COOKBOOK REVIEW The Quintessential Quinoa Cookbook


Review written & photographed by Jordan A.R.

The Quintessential Quinoa Cookbook is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores. For more information on this cookbook please visit Thomas Allen & Son

The Quintessential Quinoa Cookbook (published by Skyhorse Publishing, $17.95 USD) is written by Wendy Polisi, creator of the popular website CookingQuinoa.net. This book is a collection of over two hundred of Wendy’s quinoa-inspired recipes, and includes nutritional information for each dish as well as tips on preparation and ingredient substitutions. The recipes cover a wide spectrum of dietary genres, including vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. There are also kid specific recipes, as well as suggested meals to serve on busy weeknights when you’re short on time but still want to serve something healthy.

I have to admit that I found the photography completely uninspiring. It is said that we eat with our eyes, and the same follows true with cooking: we want to cook what looks good to eat. Obviously publishers don’t have unlimited budgets and high caliber food photography is not cheap, but this book would have really benefited from some more consideration in terms of its overall visual appeal.

Some of the other issues I have with the book are in regards to basic edits. For example; I found the suggested cook times and temperatures not only to be inaccurate but also inconsistent with what is listed online. There were even instances where itemized ingredients were nowhere to be found in the recipe itself, while more commonsense ingredient additions were excluded. After double-checking the website I found the same recipes online without errors.

If you’re interested in a beautiful recipe book about quinoa, something like Quinoa 365 deserves purchase. But if all you want are some quick, simple recipes using this South American staple, check out Wendy’s website. Honestly, after testing this cookbook and closely examining her website I cannot help but feel that what’s online is a far superior resource for cooks.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REVIEW

Food & Wine Magazine: August Cover Recipe


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine. Joining me along the way is my fellow blogger Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée, and our resident wine expert Kendall Harris of Wine2Three who provides us with fantastic wine pairings for each month’s cover.

Want to join in on the fun? We’d love the company! Pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send me an email at info@cookthatbook.com to let me know you made the cover recipe, and if you’re a blogger don’t forget to post a link to your post in the comments below.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

Rating: 5 out of 5 (fresh & full of flavours that highlight the tomato perfectly)

Initial Thoughts: Looking at the cover picture I could practically taste the fresh, juicy tomatoes…bring on summer’s bounty!

THE TEST: This month I found myself cooking alone, as Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée is in the middle of launching her new site and is currently stuck in cyber limbo for the time being. Glad I had Kendall Harris of Wine2Three to keep me hydrated while preparing this tasty summer salad! Don’t forget to check out her fantastic wine pairing at the bottom of this post…she opted for a pinot gris from one of my favourite vineyards.

This recipe has several layers of flavour that are each made separately and then assembled just before serving. Bright, jewel toned heirloom tomatoes are sliced and diced and showcased on a platter over which shallots pickled in red wine vinegar are sprinkled, a warmed olive oil, anchovy (I used anchovy paste), garlic and lemon zest dressing is poured overtop the tomatoes with sliced hardboiled eggs placed on top. This recipe is perfect to make ahead when entertaining as you can quickly assemble it at the last minute, and your guests will be impressed with this tasty twist on the usual tomato salad.

THE RESULTS: Despite all of the different layers of flavour in this salad the taste of tomatoes is never overshadowed. The taste explosion of the juicy, sweet fruit paired with the salty anchovy vinaigrette and tang from the pickled shallots is fantastic. I love how each ingredient works so hard to help the others shine. Talk about good culinary teamwork!

I was a bit anxious serving this to the kids as I had no idea what they would think, but my unease was for nothing as they gobbled it up and asked for seconds. Needless to say I walked away from the dinner table that night feeling triumphant. Another Food & Wine success!

Cover Recipe:
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette 

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

Nothing more summery than an heirloom tomato salad, and with so many wonderful flavours going on in this recipe you will need a wonderful summery white wine to stand alongside. This Pinot Gris, from British Columbia’s Poplar Grove winery, hits all the right notes!

Pinot Gris is also called Pinot Grigio in Italy or if the wine has been vinified in the more zippy Italian style (zippy = more acidic), whereas Pinot Gris is the term winemaker’s use when the grape is vinified in the more French style, as is this the case with this particular wine.

