

Rating wise I was torn between a three or four out of 5 because its photos are amazing, the tips and handy hints are really helpful and the recipes really look fantastic, but the downside is that many of the recipes are made up of other recipes, which could end in confusion! However I think I will settle on a four because I really do think this is a great book mostly because it really highlights the awesome things you can make on the Paleo diet. I would say that newbie paleo people should probably approach this book with caution, as it takes time adapting to the paleo diet on its own without introducing complicated recipes. For those who are already very comfortable and confident with the paleo diet and cooking this way, and for those who are not limited to the ingredients they can use – I would say to go for it, you will be spoilt for choice.

You can purchase Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind from Amazon – Its £20.66 (June 2016)

Other Cookbook Reviews

For more cookbook reviews take a look at the following posts….

Family Food – Chef Pete Evans
Ketodiet Cookbook Review – Martina Slajerova
Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine – Sarah Fragoso

**The above review is my own personal opinion and I purchased the book myslef**

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Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine Cookbook Review

Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine by Sarah Fragoso

 

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When this book was first recommended to me, I had never heard of Sarah so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had a look through the comments and feedback on Amazon and can say that I was really impressed with what people had to say. I’ve always loved food with spice and flavour so finding a cookbook that combined Thai and paleo sounded pretty awesome!

The book is made up of 288 pages and is broken down into two main sections. The first one is about the ingredients, the tools and then the recipes, whereas the second section is about Thailand, Sarah’s visit there and what to expect from the culture, which is an added bonus if you were planning on visiting there.

The main body of the book is broken down into the following sections; Introduction, Thai kitchen essentials (The ingredients and tools of Thai cuisine), Essential condiments and curry pastes, appetizers and salads, fried rice noodles and dishes, curries and soups, stir fry and seafood and desserts. The section after all the recipes is where Sarah discusses her visit to Thailand and is broken down into the following; Meet the team, planning our trip to Thailand, Thai culture and what to know before you go, the adventure begins, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khao Lak, the gulf of Thailand, back to Bangkok and returning home. The last few page of the book includes two recipe indexes, one where the recipes are broken down by food type (e.g. essentials, condiment’s and curry pastes, curries and soups and desserts) but are shown in photographs of the main dish, whereas the other index is the usual written A to Z of recipes.

The Thai kitchen essentials section gives a brief bit of background to Thai food then discussed in great detail the types of fresh herbs and vegetables commonly used in Thai cooking. This is particularly helpful as it gives you an idea of what each ingredient brings to a dish (e.g. spice, warmth or sweetness etc). It also lists substitutions for some of the ingredients (and which ones are sadly not worth subbing and why). It also lists the best places to find some of the ingredients e.g. amazon or the direct company website which I found particularly helpful as I was able to compare them to brands that I was able to easily source in the UK. It also discusses the merits for purchasing certain ingredients ethically such as palm sugar and palm oil. It also gives an insight into the tools and gadgets that you’ll likely need, giving an understanding of them and what kinds of recipes you’ll need them for.

There is a section within the ‘Thai kitchen essentials’ that discusses rice and noodles, which although aren’t paleo, it explains the traditional Thai versions and how they can be incorporated into a Paleo diet (however it does point out that they are best avoided if you are autoimmune). At the beginning of the book there are two ‘recipes’ that give you some great tips for cooking rice, but don’t worry – if you aren’t able to eat rice there is a section later in the book called fried rice, noodles and egg dishes. All the recipes are easily made with rice or cauli-rice (for those who don’t tolerate rice) and are simple to follow.

The condiments and curry paste section of this book is really handy because it gives you all the basics you can make for most Thai dishes – everything from coconut milk to sweet chilli sauce. It’s really helpful because you can easily make these and store them in your fridge for future use (not just in Thai dishes but to add some flavour to other foods). It also gives you the recipes for green, red and yellow Thai curry paste, so if you were unable to purchase some ready-made you could always buy the ingredients and make it yourself (storing any leftover mixture either in the fridge or the freezer). Recipes include Jasmine and sticky rice, garlic infused vinegar, beef marinade, oyster sauce, dried chili dipping sauce, cucumber relish and sweet chilli sauce.

