I doubt I’ll ever get my cakes to look as gorgeous as Sara Kidd’s but The Vegan Cake Bible is inspiring, and although I only baked the easiest cakes in the book, I’m keen to build my skills and try some of the harder ones as well. Because the book is so attractive it also makes a lovely gift for any vegan cooks in your life and a great way to create delicious and impressive treats that are ecologically sustainable and cruelty-free.
The name of the book is, of course, a misnomer. There’s nothing junky about these recipes, which use high quality fresh ingredients, often made from scratch and generally, with only a few (worth it) exceptions, pretty healthy. However, Vegan Junk Food is not a book that tries to extol the health virtues of eating a vegan diet. Veganism is better for the planet and less cruel to animals, and that’s reason enough to eat vegan more often.
The advice provided by Dr Joanna McMillan in Get Lean, Stay Lean is neither faddish nor confusing. It’s commonsense and you probably already know it. Eat more vegetables. Exercise. Keep stress to a minimum. That’s the crux of it (and probably the crux of most reputable books on health and nutrition), but McMillan has presented this information that everybody knows and few people do in a way that makes it very easy to incorporate into day-to-day living. Despite the title, Get Lean, Stay Lean really isn’t about weight loss. It’s about developing healthy, sustainable habits.
Anyone who is uncomfortable with swearing should keep away from this book. It makes a Billy Connolly routine seem prissy. People who don’t believe a meal without meat, eggs and/or dairy is worth eating will also be disappointed with the lack of animal products. Anyone else who is looking for lighter, healthier and more ecologically sound eating, however, will find new inspiration and ideas from these recipes, and a range of really good food that doesn’t require fancy ingredients, long cooking times with multiple recipes, or difficult techniques.
Vickie Hutchins and Jo Ann Martin’s Busy Day Slow Cooking is a lay-flat-when-opened book packed with great recipes, homey notes and hints. Readers are offered opportunity to have one of their own favorite recipes featured in the next cookbook offered by the duo. The first page is one to be used for writing a trusted recipe, prize offered is a free copy of the cookbook in which the recipe is placed.
Cathy Mitchell’s Quick & Easy Dump Cakes has a handy variety of desserts, breads and the like all in one place, many of the recipes can be fairly interchangeable with white cake substituted for yellow or chocolate depending upon what you want the dessert to be.
This is a book to be referred to often, to help the cook begin to think of pancakes as something more than a circle of cooked batter on the plate, smooshed with butter and doused with syrup; it is a selection of recipes sure to intrigue, delight and satisfy, whether used for creating a hearty breakfast, or for a winter supper filled with good scents in the kitchen and delicious food on the table.
Just reading the book is inspiring – with lots of tips for improving the diet and just having more fun with food, and every recipe I’ve tried has been a winner: easy, fast, using ingredients that are readily available (no obscure superfoods here) and reasonably priced.
For anyone who has a spiralizer or who has purchased one and is not using it to its full potentially, this book is a must. It’s a relatively small book, but by using it, you’ll begin to think more creatively about the different ways you can maximise the benefits of your spiralizer, giving it new life and enhancing your own through better nutrition.
Let me begin this review by saying how beautiful this book is. If you’re not keen on cooking, you could just put it on the coffee table, and gawk from time to time at the exquisite photos by award-winning photographer David Loftus, the sweet, clever cartoons by Sun Young Park, or just enjoy Bloomfield’s prose, which will take you to farmer’ markets, through the philosophy of simple pleasures and enjoying the cooking process for its own sake (the journey rather than the destination), insider knowledge on particular ingredients like garlic, herbs, fennel and tomatoes, or the little blurbs of history and context above each recipe.