Pinot Gris is the signature white wine of Poplar Grove winery, and they’ve won many accolades for this and past vintages of Pinot Gris. You’ll notice aromas of lemongrass, apple and peaches, and on the palate (as you sip it), you’ll get refreshing lemon and apple flavours with a hint of apricot. Pinot Gris also has a characteristic “minerality,” which some describe as a wet stone flavour, so look for that. I like to think you taste B.C.’s wonderful terroir when you detect that minerality! Pinot Gris, or Pinot Grigio in general, is a great wine to have on hand and is a widely appealing white wine – not as lemony as Sauvignon Blanc, not as buttery and oaky as some Chardonnays, not as lime-ey or sweet as Rieslings can be – really, the perfect “house wine”. And if you happen to be in B.C., be sure to look for Poplar Grove’s version…it’s one of the best!

Kendall Harris is a wine blogger who shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She has an Advanced Certificate from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is passionate about sharing her wine knowledge with others. “Like” her page on Facebook for fun, informative wine posts!

Muffin Monday: Cinnamon Blueberry Amaretto Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

I’m back baby! Due to the typical busyness of summer I’ve unfortunately had to take a few weeks off from Muffin Mondays. But thank you to all of the readers who sent me concerned emails worried I was retiring from the world of muffins. Glad to see you are as addicted to this monthly venture as I am!

This week’s recipe is for a no frills blueberry muffin. Hailing from Gourmet, it showcases the beauty of a simple muffin. The batter itself is straightforward, and in terms of flavour the berries are paired purely with cinnamon.

I dusted the blueberries with the flour mix in order to prevent discolouration of the muffins during the baking process, which also helps keep them suspended in the batter rather than sinking to the bottom. The only change I made to this recipe was in terms of the sweetener, substituting amaretto flavoured agave nectar for the brown sugar.

These muffins disappeared at the speed of light! In fact, I must apologize for the lack of well-styled final glamour shots of these muffins, but what you see is what I got to take before the hands of my hubby and kids made a grab for them. And I couldn’t blame them. They were completely addictive! A muffin that is simple in flavour and texture should never be underestimated. And the subtle sweet almond flavour from the amaretto went perfectly with the blueberries and cinnamon.

Bring on a second batch!

For a copy of this week’s Muffin Monday recipe, please click here

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

COOKBOOK REVIEW The Mom 100 Cookbook


Cookbook review written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

The Mom 100 Cookbook is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores. For more information on this cookbook please visit Thomas Allen & Son

The Mom 100 Cookbook (published by Workman Publishing Company, $16.95 USD) is described as providing “recipes every mom needs in her back pocket”. Written by Katie Workman, it is specifically geared to young families and deals with 20 typical mealtime dilemmas by providing five recipes per predicament. For example; getting the kids fed and out the door on time (Quick & Easy Breakfasts), going beyond hamburgers and hotdogs (Main Dish Meat), healthy munchies (Handful of Snacks), meatless dishes (Vegetarian Mains), and new twists on old favourites (Pasta & Pizza).

By the time I started testing this book I was fully aware of all the hype and had read positive review after positive review. As a mother of two small children, I am always on the lookout for a new cookbook that will make my life easier and hoped this one would live up to my expectations.

I love the overall look and vibe of this cookbook that compliments Workman’s playful writing style, and found the recipes to be both fun and practical for the family table. The “Fork in the Road” sections are really helpful, and provide you with options for serving the same dish to the entire family by including suggestions for various adaptions that allow you to incorporate additional flavours or spices for more adventurous palates. It was always a pet peeve of my mother’s when she found herself serving up four different meals based on our family’s likes and dislikes.

“What the Kids Can Do” sidebars provide helpful tips for getting children involved in the cooking process, allowing them to feel more invested in the food on their plate and therefore more open to its consumption. Nearly every recipe contains tips and suggested cooking techniques, serving ideas and storage instructions.

Although the photos are not what I would consider to be overly inspiring, they showcase the food in a clear manner that is far from fussy and leaves the food looking relatable (the approach most parents take to food when feeding children).