The Appetizers and Salads section include a wide range of dishes that can be made as sides or starters, and they include spring rolls, garlic fried prawns, grilled pork or chicken, papaya salad, Pomelo salad, Thai seafood or ground meat salad, spicy snow mushroom salad and green mango salad.

The fried rice, noodles and egg dishes section is really great because it gives both rice and noodle options as well as substitutions if you are avoiding these items. For example the Thai fried rice recipe includes the recipe and ingredients list for how to make it with rice and with cauli-rice. The stir fried rice noodles recipe does the same – it tells you how to make the recipe using rice noodles and a substitute (in this case it uses green or napa cabbage).

If you thought that you couldn’t get any tastier then you’re in for a surprise as there is also a curries and soups section which is separate from the main dishes and includes red, yellow and green curry, Massaman curry, duck curry with fresh fruit, Panaeng curry, spicy northern curry, southern sour curry, sweet and sour chicken and coconut soup, creamy hot and sour prawn soup and sour and spicy prawn with Lemongrass soup!

The next section includes stir-fry and seafood recipes and are relatively quick and easy to prepare. They include sweet basil leaf stir-fry, crab and yellow curry stir-fry, stir-fried pork with curry, shrimp stir-fry with curry, sir-fired Pak Miang, stir-fried mix vegetables, deep-fried fish with Chu Chee curry sauce, deep-fried fish cakes and fish with Tri-flavoured sauce.

Finally we have the desert section of this book, which is the smallest section with just 5 recipes; Fried banana, coconut pancakes, bananas in coconut milk, mango sticky rice and pumpkin recipe however, for me I found this a bonus as I had assumed that it was just meals.

What I Like
Most of the recipes in this book are meals (savoury) which I really like because it means there are plenty of ideas for weekly meals. It’s a great book for those who love takeout food, as it’s something that can be missed when you go paleo (Paleo takeaways sadly just don’t exist!). Once you try any of these recipes you’ll become addicted to trying a new one each weekend. There really is something for everyone, from really fragrant and spicy (creamy hot and sour soup) to mild and simple (Deep fried fish with Thai herbs – which is really delicious!). I have tried the red, green and yellow Thai curry; the deep-fried fish with Thai herbs and the Cashew nut stir fry. All were delicious and have become favourites in our household. One of the best bits about these meals is that they freeze really well, I’ve made the Red/ yellow and Green curries (with a variety of meats from chicken to venison) and they all froze fabulously! This is really important in my household as it means on the days when I struggle with my health (which is most days) but want something to eat while the hubby is at work – I can just bung a portion in the microwave and eat it once it’s cooked through.

Any Down sides?
So, what are the cons with this book? The main and only real gripe I have with this book is the use of ingredients, which isn’t really the books fault. Any Thai cookbook will call for these ingredients – the difficulty is that some of them are more difficult to find if you want them to be paleo friendly. For example many fish sauces, tamarind pastes or curry pastes all have added nasties sugar or are heavily processed and the ones that are suitable (e.g. the red boat fish sauce) are REALLY pricey or just really hard to find! (I almost fainted when I saw how expensive the red boat fish sauce was!) So if you want to try any of these dishes it can take a bit of prep initially before you’re able to get cooking.

