Not only is this the first book review for my blog but I also have my very first guest post. So much excitement in one fell swoop!
The guest I have on to review the cookbook is Caroline Wilson, and I know you will love her.
Caroline and I met through twitter (who doesn’t meet online these days?) and we have lots in common (I think) with our love for all things food related, our digging into Northern Irish culture and our appreciation for a good laugh… and a glass of prosecco. A few people say we look alike so maybe there is something to be said for this!
Caroline began Belfast cookbook club .
The club cook from the same cookbook for a month and then meet and make different recipes from it. They have a nights craic in Belfast Metropolitan college making the dishes they loved from the book. The cookbook club was how I first heard about Caroline through online sharing of the fun information and food topics they were all discussing. Check out more on the cookbook club twitter feed.
As well as founding the cookbook club Caroline started Belfast food tours. I am booked in for my first tour in April as my birthday treat (to myself) and I cannot wait. With enthusiasm, love and a wealth of knowledge Caroline leads the tour around the sites and smells and tastiest spots to eat in Belfast. Many of my friends still rave about their experience so I am bursting with excitement.
I trust Caroline’s judgement on food, restaurants (I often pester her for ideas on where to book when we have friends visiting) and recipes so she is the perfect person to be here reviewing the first book on Darling Edna.
Now onto Anna Jones the author and chef of ‘A modern way to eat’.
She trained in the restaurant kitchen of Fifteen London and worked as a food stylist for chef Jamie Oliver. Anna has (for me) made vegetarian dishes so appealing and colourful and packed with flavour.
It was Caroline who recommended the book to me as she knew it would be right up my street with the prettiness of the food and the layers and fun these recipes present.
I can’t think past Anna’s popcorn tacos that I made last week. POPCORN (!), feta and a tortilla wrap, ALL in one recipe? YES! Believe me, it worked, is filling and delicious!
How did you learn about this recipe book?
My very good friend Patricia suggested it for our Cookbook Club. She had been raving about it and I decided it should be the book for February – so I went with her suggestion and none of us have looked back!
Tell me what the book looks like at first glance. Dare I ask, what’s the cover like?
The cover is a bit off putting. The spine is black and as someone who arranges her cookbooks by colour (love the rainbow it creates on the bookshelf), this is good but the picture on the front of the author’s hair and blue t-shirt eating at a table, it wouldn’t make me grab it.
Do you have any thoughts on the photography used in the book?
It’s really lovely, clean and fresh yet warm.
Is it a weighty book packed with recipes?
Bunged! But the recipes are one part, it teaches you how to bring ingredients together, be it in soups or salads or roasted root vegetables.. She even has 10 ways with avocado on toast.. Who knew there were so many interesting options? Believe me this author really does know how to create a delicious dish! The recipes ranges from smoothies to hearty dinners, satisfying salads, things to drink (both with and without alcohol, and my favourites.. laid back suppers.
Have you any other books by Anna Jones on your cookbook shelf?
This is her first. I cannot wait for the next one!
Are the recipes easy to follow and did they work out or did you find you had to make some amendments for taste etc?
Some are simple, some a little more protracted. I had no problems with timings or ingredients.
Did you have a favourite recipe?If so, what was it.
I loved the dahl with crispy sweet potato and quick coconut chutney, the double greens and filo pie and her spaghetti with avocado was a revelation as was the pizza with a base made of cauliflower! The mint pistachio and courgette polpette were stunning.. I could keep going. Everything you try in this book is great!
Are the ingredients used in the recipes easy to locate?
With a little bit of planning, all ingredients are easy to locate, but yes, most of the ingredients are easy enough to find.
Are the recipes in the book family friendly?
Again yes! The people in Cookbook Club had their kids eating the dishes. It’s not all vegetables, there are lots of desserts too but she manages to make even those healthy without you knowing! So the double chocolate cloud cake doesn’t have butter, refined sugar or white flour but is still celebratory and yummy. I mean, who wouldn’t love brown sugar meringues with sticky apples and pears?
Would you recommend this book?
Completely and utterly – hence why you now own one Aly! Everyone needs this book in their life. It will rock your culinary world. It’s going to be a hard one for our Cookbook Club to beat 🙂
Did you feel inspired in your own cooking after learning from Anna Jones?
I have never been able to cook vegetables in a way that has the same wow factor as meat dishes. This book does that. It doesn’t even feel like a vegetarian cookbook, it doesn’t do the usual thing of replacing meat with aubergine in the hope the texture is similar. The vegetables are both the bricks and mortar and the crowning glory. The dishes taste so good, have multiple layering of flavours and textures and the added bonus of making you feel totally smug afterwards, even with seconds! Buy it!