Deliciously Ella: Awesome Ingredients, Incredible Food That You and Your Body Will Love by Ella Woodward
|Deliciously Ella: Awesome Ingredients, Incredible Food That You and Your Body Will Love by Ella Woodward|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Get past some of the claims for the ingredients at the beginning of the book and there are some great, tasty recipes which are healthy and good for you.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: January 2015|
|Publisher: Yellow Kite|
|External links: Author's website|
Last year I had some health problems which caused me to take a hard look at the way that I was eating: within a month or so I was feeling a lot better as a result of the changes and six months on I can't imagine going back to the way that I used to eat. But there was one snag: we seemed to be eating the same few dishes most of the time and I needed fresh inspiration. Deliciously Ella was the book everyone seemed to be talking about and with a few clicks it was on its way to me from Amazon.
I did wonder if I was going to like it: the word 'insanely' was so overused (sometimes more than once on a page) it was, well, mad. Then there were the claims about some of the ingredients. Let's take coconut oil. Ella Woodward says Whilst it is high in fat, the fat is all really good for you... Coconut oil is a saturated fat (which raise levels of both good and bad cholesterol). Duane Mellor, an assistant professor of dietetics at the University of Nottingham suggests using it occasionally rather than daily. Apple Cider Vinegar is said by Woodward to be amazing for digestive issues. If you're having digestive issues you can take a shot of it before every meal, which will do wonders. Mellor says that it is best used as a condiment - it might help, not because of anything it contains, but because it would be replacing less-healthy food. Chia seeds are insanely good for us but Mellor says ... chia is not unique and should be enjoyed more for its effect on texture. (The quotes from Duanne Mellor are from an article about 'Miracle Foods' in The Observer on 15 February 2015.)
In her late teens Woodward became very ill and was eventually diagnosed with postural tachycardia syndrome - you can find more information about this on the NHS website. There is nothing to suggest that diet is a factor in the illness although the NHS website does refer to 'lifestyle changes' as possibly helping to manage the illness and says that it can affect teenagers after a growth spurt and that it can gradually disappear a few years later. Whilst what you eat does not seem to affect the illness Woodward had a very poor diet as a university student and basically lived off a delicious mixture of Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream, mountains of chocolate (preferably filled with gooey caramel) and lots of fizzy pick 'n' mix. I can only hope that there's more than a little hyperbole there but it does seem obvious that an improved diet could only benefit her health.
Store cupboard essentials are more reasonable than in most cookery books and the equipment required is limited but not cheap - a food processor, blender and juicer are the bulk of the list. I liked the information on making some basics - milks, butters and cooking grains. Certainly the milks and butters were new concepts to me.
I was more impressed by the book when I looked at the recipes. I liked the buckwheat and beetroot risotto - the coconut milk makes for a very creamy feel in the mouth. My favourite recipe in the grains section is the Mexican quinoa bowl - a bowl of quinoa (as you might have guessed) served with cashew cream, guacamole, salsa and black beans. The recipe serves four but even if there are only two of you the leftovers are not going to go to waste. For another risotto - try the butternut squash.
It was refreshing to see snacks without a mention of sugar. I'm tempted by the granola bars, but just a little reluctant to try them as they have three tablespoons of cinnamon in twenty bars and that seems rather a lot! I rather hope that someone can prove me wrong! I am convinced by the cinnamon pecan granola, which is delicious and you can change the dried fruit to suit your taste. For a real tasty treat try the raw brownies which require only three ingredients and quite a lot of willpower not to eat it all straight away.
In the section on beans and pulses there are some good recipes for hummus - a basic recipe and two variations - which make a quick lunch or party food if that's what you require. The cannellini soups are delicious, particularly the roasted tomato with red pepper and basil. If - like me - you have a courgette glut in the summer you might like to try the courgette, lentil and mint salad - the addition of avocados makes it creamy.
My lifestyle change meant giving up red meat and by extension one of my favourite dishes - chilli con carne - so I was delighted to try Woodward's black and kidney bean chilli, which she serves with brown rice. Best of all it freezes well so that you can have a good meal with little effort at a later date.
There's a good selection of recipes both sweet and savoury and plenty to appeal to most tastes. It's essentially vegan but with a little knowledge you could adapt the recipes to a wider selection of ingredients if you wish. Woodward has good common sense - when talking about calories (which she doesn't believe in counting) she makes the fair point that a handful of nuts just isn't the same as a Mars Bar. I just wish that she could have been persuaded away from those claims about foods at the beginning of the book.
For more vegan food we have reviews of The 30-Minute Vegan: 150 Simple and Delectable Recipes for Optimal Health by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray and Vegan Lunch Box Around the World by Jennifer McCann but we think that Deliciously Ella is better than either of them.
You can read more book reviews or buy Deliciously Ella: Awesome Ingredients, Incredible Food That You and Your Body Will Love by Ella Woodward at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Deliciously Ella: Awesome Ingredients, Incredible Food That You and Your Body Will Love by Ella Woodward at Amazon.com.
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