However, that said there ARE ways around this, which I discovered when I started to source the various ingredients. Where you live can help or hinder your ability to source the ingredients, for example if you live somewhere where there are an abundance of Asian or Indian shops, chances are you’ll be able to find most of the fresh ingredients that you need (coriander, Lemongrass, chillies), so I would highly recommend you go check these places out. It’s more likely to be the things like the shrimp paste, coconut aminos (used in place of soy sauce), fish sauce and curry pastes that can be difficult to find (nasties free that is!). I sourced all of the brands recommended in Sarah book (through the internet) and checked out their ingredients – then I looked on Ocado (a UK-based online shop) and found that there were a lot of (other brands) available that had the same ingredients that were also paleo friendly. I also checked out the options on good old Amazon because whenever you search an item on there, they’ll always show other brands or similar items. For the UK I would say that Thai Taste is a great brand and is quite easy to find, not to mention decently priced. I used their green, yellow and red massam curry paste and their shrimp paste (they also do a coconut milk too). I also found that online food shops have a better range of fresh ingredients (especially Ocado and Tesco) so it can sometimes be easier to do a food shop online rather than going into the store, as the store can sometimes be out of stock and it then feels like a wasted journey.

A small tip once you manage to find the ingredients you need, to help make it last longer is to freeze it – I bought some (snack sized) food bags and put tablespoons of tamarind past into each one then froze them (remember to write down what it is and the date you froze it). That way if you don’t use up the entire packet once you’ve opened it, it will stay fresh for longer. You can also freeze fresh lemongrass, chilies, shrimp paste, coconut aminos and fish sauce. You can use ice-cube moulds to freeze liquid in – once frozen, pop them out into a freezer bag and keep frozen. With these tips in mind, it means that storing and having the right ingredients to hand is much easier.

Overall Review
Overall I would say that this book is well worth 4 out of 5! The reason for this is because it’s full of meal ideas that are exciting, flavorsome and most of them are really simple to make. I would have given it a whole 5 but I am aware that it could be difficult to source some of the ingredients which may put people off. This would mean you would need to make some of the pastes yourself which involves a lot of prep and that’s before you have even started thinking about cooking the dish! Another factor is specialty diets, those who are low carb, FODMAP or AIP would probably struggle with this book at most recipes use a number of spices, seeds, egg and other ingredients that these diets aim to cut out. However, that is by no means a fault of the book – it’s just one of those things that I thought needs mentioning. For those who are able to eat these foods or don’t follow a special type of paleo diet I would highly recommend buying it. It’s the perfect way to keep meals exciting, ideal for weekends especially for replacing take-away meals and even perfect for entertaining as many of the dishes can be prepared partly in advance.

You can purchase Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine from Amazon for £22.99 (June 2016)

Other Cookbook Reviews

For other cookbook reviews take a look at the following posts…

Chef Pete Evans
The Ketodiet Cookbook
Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind

** The review above is my own personal opinion and I purchased the book myself **

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The Ketodiet Cookbook Review

The Ketodiet Cookbook
So let’s get straight into things and talk about the fabulous opportunity I’ve had to be able to review a copy of Martina Slajerovas Ketogenic Cookbook (The KetoDiet Cookbook). Now for those who may be new to me, I started on a paleo diet back in October 2013 after my private specialist doctor recommended I change my diet in order to help manage my symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) (for more details see here). Later on in my journey I was also advised to follow a Ketogenic diet (see details here), which I did religiously for 9 months. Sadly the diet didn’t suit me and I had to make the tough decision to stop. However I do remain on a low carb – high fat diet and many of the recipes and foods I eat are taken from ketogenic websites. I am a big fan of Martina’s and have followed her work since May 2014.

Background
For those who might not have yet come across Martina’s work (Oh dear – have you been living under a rock!!!) I’ll give you a brief background. Martina has a blog called the KetoDietApp as well as an android and Apple App which helps you to track your health, log your daily foods and recipes as well as the option to purchase recipe bundles through the app. Not only does Martina have literally hundreds of recipes she has just launched this cookbook. So Martina is by no means a newbie to the ketogenic diet and has been developing and writing recipes for her blog from as early as 2012. I will be reviewing the KetoDiet app at a later date and have in the past referred to her blog as it’s very useful; not only is it jam-packed full of recipes but it includes the science and facts behind the ketogenic diet, the how’s, what’s, whys and anything else you might want to know. When I found out about Martina’s book I was super excited. In order to give a detailed review I will start with a breakdown of the book and what to expect.

