Pasta, mash, a jacket potato and Sunday roast – it is all getting a little repetitive isn’t it?
Since lockdown, most of us have spent more time in the kitchen. Whether it is because we have more meals at home instead of at work or because we can’t go out to buy food all the time. It is likely you have made your way through your cookbooks and made all the bread you ever thought you would make. So here are five of our favourite new cookbooks, which all focus on changing your habits a little (but not too much) and living a little bit healthier.
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Fakeaways by Dale Pinnock
If you miss your usual takeaways (or have had so many of them that it is costing you a fortune), then this is for you. All recipes are twists or versions of common and popular takeaways – recipes to make them at home.
First of all, you save a lot of money (according to the book, you save the most on Grills and Japanese takeaway, which are about a quarter of the price if you make it yourself).
Of course, you can make said recipes healthier than their takeaway counterparts, which takes away the bad conscience of ordering out.
The number of meat, fish, vegetarian or vegan recipes of course reflect the type of food you find on the takeaway menus. The best ones for vegetarians are Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern, for fish lovers Japanese and Thai, and for meat eaters the Grills.
So if you want to learn to make your own Saag Aloo, Chow Mein or Katsu Curry – this is your chance.
Dale Pinnock, “Fakeaways; Healthy, budget-friendly takeaways for everyday homecooking” (Octopus Publishing, January 2020)
Half the sugar, all the love by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel
This is definitely one of our favourites! It is all about cutting down the added sugar in our lives. Because the truth is, most of us consume way too much of it, and it can easily be replaced, as you will learn.
Every recipe shows the average sugar content of the “traditional recipe” compared to the sugar contained in this version.
But don’t be fooled, these aren’t all desserts. Cutting down there would just be a little bit too easy. This is looking at ALL meals and using ingredients such as dates and maple syrup, which are easily available.
Did you know your BBQ chips contain sugar and that you can reduce it?
Only downside is the lunches and dinners involve a lot of chicken, which may be annoying for vegetarians and people who want a little variety in their meats, but then, you are looking at a healthy alternative and chicken seems to be it.
Definitely worth looking at though because the recipes are simple and don’t send you to specialty shops for ingredients for a simple dish. This is the perfect book for anyone a little curious about cutting down on sugar. And as a little extra, there are tips on how to get children involved in the cooking process and how long each item can last so you can cook in batches!
Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel, “Half the Sugar, All the Love; 100 Easy, Low-Sugar Recipes for Every Meal of the Day” (Workman Publishing Company, December 2019)
Let’s Fix Lunch! by Kat Nouri and Stasher
This book will be out just in time to start improving work and school lunches.
It is great both to get some lunch and snacks ideas, and give you tips on reducing your waste and becoming a packaging-free luncher.
Recipes are easy to follow and mostly include ingredients which are easy to source. This isn’t about particularly inventive or new recipes, but rather about how to put known dishes into a lunch or a lunch box, how to make some in advance, replace ingredients for more environmentally friendly ones (thinking of almonds and almond milk for example), and being more conscious in what you eat.
Kat Nouri and Stasher, “Let’s Fix Lunch! Enjoy Delicious, Planet-Friendly Meals at Work, School, or On the Go” (Chronicle Books, September 2020)
The Banana Cookbook by Sam Brooks
We absolutely love this quirky book!
Yes, you need to like banana or this may not be for you, but otherwise, it’s great.
The recipes are relatively easy and most ingredients are fairly well-known and accessible.
Some things may be self-explanatory, such as banana chips, but otherwise there is a great range of recipes (savoury, obviously) and they range from breakfast to treats and cakes and drinks.
The good thing is, you will learn to replace some ingredients with banana, be it sugar or some extra flour and from a beginner’s point of view: It is much harder to get the taste wrong when you already have the banana flavour.
With the simplicity of some recipes, this is a great one to get kids involved (with the reading of the recipe as well!).
Sam Brooks, “The Banana Cookbook; 50 Simple and Delicious Recipes” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, June 2020)
Good For You: Bold Flavors with Benefits by Akhar Nawab
Very interesting book full of recipes for those of us who live or are interested in a Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free or Dairy Free lifestyle (and sometimes all of the above!).
There is an incredible number of recipes in this book, ranging from sauces and dips to full meals. Most “basics” are accompanied with an explanation of where the sauce or stock comes from and how to use it, which is a great help if you want to start incorporating them into your own cooking.
The only downside is that your local supermarket may not stock everything and you need to look up some ingredients as they are less common, but if you are willing to search a little (or maybe order online) this will open new culinary doors for you. The recipes are certainly unusual and involve many new flavours
Akhtar Nawab, “Good For You: Bold Flavors with Benefits” (Chronicle Books, August 2020)
Looking for more cooking, recipe and food inspiration? We think you may like the following reads…