I must say that The Mom 100 Cookbook is definitely geared towards parents of young children, so if you are searching for a book that deals more in technique or fancy fare I would give this one a pass. The recipes are very basic, and therefore perfect for people with little to no cooking experience. For those of you who know your way around the kitchen, I would suggest using this book as a jumping off point and build upon the recipes. Personally, because I am constantly subjecting my family to all sorts of recipes tests this book is a good reminder for me to include some kid friendly meals into the mix. Yes I want to expose my children to a wide variety of tastes and flavours, but sometimes they just want some plain ol’ chicken strips.

Katie Workman is a food writer whose work has appeared in publications such as The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, and AOL Food. She is the founding editor-in-chief of Cookstr.com and an active supporter of the largest hunger relief organization in the US; Share Our Strength. The Mom 100 Cookbook is Workman’s first book.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL REVIEW

Monthly Miettes: Strawberry Charlotte


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

Dear readers, I must apologize for the lateness of July’s Monthly Miettes challenge. First of all, when I read in Meg Ray’s Miette that the Strawberry Charlotte is considered to be a “challenging” cake I kinda freaked out. I mean if the professionals think it’s hard to do am I even gonna stand a chance?! Then between the kids’ summer camps and family vacations I suddenly found myself at the end of the month with one heck of an intimidating cake still to make. Trust me when I say I was crossing all of my fingers and toes!

The Strawberry Charlotte truly showcases the beauty of strawberries and is best made when these berries are at their peak. It is a light, cool dessert that is perfect to serve when you find yourself craving something sweet but you’d rather die than turn on your oven and add to the shimmery heat wave in your kitchen. In the Miette version of this dessert, sponge cake is brushed with raspberry simple syrup and then layered with a fruit purée mousse, the exterior surrounded by a band of ladyfingers, and a final crown of fresh strawberries decorates the top. Needless to say this cake will make a stunning entrance onto your dinning room table, one that is sure to elicit “ooohs” and “ahhhs” from your guests.

The results of my Strawberry Charlotte were magnificent both in appearance and taste. The journey to get to the finished product? Not so pretty! Because of the numerous steps involved in making this dessert, I decided to tackle one element each day.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Food & Wine Magazine: July Cover Recipe


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

Spaghettini with Shrimp, Tomatoes & Chile Crumbs

Rating: 5 out of 5 (full of fresh fun flavours for summer!)

Initial Thoughts: This pasta dish looks like the embodiment of summer! Bright fresh ingredients.

THE TEST: This month Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée and I had quite the giggle, as we both eneded up with different covers for July’s issue of Food & Wine Magazine!

Here’s what I got:

And here’s Aimée’s copy:

To add to the confusion, I gave her the page number for the recipe on my cover and it matched to what she had in her magazine. No wonder the poor girl was confused! She kept wondering how on earth I knew what to make, and it wasn’t until we emailed photos of our covers that the mystery was solved. July must have multiple covers because it’s a special issue that highlights the magazine’s annual Best New Chefs segment.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

As for the recipe itself, there are basically four components to the dish. First you roast plum tomatoes with olive oil and red wine vinegar before peeling and grating them back into the pan. Next comes the breadcrumb mixture, which involves crisping fresh breadcrumbs (I used sourdough) in a pan with olive oil, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. The smell was incredible! Boil the pasta, sauté prawns with olive oil and salt and pepper, and mix everything together along with fresh basil and halved cherry tomatoes.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Now it may sound like a lot of steps are involved in the preparation and I’ll be honest and say I did get overwhelmed, but that was simply because I had the genius idea of testing this recipe at the same time as undertaking three cookbook reviews. But on its own, this pasta dish is not difficult nor is it really time consuming. Plus you can make the breadcrumb mixture and tomato sauce ahead of time (up to two days).

© 2012 CookThatBook

THE RESULTS: We all loved this dish and I will definitely be making it again in the future! The spaghettini was the perfect pasta choice as it really emphasized the lightness of the meal, while the burst of citrus from the lemon zest and heat from the red pepper flakes brought depth and well-rounded flavour to the dish. I’m a fan of seafood in my pasta, and the shrimp paired perfectly with the other ingredients and provided a slight salty element that was nice.