With 240 pages, this book has everything from easy to make snacks to tasty flavoursome meals. It starts off by giving a brief but clear introduction into the ketogenic diet, how it works, what the key components are, a breakdown of the types of foods to eat as well as those to avoid which is super helpful when you are starting out. It’s then broke down into the following chapters; Homemade basics, breakfast, savoury snacks, healthy lunch ideas, satisfying soups and salads, main meals, sides, drinks and desserts then to finish off the index and about the author.

So what can you expect from this book? I can honestly say that you won’t be disappointed; there are plenty of recipes that you are likely to make. I find that with some cook books you’ll only have a small handful of recipes that appeal to you and the rest get bypassed. Not with this book, for starters the ‘Basics’ section alone is packed full of the everyday things that you might have thought you would have to do without! Whether you are one of those people who couldn’t bear to give up your sandwiches and wraps or are a saucy person and like to have dressings and condiments with foods there will be something here that will satisfy you. To give you an idea, recipes in the basics section include breads and wraps, condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise, bone broth which is useful to adding flavour to foods, cauli rice and spreads such as jam and nut butter.

The breakfast selection is also great as it has a wide variety of options (hot/ cold), including Keto Eggs Benedict, Eastern European Hash, Breakfast Frittata, Vanilla Protein Waffles, Chocolate and Orange Spiced Granola, Sweet Cinnamon Rolls and Hot Keto Porridge. I particularly like that there are options that can be made and kept for a few days so that you can have something for those days you are on the go.

The chapter I love the most has to be the main meals section because there are so many really great recipes. I am a big fan of eating food that’s full of flavour and I like any recipe where spices are used – and I don’t mean in the sense of being spicy hot; I mean having a good taste and range of natural seasoning’s rather than being boring or bland and there are plenty of recipes in this section to fulfil those requirements. I particularly like that there are a wide range of traditional home foods e.g. Paleo Chicken Kiev’s, (which were super tasty and the coating was the best bread crumb substitute I’ve come across!) Shepherd’s Pie and Slow Roast Pork Belly. I think it’s fantastic that there are a range of world-wide cuisines such as Buffalo Chicken Wings, Thai Style Chicken Stir Fry, Sweet and Sour Chilli Prawns (which have been officially stamped as my husband’s absolute favourite), Asian Fish Balls, Cuban Shredded Beef, Italian ‘Meatza’, Lamb Vindaloo and Danish Meatballs. There is literally something for everyone and those are just a few of what’s on offer.

Another section of this book that I was pleasantly surprised by is the sides section; although there are just a handful of recipes there are some really great ideas, things that I hadn’t considered before like the Broccoli Patties, Shaved Asparagus and Garlic and Herb Cauliflower.

Now if you are like me the section of a recipe book that I always head to first is the desserts section and this book doesn’t disappoint. There are a total of 15 sweet recipes in this section and it also contains a number of hot and cold drinks too which is perfect if you want something sweet but don’t want a dessert. They include Creamy Hot Chocolate, Refreshing Iced Tea and Egg Nog. From the sweets I have already tried the double chocolate muffins which had what can only be described as having a wonderful fudgy texture and you can’t even tell they have avocado in which is a bonus for those who want a way to get the benefits of avocado into their diet without having to taste them! From the drinks options I tested out the Creamy Keto Smoothie which would be perfect after a workout or as a lunchtime meal.

