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!
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.
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!
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**