COOKBOOKS TO KEEP YOU INSPIRED FOR A TASTY, HAPPY YEAR AHEAD
I'm often on the lookout for healthy inspiration in the kitchen but also on my mind is ease and cost effectiveness. I've been on my fair share of faddy diets in my time, and my relationship with food hasn't always been a happy one. Not only that but the information out there on what we should and shouldn't be eating can often be overwhelming and all consuming with conflicting and misleading messages backed by pseudoscience that renders us completely and utterly confused! Anyone who watched the recent BBC Two Horizon Documentary on "clean-eating" will know what I mean. So these days I'm far more concerned with cramming the good stuff in than I am with obsessively cutting stuff out and punishing myself. I refuse to give up my love of cake entirely, but it's all about finding a balance and still ensuring that amongst the odd treat here and there, you're getting in the goodness too.
Using food as fuel and understanding how it makes you feel both mentally and physically has become something of an interest to me and this month I've made a couple of fab foodie book discoveries that have been helping me to learn more and cook good, (mostly) quick and tasty food to boot. Goodness doesn't have to be boring, nor does it have to take ages or involve a load of expensive ingredients. Two books that I've discovered this year so far have been teaching me just that.
Personally I find cookbooks so useful for inspiration, even if I don't fully follow every morsel of a particular author's philosophy and perhaps don't always follow each and every recipe to the latter, I still enjoy using books to inspire and encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and to introduce me to, or perhaps even just remind me of, some different ingredients for my usual weekly shopping list. Using a book to inspire and learn doesn't mean you have to be rigid with your food or diet, I still believe it's important to be creative with the recipes in order to make sure you're getting the most out of what you have in your cupboards and avoid unnecessary waste. With almost 50% of food thrown away each year in the UK being domestic* it's important to work with what you have and try to make small, healthier choices and changes along the way.
*Source Olive Magazine Jan 2017
Two books that have been offering up some delicious, healthy and achievable recipes for me this month have been The Medicinal Chef: Healthy Every Day by Dale Pinnock and The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food by Rachel Kelly and Alice Mackintosh. I've spent much of this month trying many recipes from both and have enjoyed each and every bite! I also love how each book celebrates food rather than making it seem like a complicated chore. Fresh recipes that use everyday ingredients and invite you to view food in a positive light, for all of its benefits and abilities to enhance our sense of well-being. To enjoy food without feeling guilty whilst still understanding the effects that it can have on the body and to use that in a positive fashion.
When it comes to busy lifestyles both also offer up quick and easy recipes alongside recipes that you can take your time over at the weekends, or whenever you have longer, and want to enjoy the process of creating something mouth-watering just much as you want to eat it - because the act of cooking in itself can be incredibly therapeutic and calming.
In Healthy Every Day you will find a little run down on each recipe that explains the benefits of the ingredients that you are using. Three of my all time favourite recipes so far from this book have to be the cold-busting wasabi salmon skewers, can-do chicken kebabs and the feel-good fish pie.
The Happy Kitchen has been collated into sections that depend on what you might be looking for your food to do fo you. For example, choose from recipe sections such as beating the blues, balanced energy and sweet dreams to find a suitable recipe that's right for you at that particular moment. I've recently made the zingy courgette, pea and coconut soup and the kedgeree and have totally delighted in the warming, tastiness of both during this chilly winter that we've been having.
So those are two of my favourite, totally personal (and not sponsored!) picks for a thoroughly appetising New Year! I love to share the things that have been making me tick and with New Year being a time that many focus on healthier habits, I feel that these books offer up useful, non-faddy advice that's just made to make your mouth water!
Let me know where you like to get your feel-good and actually actionable foodie inspiration from too? It's always good to know where my next source of foodie fun might be coming from!