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