Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Brittany Angell's Every Last Crumb is a Masterpiece

After seeing all the rave reviews of Brittany Angell's Every Last Crumb, I had to check it out for myself. This book definitely deserves all the fantastic press it's getting.

This book is beyond gorgeous. Brittany poured her heart and soul into the recipes and you can really tell. The design is seriously droolworthy, the instructions well laid out and easy to follow, and the recipes absolutely irresistible. I found myself marking-up nearly every other page as something to try - everything looks so good (I'll be honest here - it would have been every page, but my waist can't afford that kind of eating!)

Recipes range in complexity from the simple 5 minute mug cake (delicious!) to time consuming croissants (that look so, so, so very good - croissants were my favourite treat before I was forced to go gluten-free). We have tried a number of recipes (the naan, the mug cakes) and they have all turned out well. Next on the list of things to try (though they will have to wait until the weekend): the bagels, the cinnamon rolls and the croissants!

Heads-up: You will need a scale to cook most recipes. Not all recipes are paleo (rice flour is used) which didn't bother me since I'm gluten-free, not paleo.

Bottom line: the recipes will make you drool - don't flip through this beauty on an empty stomach!

(Disclaimer: I borrowed this from the library. Three weeks with "Every Last Crumb" is not enough - I will be purchasing a copy of my own very soon!)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Cooking up a storm: My Favourite Cookbooks in 2014 and the One's I'm Eagerly Awaiting in 2015

I have been woefully remiss about posting here of late! In fact its been a full year since I've posted a single thing on here. The truth? I've been busy cooking up a storm (less baking and more healthy everyday meals). I've received so many beautiful cookbooks in 2014 and been devouring the recipes peppering the pages.

2014 was a great year, though busy, full of life milestones. I left the corporate world to work on my own start-up, got married and finally got my very own spiralizer which I will be playing with in 2015.

Check out my Rascal trying out the dress, post- wedding!

I resolve to be better in 2015. I will share more of my "everyday", "boring" recipes and I won't wait for baking masterpieces to inspire me.

What were some of my favourite cookbooks in 2014?

My Darling Lemon Thyme:

This was hands down my favourite cookbook of 2014 (as a dedicated blog follower and recipe tester for the pecan pie recipe I even paid more to get it from fishpond when it wasn't yet available on amazon)! I think there are more recipes in this book that I have cooked than those I have not.

Its hard to pick a favourite recipe from this book as I've loved and repeated almost everything I've tried. Where to start? We've tried the millet + linseed porridge with orange prunes, sweetcorn and basil fritters (made this several times and love it, great with soup and great on their own too), the carrot, cumin & red lentil soup with coriander pesto (the soup is amazing, the pesto is too - we've made both together and separately too), the buckwheat tabouli, the brown rice salad w spice roasted carrots ( really a crowd pleaser), the quinoa & lemon anzac biscuits (didn't last even an hour, they were that good), the salted caramel popcorn, the spiced pumpkin, date & quinoa muffins, the spice-roasted vegetables w/ chickpeas, millet and chermoula (great flavour combo, my guests went wild for this), the peanut brown rice patties (have done with peanuts and with cashews - both were great), the pizza (good, but not the best I've had so wont replace my go-to recipe from the Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking cookbook), the chickpea falafel wraps (so good), the red lentil dhal, the lentil spaghetti (great way to add protein to your veggie pasta), the stuffed capsicums, the chocolate avocado tart (so good and velvety, guests will love this and wont know its healthy, bonus its so easy to make - I've made this as mousse too and made it minty with the addition of mint liquor), flourless dark chocolate cardamom cake (fantastic), the pecan maple tart (too sweet for my tastes, but those that actual like pecan pie will enjoy, one of the best gf pie crusts I've tried).

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen:

This is a gorgeous, well put together addition to my cookbook collection.

The first ~50 pages of this book are dedicated to tools, equipment, ect, followed by some 'essential' recipes (how to cook various grain and beans, make nut & seed milks, toast nuts & seeds and roast vegetables) and pantry recipes ( simple recipes some of which would count as great meals for me, condiments and ferments). Here's where it starts to get interesting in Part 2: The Recipes. The pages that follow are peppered with interesting, inviting and overall appealing recipes.

So far we have tried the creamy cauliflower and celery root soup with roasted shitakes garnish (simple in prep, but gourmet results) which everyone loved, fragrant eggplant curry with cardamom-infused basmati rice and tangy apricot chutney (good flavour mix, I reduced the amount of tomatoes by half) the tempeh portobello burgers (amazing... these were so, so, so good though a little hard to shape - I will make them again and again...), and the beet chickpea cakes (which according to the husband tasted like 'Christmas in his mouth', but were again hard to shape).

By warned that portion sizes must be massive because we had a substantial amount of leftovers for most recipes (which was a great thing).

Yum Universe

This is without doubt a beautiful cookbook. Prospective buyers should be aware that Heather dedicates the first half of the book (~150 pages or so) on tools, pantry, benefits of a healthy, gluten-free plant-based lifestyle, techniques and more.

Favourites so far: Heather's versatile Chickpea Flatbread (was great as a pizza crust and delicious on its own too), Black Bean Soup (simple, but satisfying) and a few more. Recipes are easy to follow, relatively quick (though one should read recipes in advance as some call for soaking/cooking of legumes or nuts) and well illustrated. Ingredients are accessible (nothing really out there).

Overall a great new cookbook. I love Heather's blog and I love her book.
I am steadily cooking through this book and have already made the out-the-door chia power doughnuts (the one fail so far as they were too gummy for my tastes), the on the mend spiced red lentil-kale soup, crowd-pleasing tex-mex casserole (yum though those who don't appreciate spice might want to reduce the amounts of chili powder and cayenne), the enlightened miso power bowl (an easy, healthy meal great to start the year with), the classic glo bar (easy, fast and so, so good) and the salt & vinegar roasted chickpeas (these could easily get addicting!). I have dozens more bookmarked to try (Indeed I have a date with Angela's Chakra Caesar salad and nutty herb croutons tonight).

Recipes are easy, ingredients are easy to find and Angela gives prep and cooking time guidelines which I find very helpful. The layout is great (most recipes are accompanied by full colour photos, but the spine doesn't stay flat which makes it hard to read when cooking. As I have seen a lot lately in the books this year (or last I suppose), Angela has included a section on her pantry. Book is broken down by breakfast, smoothies, juice & tea, appetizers, salads, soup, entrees, sides, power snacks, desserts and homemade staples.

Books I Can't Wait to Cook From!

In 2015 I am eagerly awaiting the Sprouted Kitchen's second cookbook: The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon, My New Root's debut cookbook and the Urban Poser's My Paleo Patisserie. I am also excited for follow-up cookbooks from the Art of Gluten Free Baking (I was a recipe tester and I KNOW how excited you should all be to get this!!!) and La Tartine Gourmande.