The Friday Five – Healthy eating, no fads allowed

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Healthy eating, no fads allowed

 

I don’t have a great record on healthy eating books, or certainly those of a certain mindset around “healthy” eating. Deliciously Ella lasted about 2 days in my house, and a book with a recipe for unicorn fuel is my worst cookbook of the year.

But, it’s January, and many of us are thinking about how we could eat a bit more healthily, whether for health or vanity. These ones are ones that tick the boxes in that they do have proper recipes in (although one may have avocado on toast as a recipe, close call) and are quite clearly geared up to people who like to eat and like to cook.

Jamie Oliver Super Food Family Classics

 

Jamie Oliver Super Food Family Classics

 

I’m not the biggest Jamie Oliver fan, I’ve had a number of his books over the years but none have stayed in the house too long. I was given this one though, and MGG and I have cooked from it a lot. It’s an interesting read, as well as good recipes, and is definitely geared to busy family life. We loved the pesto and curry paste recipes, these are all in the freezer. The only nay from us was the Butternut Squash Mac’n’Cheese. In MGG’s view, some things are not meant to be healthy.

 

Fitness Food/Fitness Gourmet

 

Fitness Food

 

Took me a few moments to work out this is exactly the same book, just in hardback and paperback. I liked this when I reviewed the original version, other than the incident with the coconut pancakes. Still avoid that one, the recipe looks to be exactly the same between the editions. It’s easy to follow, you can work out how to dial up dishes if it’s just you on reduced calories and you’ve got growing teens to cater for too.

 

Cook Nourish Glow

 

Cook Nourish Glow

 

Amelia Freer’s second book, and I thought that with my history I was straying into dangerous territory here. But I managed to get all the way through without one FFS, so pretty good going. There is quite a bit of raw kale, which is a no go with us, but there are plenty of tasty things like chicken breast with ginger and apricot stuffing, or halibut ceviche. I like her writing style, she talks as a fellow adult, and there are plenty of well known people who will testify to the success of her approach.

 

Ready Steady Glow

 

Ready Steady Glow

 

I’m going to get these two confused. Both second books, this one by Madeleine Shaw is about wheat and sugar free, and well written. Although I can live without a yoga routine in my cookbooks if I’m honest, but it’s right at the back so you can skip it. Apricots and chicken feature again, but also something different like slow roast beef cheeks with celeriac mash. Sounds like perfect winter cooking to me, just with healthy overtones.

 

Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet

 

Tom Kerridge's Dopamine Diet

 

Okay, this one isn’t out for a few more days, and I haven’t seen anything of it other than what is on Amazon. Well, that and the change in Tom’s appearance. Let’s face it, he’s about a third of the man he was, but you can’t imagine he’s been living on rice cakes and almond butter. I’m know he’s been putting in the hours at the gym as well (I have a great story about him and a friend of mine in the sauna at the gym…nothing remotely mucky, all about getting a table at the Hand & Flowers), but I reckon if this worked for Tom then it must be good, and very tasty. I mean, you won’t think you’re on a diet if you’re eating braised beef with horseradish or Chinese pork hot pot. I may well have to order this one and give it a go.

 

Whilst I’m definitely gearing up to eat more healthily this year, I’m also not going to eat joyless food. Finding healthy food with taste is the goal, along with an awful lot more movement. Don’t wish to be a bore but loving my FitBit, really is making me think about how long I’m sat still for. Talking of which, time to move!

 

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More than just Robin Hood at Nottingham Castle

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robin_hood_and_his_merry_men

 

If you’re around Nottingham today or tomorrow, and wondering what to do, then I can highly recommend the Great Food & Drink Festival at Nottingham Castle. MGG and I had a great time there today, ate some good food, drink some good gin (that was me) and watched some great demos.

 

Chef Tom Kerridge ready, audience ready

 

In fact I think we went straight to a demo, but when it’s chef Tom Kerridge then why wouldn’t you? I think Tom is brilliant, love the way he cooks, and he’s brilliant at demos, and made us laugh lots. Although left me craving a côte de boeuf with triple cooked chips.

And looking for a cream charger to make his strawberry fool with.

 

Granny Marys Potted Meats

 

I’m looking forward to a lunch here today of some great bread we picked up from The French Corner along with some pates from Granny Marys. These are what I would call potted meats, and they contain no liver or other offal, which does make pate offputting to some. We’ve got duck and orange, and the smoked turkey, and there had definitely been a run on the pulled pork. Sadly, their website is blocked with technical issues but you can find them on Facebook.

 

thai_lunch

 

We had a great Thai lunch from Thaikhun, brilliant sweetcorn cakes and a beef massaman curry. Although I was seriously tempted by the menu of fish and chips. Then there was mac and cheese, or nachos, or great pancakes from Annie’s Burger Shack.

 

Probably my new favourite gin: where Yorkshire tea meets Yorkshire gin

 

And I discovered the perfect combination of two of my most favourite thing: where Yorkshire tea meets Yorkshire gin. Hats off to Masons, I loved this.

Definitely worth a few hours, particularly if the weather holds up. Tickets are £8 in advance, £10 on the door, which is cash only. Come on organisers, it’s the 21st century. Contactless not made it that far yet. If you’re there today you’ve got demos from Nadiya from Bake Off to look forward to. Almost worth going back for.

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The Friday Five – Suppers for the change of season

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I think it continues to feel like autumn is well and truly here, even with forecasts of a possible Indian summer this weekend. Which does mean that cooking styles will probably change ready for the cooler days ahead. These five are cookbooks that I think would inspire dishes for the new season:

 

Proper pub food by Tom Kerridge - great cookbook gift for those who like big flavours

 

Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food – I can’t wait for this series to start, and am sure this book might find its way here. Tom always comes across so well, very genuine. A member of my team had nothing but praise for him after the time he spent with them showing them round the kitchen on a recent visit to the Hand & Flower. Proper, heart-warming dishes are bound to abound, can’t wait.

 

Do Ahead Dinners

 

Do-ahead dinners: how to feed friends and family without the frenzy – there’s a title that many of us can relate to! But when it’s cold and miserable outside, there’s nothing to beat coming home to a warm meal, or something that will be one really quickly. Boston baked beans anyone? Let’s face it, any way to get ahead is a good thing!

 

A salad for all seasons by Harry Eastwood

 

A Salad for All Seasons –  maybe you’re thinking the salad days are over? This book might convince you otherwise. I love Harry’s writing and recipes, Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache is still one of my favourite baking books. There are some great choices in here, like roasted root veg with crispy garlic pitta. Sounds delicious, and somewhat healthy without being cold or dull.

 

The jewelled kitchen

 

The Jewelled Kitchen – oh, these recipes will be like bringing the sunshine into the kitchen, with Lebanese, Moroccan and Persian dishes to work through. I love the food of these three cultures, and this book would be a perfect complement to something like Arabesque or Jerusalem. Cook from these and you’ll be in no danger of getting SAD this winter!

 

Big table busy kitchen

 

Big Table, Busy Kitchen – this title sums up how I love my kitchen to be, and Allegra’s recipes have a very generous spirit to them, like the best kitchens should. There aren’t many details on this one yet as it’s not out until November but I shall definitely be looking out for this one.

So, Autumn doesn’t need to be all about casseroles, so maybe decide to mix it up this season and keep trying to hang onto some of the sunshine in the kitchen.

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