But by far my favourite part of this recipe is the breadcrumb mixture. Wow. I am already imagining how good it would taste on top of grilled fish, or macaroni and cheese, even as a topper for savoury muffins!

© 2012 CookThatBook

Now I know that Aimée was slightly disappointed with this dish in terms of the overall flavour, so be sure to head over to Food, Je t’Aimée and read about her experience with this recipe. I think she may be right about the quality of tomatoes being a determining factor in the success of this dish, so make sure if you attempt this recipe to have top notch veg. And don’t forget to check out Kendall Harris of Wine2Three’s wine pairing. I was so happy when she opted to pair this pasta with Chianti, as I’ve been wanting to experiment more with this particular type of wine.

If you would like to join us next month, the more the merrier. So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine and be sure to send us your thoughts, comments and photos. We’d love to hear from you.

Cover Recipe:
Spaghettini with Shrimp, Tomatoes & Chile Crumbs 

© 2012 CookThatBook

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to info@cookthatbook.com.

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com

 

Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three

One of the cardinal rules of food and wine pairing is “what grows together, goes together.” Food from a certain region is best paired with wine from that same region. Because this dish is an Italian inspired tomato-based pasta, I immediately thought of pairing it with an Italian wine. Such a laidback, light summer meal needs a Chianti.

Chianti is a wine region in Italy, located around the cities of Florence and Siena. But Chianti is also a variety of red wine made with the grape known as Sangiovese. A minimum of 80% Sangiovese is needed in order for a wine to be Chianti, and sometimes you’ll even find 100% Sangiovese. It was traditionally bottled in round fat bottles enclosed in a straw basket casing, the kinds of bottles you may have seen used as candle holders in casual Italian restaurants. Nowadays Chianti mostly comes bottled in a traditional glass bottle, as is this wonderful 2010 Chianti by Castiglioni. Chianti is not meant to be aged but rather to be consumed as a “young” wine, and ideally paired with Italian food like this month’s cover recipe. The fresh, bright fruit flavours in Chianti give the wine nice acidity, a quality that makes your mouth water making it an excellent food wine and one that pairs very well with the acidity in tomato-based pastas.

Chianti is a great wine to have on hand for impromptu, casual Italian meals at home. Especially in this wonderful summer season of al fresco dining!

Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!

© 2012 CookThatBook

 

Muffin Monday: Chunky Apple Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

This week’s recipe for Chunky Apple Muffins comes from none other than Ms. Martha Stewart, and to me this is the quintessential muffin.


© 2012 CookThatBook

Uncomplicated.

Perfect texture.

© 2012 CookThatBook

The flavours are all balanced beautifully, the muffins gently spiced, tender and oh so moist. I must admit to doubling the amount of diced apple added to the batter – one granny smith just didn’t cut it for me. In the end I think the extra apple really dialed up the flavour of the fruit nicely, and in no way did it overpower the muffin.

© 2012 CookThatBook

Before topping the muffins with a thinly sliced sliver of apple (genius decorative detail Martha!) I dusted them lightly with a mixture of cinnamon sugar to give them a little extra sparkle.

Enjoy!

© 2012 CookThatBook

For a copy of this week’s Muffin Monday, please click here 

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

How hard can it be?!


Written by contributing writer Jacqueline Twa

I love to entertain and have enjoyed playing hostess ever since I was a child.

My Mom entertained often and always loved having a house full of people. Being the only girl in the family, I was enlisted at an early age to help. I didn’t mind, because like my Mom I loved having friends and family nearby, eating and drinking and sharing in our lives.

If 15 people walked through the door unexpectedly, my mother would have no problem throwing together a last minute meal that left everyone satisfied. She was a genius at pulling things together with no prior notice.

I helped raise three wonderful sons, and despite the fact that they are now grown with families of their own, I still find myself instinctively feeding them whenever they are around. During their teen years they always had two or three friends in tow, and like my own mother would do, I would always whip up something for them to eat.

I think it’s fair to say I don’t get fazed easily. I have experienced firsthand the awe-inspiring event that is teenage boys eating (I used to say that our boys had worn off their taste buds with pure friction judging by the amount of chow they could put down their gullets!)

Anyway, I digress.

