I loves me a cookbook. Leopold despairs at the never ending succession of incredibly heavy books that seem to find their way into our apartment, but I ignore his frowns and continue hauling those fascinating, inspirational, beautiful books into our home and into my life. Today's post - a review of The Oh She Glows Cookbook, is about one of those lovely books, written by vegan blogger Angela Liddon, of Oh She Glows blog fame.
The very first thing I noticed about this book was how colourful and bright it was - the book is peppered with stunning photography which immediately draws you in. Who can resist those colours?! I am a huge fan of lusciously fresh ingredients. Although the finished dish may actually be what I'm aiming at, it is the base ingredients, with all the promise that they hold, which really gets me excited. This book focuses on those glorious ingredients.
Angela Liddon's story is both interesting and inspiring. Her documentation of her move away from eating disorder and processed diet food to wholesome, natural, healthy food is a story that will resonate with many. Although my initial reaction was "this is all a bit too healthy for me", as I read more I was sucked in by Angela's unpretentious, non-judgmental enthusiasm for whole foods and highly nutritious ingredients.
By the end of reading I was even (almost) convinced that tempeh should be back on my menu. There was an incident in my past that I would describe as "torture by tempeh", but the less said about that the better. I think I'm over it now. Maybe.
I was also persuaded that I need a tofu press in my life!
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."
I will never ceased to be awed by the power of food to heal and the stories of those who have made profound changes this way. I myself have moved from a diet filled with sweets, fizzy drinks, takeaway pizza and other processed horrors to a life filled with made-from-scratch meals, fruit and vegetable packed smoothies and the embracing of healthy moderation.
Although I haven't quite made the leap to veganism yet - I know it's the right thing to do, but I do love cheese so very much - I definitely feel aligned with Angela's focus on whole grains, bright zingy produce and healthier treats.
Not only do you not need to be vegan to enjoy this book, a variety of diets are catered for here. Gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free, nut-free and raw all get a mention, and she has even fully tested the recipes on carnivores!
The Oh She Glows Cookbook includes plenty of help with stocking your natural food pantry, including lots of information about how to use these potentially new ingredients and the fabulous nutritional benefits they offer. It was particularly great to see her championing the use of dried legumes and whole grains, including valuable suggestions on how to prepare them in advance and store them in bulk so you always have them on hand.
I also loved the chapter on preparing ingredients and recipes components from scratch - nut milks and butters, super-healthy croutons, stocks, sauces and dressings, to name but a few. Although this way of cooking and eating presents some challenges, it is definitely do-able, even with a crazy busy life, and is the only way you can ever truly be sure what it is you are using to fuel your body.
I was reminded, when I read The Oh She Glows Cookbook, of Michael Pollan's inspiring work, In Defense of Food. Both books share the surprisingly controversial stance that processed food, and the removal of nutrition that these processes result in, is at the heart of modern society's torturous battles with food and health. This is an opinion that I wholeheartedly agree with and am happy to throw my support behind.
There are many, many recipes in this book that I plan to work my way through (the titles below will become links when I do!), but to give you a taster, here are some of my favourites:
Oh She Glows Cookbook: Drinks
Metabolism Boosting Green Citrus Tea
Flu-Fighter Sunshine Smoothie
Oh She Glows Cookbook: Bread
Crunchy Seed & Oat Flatbread
Super Power Chia Bread
Nutty Herb Croutons
Oh She Glows Cookbook: Snacks
Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip
Out-Of-The-Door Chia Power Doughnuts
Taco Fiesta Potato Crisps
Oil-Free Baked Falafel Bites
Salt & Vinegar-Roasted Chickpeas
Oh She Glows Cookbook: Main Courses
Loaded Savory Oatmeal & Lentil Bowl
Mushroom-Walnut Pesto Tart
Cream of Tomato Soup with Roasted Italian Chickpea Croutons
Broccoli & Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burrito
15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta
Portobello Steak Fajitas
Oh She Glows Cookbook: Salads
Walnut, Avocado & Pear Salad with Marinated Portobello Caps & Red Onion
Creamy Avocado-Potato Salad
Chakra Caesar Salad with Nutty Croutons
Oh She Glows Cookbook: Treats
Gluten-Free Chocolate-Almond Brownies
Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Fudgy Mocha Pudding Cake
Double Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake
Chilled Chocolate-Espresso Torte with Toasted Hazelnut Crust