What I like
This book has everything you could need to make the change to a clean or low carb / ketogenic diet. Whether you are a sweet or savoury person there is plenty to satisfy both. What I also like is that it has dairy substitutes which are a big help for those who can’t have dairy. Many of the recipes will have added tips so that you understand the use of ingredients, such as why whole psyllium husk will work better than ground, which means you’re less likely to try and wing something with the wrong ingredients (YES I’ve been guilty of that and ended up with a disaster!!). It also has ALL of the nutritional information that you need for a ketogenic diet – it works out the fat, carbs, protein, calories and fibre per serving for you. I like the fact that it’s not just aimed at people following a ketogenic diet – if you picked it up and didn’t know what the ketogenic diet was, the recipes are all appealing, tasty and most are easy to make. There are plenty of photographs throughout the book to whet your appetite and a whole range of tastes from lightly seasoned to dishes with a little more spice.
Any downsides?
Like with many cook books I’ve come across, some recipes will use sauces or sides that are a separate recipe, such as the burger recipe (Ultimate Guacburger on page 156) will require making the buns and BBQ sauce ahead of time – however you can just make the burgers and served with salad and they taste just as great (I know because I have tried them!). If a person was new to clean eating, paleo and the low carb world this book would be perfect for them as it explains a lot throughout the book about certain ingredients used (e.g. which protein powders to choose, what ingredients give crispier textures and other substitutes).

Overall rating
Although I received a copy of this book for free, I wanted to be as honest as possible when reviewing it. I approached the review with an open mind as I had to consider that it might not live up to my expectations (like some of the cookbooks I have purchased in the past). Luckily it turned out to be everything I was hoping and I can honestly say that it deserves a 5 out of 5 for ranking because ‘it ticks more boxes than it doesn’t’. And what I mean about that is that it’s low carb√, its grain free√, gluten-free√, dairy free√ and free from any processed ingredients√. This book will appeal to a whole range of people e.g. not only those following ketogenic diet but those who are paleo/ primal, those who are low carb, who have diet restrictions such as coeliac, those sensitive to gluten or intolerant to diary. It teaches you how to make recipes without adding in extra sugars and uses good old-fashioned cooking such as using real spices and flavours to make great tasting food. What’s more is that this book is really decently priced – especially as it has well over 150 recipes!!! If you are unsure what to think you only have to head over to Martina’s blog (here) and check out all her other recipes to see that this woman knows her stuff!!!!

You can purchase The Ketodiet Cookbook from Amazon for £10.47 (June 2016)
Other Cookbook Reviews

For more cookbook reviews take a look at the following posts….

Family Food – Chef Pete Evans
Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine – Sarah Fragoso
Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind – Vanessa Barajas

**The above review is my own personal opinion; I was given a copy of the book for free in exchange for a review. I had been intending to purchase the book anyway**

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Chef Pete Evans Cookbook Review

Chef Pete Evans

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be a hoarder of all things books. You name it and I have it – an iPad with book function, check! A kindle, check, paperback, hardback, cookery, fiction and self-help books – check, check and check! So when I changed to a Stone Age diet (October 2013) it gave me more than an excuse I needed to purchase some new cook books – yay!

As there are so many books to choose from in the Primal / Stone age / paleo cook world, I thought it would be super helpful if I gave a short review on each book, giving a breakdown of the best bits and the not so best bits. That way it can (hopefully) help you into deciding which cook book is the one you should try/ go out and buy.

First up is the popular Chef Pete Evans and here in the UK it’s known as Family food (see image). It’s known as a slightly different name in the AUS and has a different front cover.

Family food – 130 delicious paleo recipes for every day By Pete Evans
With a whopping 295 pages (a vast majority being meals and savoury dishes) this book is broken down into the following sections; breakfast, baby and toddler foods, kids lunches, mains, sides, snack, sweets and Christmas (it also has a few drinks listed to!). It’s easy to navigate and if you didn’t know it was paleo, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell as the recipes are traditional recipes and family favourites. Since purchasing the book I have already tried a number of the recipes and already have two tabbed as my favourites. These are the Jamaican Jerk chicken and Butter chicken. I found that I was able to do both in the slow cooker and both froze really well – a HUGE bonus for anyone paleo and wanting a quick meal (just defrost overnight and reheat either in a microwave, or for those who are against the beeping box – an oven will do!).

I personally like food to be full of flavour and spices – not necessarily ‘spicy hot’ but more flavourful, I love to taste the undertones of the spices like turmeric, paprika, coriander and so on and I loved that this book had a number of recipes that fulfilled that. These recipes include lamb korma, satay chicken skewers, fish stir fry with ginger and chilli, quick prawn Laska and Mexican chicken meatballs with tomatillo sauce.