I like to think that when friends drop over for an unexpected visit – a common occurrence around our house – I am always able to offer them a glass of wine and pull together a bite or two of something to feed the conversation.

I used to entertain quite a lot.  It was something that always felt right and easy for me. I love to cook and hate to figure out a ride home, so the natural solution always seemed to be to have people over to our place. Long, cozy dinner parties with friends lasting late into the night. Candles, good food, laughter and too much wine before sending everyone home at the end of the night.

Personally, I thought I made it look easy. I leaned on my tried and true dishes and could always seem to get it together in the end. I also happen to have a wonderful spouse who acts as my personal sous chef and co-conspirator in entertaining. I know I am the envy of my friends in this regard. He helps me in so many ways and is naturally a great host, filling glasses and gaps in the conversation – he does it all!

Plus he’s pretty easy on the eyes.

I must say however, that in the last few years it has become increasingly tricky and difficult to throw a dinner party. People have mysteriously just stopped eating most things. Gone are the days of just throwing some steaks on the grill or making a big bowl of pasta.

Now whenever I invite people to dinner, I usually receive an acceptance back accompanied by a list of the food items people can’t eat. The most common food avoidances are dairy (guilty as charged!) and gluten. Sometimes it’s both! However, I’ve entertained people with a wide variety of allergies including but not limited to nuts, tomatoes and garlic.

Then there are the celiacs and people who don’t eat red meat.

And let’s not forget the vegetarians! I have always had friends who are vegetarians, but now you have to remember the type of vegetarianism they prescribe to. There are so many different categories of vegetarians out there today – pure vegans, lacto vegetarians who will eat cheese, milk and some ice creams but not eggs, there are ovo lacto vegetarians who eat eggs and cheese, and then there are the fish eating vegetarians now referred to as a pescatarians!

Can you believe there is such a thing as pseudo vegetarianism? Flexitarians!

There is always someone in the crowd that’s on a fad diet: “I’m on Atkins”, the “I’m only eating grapefruit and popcorn this week”, and of course there are the point counters – “can you tell me how many points will be in the entrée?”

I have had friends request that everything served should be grown and processed within a 50-mile radius. Seriously? Are you really not going to eat the pasta sauce because it was made with canned tomatoes from Italy?!

And let’s not forget the folks who refuse to eat anything white (?!) and of course the meat-a-tarians (I have a brother that does not eat vegetables).

The thing is I happen to have food issues of my own. Obviously I want to be respectful of everyone’s choices, but damn! All of these differing dietary requirements make entertaining challenging in a way my mother never had to deal with in her day.

Dinner parties have become an exercise in imagination and frustration. Just when you’ve figured out what you are going to make another food no-no comes along. In fact, during a recent dinner party the only thing I could figure out to serve for dessert that took into consideration all of our friends’ dietary restrictions were Rice Crispy Squares!

So I have found that keeping things simple, using fresh local ingredients and classic preparations is the way to go when entertaining. Living on the west coast I am fortunate to have access to a plethora of fresh fish and locally grown produce. Big green salads, simple vinaigrettes, decadent desserts, and politically correct entrées that meet everyone’s dining criteria and voilà – dinner party success!

When it comes to feeding our beloved vegetarians, I actually turn to one of my favourite types of cuisine; Indian. You can make a wonderful gluten-free, vegan, non-dairy chickpea dish called channa masala. My whole family loves this dish, and if done right it can feel downright gourmet.

Click here for my version of channa masala

Muffin Monday: Strawberry Shortcake Muffins


Written & photographed by
Stay-At-Home-Chef

This week’s delightful recipe comes from Seasons & Suppers, a blog I have subsequently fallen in love with due to the beautiful photos and fantastic sounding recipes.

© 2012 CookThatBook

A simple yet delicate batter keeps the muffins light and crumbly, similar in texture to strawberry shortcake. Cold butter is cut into the flour mixture as per making pastry, with diced strawberries gently folded into the mix. If you’d like to dust the tops with icing sugar I say all the power to ya – but honestly these little gems of a muffin are perfect when kept simple.

