***** A wonderful cookbook that belongs in every kitchen. It is full with many ideas and new delicious combinations and delightful compositions without dairy products and wheat. Simple food celebration. A must have!
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a well-known British TV chef, award-winning food journalist and food activist who advocates for biological, regional, sustainable and animal friendly produced food. In his popular television program “River Cottage” he talks about life in the country, and tells stories about his experience in his orchard and vegetable garden.
The author started his cooking career as a sous chef in the “River Café” in London. After that he worked as a journalist. His television career began with “Cook on the Wild Side”. Hugh Fearnley-Whittinghall moved from London to his holiday property “River Cottage” at the border to Devon / Dorset in 1997. Since then, he has filmed a series of “River Cottage” programs. Here his comitment to organic gardening and animal welfare began. Meanwhile, “River Cottage” became more than just a place for the telecast.
The beautiful photos are from Simon Wheeler, who finds always a way to show the simple minimalist food in all its beauty. Additional elements of the visual design are the illustrations by Mariko Jesse. The composition of photos and illustrations form a harmonious and beautiful book.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall responds with this book to the needs of people who require for health reasons food without milk and wheat products. More and more people have problems with particularly wheat, but can still enjoy other cereals. Researches show that the wheat has changed significantly in recent decades. The author shows baking recipes with corn, buckwheat or rye. Instead of milk or dairy products the autor uses almond milk and cashew-cream.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal has additionally provided the vegan food with a symbol. The title “Light & Easy” reveals the guideline for this cookbook. The meals are light, because of the lack of dairy products and wheat and they are easy to prepare.
This cookbook is divided into eleven chapters: Introduction, breakfast, baking, soup, salad, fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, sweets, ingredients. I want to emphasize especially the chapters breakfast and fruit: Here we can find very simple and light meals that require little time, thus everyone can find something light and easy for breakfast. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall simply shows simple food with a twist like grapefruit with pepper, berry fruit with spice, banana with lime, strawberries with almonds, polenta with honey, various smoothies like Pina Colada smoothie, berry smoothie, but also pumpkin pancakes, scrambled eggs with herring, masala omelette, raspberry lime-date salad, pineapple with brown sugar and allspice, apple with basil and pine nuts, and many more.
Each chapter is introduced by a text. The recipes are built in classic way, first the ingredients list then the preparation steps. The explanations are clear and easy to understand. You will also find variations just below the preparation steps. Almost all recipes are illustrated with a full-page photo.
In the chapter soups, you will find many easy recipes for cold fresh and fruity soups such as peas and spinach soup, carrot and apple soup, beetroot soup, Waldorf soup, gooseberry gazpacho, Nectarine soup with raspberries or very green soup. You will also find hot soups in that chapter. The author gives the dishes a special touch just by using some spices or herbs such as “pears and blueberries with thyme and dates with cracked pepper” or “quinoa gooseberry tabbouleh with fresh mint leaves, allspice and cinnamon” or “roasted pumpkin with garlic, chicory, blackberry and thyme “. In this book, one is forced to his happiness. Although the compositions sometimes sound strange, the result is surprisingly good.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall takes the best ideas from the kitchens of the world, especially the Mediterranean region and combines them with the preferences of British and creates a new recipe. His compositions are brave and full of surprises. Here are some recipe examples: Salad with braised parsnips and apples, Fischorizo with broad beans, pigeon with cabbage and star anise, lamb with green beans and mint, chicken with lentils and rosemary, Jerusalem artichoke puree with capers and olive pesto, beetroot burger, new potatoes braised with lettuce, roasted carrots with sesame seeds, prunes and honey star anise granita, peach with crumble, fruit cake with cider, and many more.
After the chapters for the recipes we find a detailed glossary of ingredients used. The baking recipes without gluten are seperately listed. At last we find the alphabetical recipe register.
Of course I’ve tried a few recipes and I am sure many will follow.
“Trout with Chermoula”: With fresh fish from the market, I cooked the “Trout with Chermoula”. It is so simple and so delicious, that we had it already several times.
“Chicken Liver on Cucumber”: This spicy “Chicken liver on cucumber” is a delicious light dinner and thanks to the cucumber it tastes fresh and light.
“Coconut Macaroons”: For tea I baked some “coconut macaroons”. My first fluffy coconut macaroons. A Pleasure! Next time I will try them with chocolate topping.
Conclusion: ***** A wonderful cookbook that belongs in every kitchen. It is full with many ideas and new delicious combinations and delightful compositions without dairy products and wheat. Simple food celebration. A must have!