For those of you who prefer your food without a kick of spice or chilli, then you may like the mussels with tomato and basil, lamb shank pie (one that I CANNOT wait to try) or an age tradition ‘My meatloaf’. There is literally something for everyone – fish, poultry, red meat or vegetarian – many of the recipes can be tweaked to use whatever you have in the fridge.

What I thought was particularly clever is the kids lunches section because not only did it include some obvious favourites like chicken nuggets, spaghetti and meatballs and mini pizzas (ham and pineapple minis pizzas), but it had some simple alternatives such as pad Thai and lamb koftas with kale and tahini dip. I was also really impressed with the baby and toddler section as it has a number of recipes (sweet and savoury) that are packed full of goodness without the added sugar. They include tropical fruit, liver and sweet potato and beef, vegetable and turmeric spiced fish – pretty awesome if you ask me!

The snack selection includes banana bread, strawberry bliss balls, ‘Nics seed crackers’, a variety of dips (beetroot, smoke trout, kale and tahini and cashew cheese dip to name a few), parsnip chips and beef jerky so there is something for those who like a savoury pick me up as well as those with a sweet tooth. The sweets section also has a good selection with cheese cake, ice cream, muffins cup cakes and cookies. But the greatest bit is that it has a ‘how to’ make a paleo birthday cake covering everything from the ‘sponge’ to the filling and even the coconut icing and decoration – a huge plus in my opinion!

The Christmas section is an added bonus especially if you are fairly new to paleo and are dreading the upcoming season. It can be a scary thing if you are catering for non-paleo people as you don’t want to create too much work for yourself but you also don’t want others to miss out. But worry not – because there are recipes to please all. The glazed Christmas ham and the roast turkey with herb marinate will be suitable for paleo and non-paleo, full of flavour but with no added nasties! (No one will know that there’s no Oxo cubes used in it!). There is a king prawn recipe for the traditional Christmas starter and mince pies, trifle or raw Christmas puddings for after (yay!)
There is a small glossary section at the back of the book giving a little bit information on common paleo ingredients, which can be useful when you are first starting out as it helps you understand the different ingredients.

Although I have tried a few of the recipes, there are still that I am waiting to try, which is always a good sign that you are enjoying a recipe book. I have had a good look through the book and scrutinized many of the recipes, to get an idea of how much work would go into recreating them and whether it is something that’s going to be a difficult task. Overall most recipes are fairly straight forward and no tricky bits, however I did find that one or two of them refer to other recipes (such as crackers with dips e.g. you have to make the dip as well as the crackers) but this is the case with only a few recipes. As a result I would suggest (as I would with ANY cook book) always have a read through the method/ ingredients list first so that you don’t get half way through making something only to find you need to have previously made one of the components!

If I were to give this book a star rating I would say it deserves a hefty 5 out of 5. It’s physically attractive with clear photos to entice you, the instructions are simple and easy to follow and overall it has a really great selection. There are plenty of ‘crowd pleaser’ recipes, more than enough simple and quick ideas and enough ‘dazzle’ or show off recipes if you were looking to impress. Most of the recipes are easy enough to make in everyday life without needing to get any extra specialty ingredient items. Now obviously you will need common paleo ingredients (like almond flour and coconut cream for cakes) but for someone who’s been paleo for some time, there was nothing ‘out of the ordinary’ that I needed to complete the recipes. I doubt you could pick this book up and not find a handful of recipes that you can’t wait to try – this book is my new ‘go to’ and can easily be used day-to-day.

You can purchase Family Food from Amazon for £15.90 (June 2016)

Other Cookbook Reviews

For more cookbook reviews take a look at the following posts….

The Ketodiet Cookbook – Martina SlajerovaEveryday Paleo Thai Cuisine – Sarah Fragoso
Clean eating with a dirty mind – Vanessa Barajas

**The review above is my own personal opinion and I purchased the book myself**

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