© 2012 CookThatBook

© 2012 CookThatBook

I love how the flavours are straightforward, the berries kept centre stage. For me these muffins are the epitome of summer out here on the west coast, and although the strawberries were fashionably late this year due to lame weather they have (finally) arrived! And I plan on making many more batches of these muffins to celebrate.

Speaking of celebrating…look who stopped by for a bite?!

© 2012 CookThatBook

For a copy of this week’s Muffin Monday recipe, please click here

Don’t forget to visit Baker Street’s site and be sure to check out what the other food bloggers have baked up this week!

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

© 2012 CookThatBook

COOKBOOK REVIEW Anjum’s Eat Right For Your Body Type

By Anjum Anand

Anjum’s Eat Right For Your Body Type is available for purchase through our online store or at local bookstores. For more information on this book please visit Da Capo Lifelong Books. 


Review written & photographed by Helena McMurdo

UK based Anjum Anand is the host of Indian Food Made Easy (carried in the US on The Cooking Channel), and has had UK bestsellers with Indian Food Made Easy and Anjum’s New Indian. She is known for her light, healthy, modern take on Indian Cuisine.

I know what you are thinking – why am I reviewing a ‘healthy/diet’ book. It’s just soooo not me. Or is it? After a few months of reviewing some very delectable cookbooks, I’ll be honest and say I was beginning to exhibit some…er…side effects. So the idea of a healthy book sounded like a good idea. Well at least it couldn’t do me any harm.

Anjum’s Eat Right For Your Body Type: The Super-Healthy Detox Diet Inspired by Ayurveda (published by Da Capo Lifelong Books, $24.95 USD) is an interesting look at the world of Ayurveda and the foods that suit each of the Ayurvedic Doshas. Even if you have no knowledge or interest in Ayurveda, you’ll appreciate this book for its healthy (not to mention delicious!) recipes.

Ayurveda is a form of alternative medicine originating in India. The Sanskrit word translates to “knowledge for long life” and is based on the belief that everything in the world is based on the interaction of different and dynamic forces and energies.

The three energies that make up Ayurveda are called Doshas and while according to Ayurvedic belief we all possess all three Doshas, usually one or two will dominate. This in turn affects who we are, and how we react to things including food. Although it’s significantly more complicated than I’m describing, for the purposes of this book, the premise is that certain foods suit certain people and constitutions better than others.

The book contains a significant introduction and explanation of Ayurveda, including an outline of the various Doshas and a quiz that will assist in identifying your own Dosha. Then there are 75 recipes, most of which suit or are easily adaptable for all Doshas. In addition, there are menu plans for each Dosha and a chapter providing detox diets.

My initial impressions were that the recipes in the book provided lots of delicious and tempting (yes tempting) choices, but I quickly became frustrated as I was experiencing a form of Dosha confusion. I eventually enlisted the help of a friend to work through the quiz with me and settled on a Vata/Pitta assessment. (Now you know all my secrets).

In reality, I needn’t have worried about whether or not I correctly identified my Dosha, as the recipes are all healthful and representative of a balanced diet. While many of the recipes draw on flavours and spices that we would traditionally associate with India, there are other ingredients and cultures represented that give this book a broader appeal. Lean proteins such as chicken and fish are included as well as a host of vegetarian dishes. This is one of those books that will tempt you on every page with new ideas for familiar flavours and ingredients.

I found everything that I made to be delicious and very simple to make. Most dishes ask for only a few ingredients and any well-stocked pantry will provide you most of the items you need. The majority of recipes are designed to serve one or two people, a feature that I can tell you I rarely find in a cookbook. As someone who cooks most of the time for just myself and my lovely fellow, I appreciated the smaller portion sizes.

I really enjoyed this book, and in fact I was pleasantly surprised at the great extent to which I did like it. Health benefits aside, more than anything I was impressed by the range, variety, and deliciousness of the recipes. While I’ve always been interested in the idea of Ayurveda and enjoyed learning more about the lifestyle, I doubt I have the discipline to follow it very strictly. My only advice would be don’t let confusion over your particular Dosha stop you from trying the wonderful recipes in this book. There’s so much to enjoy! This is a health book that’s all about taste. And that’s my kind of book.

CLICK HERE FOR RESULTS FROM RECIPE TESTS