I’ve been really into trying out new recipes recently. I love cooking but sometimes struggle for inspiration, and always feel a bit like I’m wandering around the supermarket with no purpose when I try and do a weekly shop. So I thought I’d try and find some exciting new (hopefully not too tricky!) recipes and use them in my meal plan, to stop me buying a weird and random mix of ingredients, a large portion of which don’t end up being used before they go off!
Here is a list of my favourite cookbooks I’ve tried recently (any which I’ve received for free from publishers are marked with a *)
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Mug Meals by Dina Cheney*
‘Meals in mugs’ is a concept that I find really appeals to my impatient, lazy side! The idea of making a meal in a matter of meals, using a mug and a microwave, sounds pretty damn good! It might not be the healthiest collection of recipes but convenience is what is at its heart, and that sounds good to me!
Dina Cheney has created a whole host of easy to follow, tasty recipes which can be cooked in a mug. One thing to note is that quite a few of the recipes use leftovers, so if you don’t have some of the ingredients pre-cooked then you’ll probably have to cook them first on the stove or using whichever method is suitable. However for meals to take into work or to just quickly throw together at home, using leftover ingredients is not only quicker but also cuts down on food waste, saving money- excellent!
The book includes some nice images of the mug meals which is always helpful as I love a visual guide of what it *should* look like, and to judge whether it looks nice too of course! Cheney includes a range of meals for breakfasts, lunch/dinner and- excitingly- sweet treats too! I’ve tried a few out and found they’re easy to follow and haven’t had any mishaps- yet. Obviously the length of cooking time can depend on your microwave’s power, but that’s pretty self-explanatory of course (the microwave at work, for example, is shockingly rubbish so takes some extra judgement on how much extra time to cook for!)
Overall I think this is a brilliant cookbook and would be particularly ideal as a gift for someone going off to uni soon, or with limited access to cooking equipment. Definitely recommended!
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The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes*
This cookbook blends a great range of delicious-sounding vegetarian recipes along with some really tasty looking meat-based recipes. The book is based around the idea of ‘flexitarianism’, where you eat mostly as a veggie but include a few meat-based recipes to vary your diet too. I really like the sound of this and it’s something I hink I am going to incorporate into my lifestyle as much as possible from now on! Most of the recipes can be varied to be either vegetarian or to include meat, and it is so useful to be able to adapt them so easily, depending on how you feel- or perhaps the eating habits of your guests?
One of my favourite recipes is the ‘Brazilian sweet potato and red pepper curry’, though there are loads of other really nice looking ones- I am looking forward to trying out the ‘Halloumi Hash’ and the ‘Indonesian stir-fried rice’- they look delicious!
The book includes some lovely photos of the dishes which really makes me want to try them out, and towards the back of the book Nicola Graimes lists an array of recipes for ‘pickles and ferments’, and a ‘planning ahead’ section which has a suggested meal plan for the week ahead. I love this and think it’s so useful if you just don’t want to think about what to cook, especially when you’re in the supermarket buying ingredients for the week ahead.
This book does feel like it’s promoting a way of life as well as just recipes, which sounds pretty clichéd but I think it’s true 🙂
I would say this is a brilliant recipe book for someone who wants to try and incorporate more vegetarian meals into their diet but struggle for inspiration (like me!)
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Get The Glow by Madeleine Shaw
Get The Glow focuses on healthy eating without leaving you feeling starving afterwards, something I hugely welcome! The book is packed full of recipes which really inspired me to try and make the majority of my diet healthier, and has some beautiful photography to accompany recipes too. It’s a really attraction book and would make a lovely gift!
The recipes aren’t hugely onerous and are easy enough to follow. Being a bit lazy at times though I probably won’t try out every single recipe because some do have a big number of ingredients required – I know I can probably cut quite a few of them out in some recipes but you never know how one small element will affect the overall taste. Following this recipe book for every meal would probably get pretty pricey to be honest! However saying that there are lots of delicious-looking recipes that I’ll definitely be trying; the raw chocolate balls are currently my favourite as they’re really tasty and don’t make you feel like you’re being too naughty- because you’re not!
This is definitely a great buy for people looking to really cut down on processed food and stick to a healthier diet- some recipes seem to just use raw ingredients which really leaves no excuses for lazy people. After all, if you only have to combine some prepared ingredients in a bowl then why on earth wouldn’t you ‘get the glow’?!
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Eat Beautiful: Grain-free, Sugar-free and Loving It by Megan Stevens*
Here’s another healthy eating recipe book, you may think, but Megan Stevens has really pulled through with a great selection of recipes ‘free from’ different types of foods. This is ideal if you can’t eat something, or simply don’t want to because you know it’s not particularly good for you. If you want to cut out sugar, for example, there are tonnes of recipes that list alternative, natural
sweeteners which means you can still enjoy some tasty post-dinner treats! I will say though that most of the recipes call for very specific ingredients which a lot of people are unlikely to have just sitting in their cupboards, so a big health food shop would be required. However I guess you expect that anyway.I am ashamed to say I was completely ignorant of how many ingredients really should be avoided if you want to eat more healthily, and instantly assumed that would mean a dull, uninspiring diet but this book really proved me wrong. If you can be bothered to put the effort in you can create some really tasty, genuinely healthy
recipes.Rating: 3.5/5What are your favourite cookbooks? Have you read any of the above, and if so what did you think?
* Many thanks to the publishers who provided copies in return for an honest review.