Monday, 6 November 2017

Cookbook Review: Love Real Food

It's no secret that I love a good food blog. Back in the day, I used to read hundreds of food blogs but I'm massively cut my reading list down to just a handful now. I've already written about my love of the Minimalist Baker recipe book, which might be one of my absolute favourite books, and I feel like I've been waiting forever for this release from Kathryne Taylor of Cookie and Kate.

I've been reading Cookie and Kate for absolutely years and had lots of success with her recipes. I once announced her sweet potato chilli my favourite chilli ever, and her kale fiesta salad is probably my favourite salad. Kate's blog has a great combination of healthy recipes which are also easy and incredibly tasty.

I was so excited to find out she had a book coming out and it feels like I've been waiting years to finally get it in my hands! So here's my verdict...

First Impressions
The book has pretty much everything I expected from Kate - lots of soups, salads and, while not really my thing, healthy desserts. 

My first impression was "are there enough main courses here?", as there are full chapters on soup and salad and a whole chapter of snacks and drinks called "happy hour" which I know I'll never use.

I've made it clear before I hate the whole "clean eating" brigade and everything to do with that lifestyle, so I was disappointed to find her desserts include clean eating specialities, like coconut sugar (sugar is sugar, arghhhhh!!). But what can I expect from a book called "Love Real Food?" There's some of the usual clean-eating comments in the intro, but overall she pushes moderation and health over restriction, which is a lot more positive than a lot of her contemporaries.

So I think my overall first thoughts were, is there enough here that I really want to make? Here's how I got on...


What I made

Southwestern roasted veggie salad
I know Kate makes particularly good salads, and I love anything with Mexican flavours. I don't often make salads for dinner, but this was really filling and delicious. It was easy and straightforward, and one of those recipes I had nearly everything in the cupboards I needed, but it wasn't quick to make. However, there's a lot of hands-off time, so it's easy enough to make midweek. Definitely making this again!

Bean and greens quesadilla
I love quesadillas - we eat them at least once a fortnight as an easy, lazy dinner on a Friday night or weekend lunchtime. This was quick, tasty and easily adaptable - everything a quesadilla needs to be.

Kale, sweet potato and feta scramble
This is so delicious I've actually already made it twice! Both time I was on my own so I had to scale it down quite a bit to serve 1 (quite a bit of guesswork involved!). I'm not sure why you need two pans, as I just scrambled the eggs in the same pan as the sweet potato and kale (down with more washing up!), and served with avocado. Absolutely delicious and a perfect brunch.

Mexican veggie bowl
This is a lovely, tasty, weeknight meal and quite similar to the burrito bowls I regularly make at home. I didn't bother with the beer in the beans but it was still delicious. I topped ours with feta, lettuce and salad. Definitely another to make again!

Sweet potato enchiladas 
Okay there's a good chance I put too much cheese on these but I have no regrets. These were excellent! I LOVE quesadillas and these were a perfect Sunday dinner. They do take 1.5 hours, but this is clearly stated, and I served them with the fiesta salad from her blog (honestly this salad will change your life).

Chickpea tikka masala
I make a LOT of chickpea curry, and I'm always looking for new recipes. I've got a few favourites (the Minimalist Baker one is amazing) and I've had a few disappointments (I loved Keep it Vegan but the chickpea curry was uninspiring). I adapted this slightly by using 2 cans of chickpeas and one full can of coconut milk (I hate having half-used tins in the fridge!), and found a few steps unnecessary (this recipe is over two pages which is really annoying!), but this was really delicious and easy. Another great chickpea curry recipe for the books!

Moroccan butternut squash stew
This wasn't my favourite. I'm not the biggest fan of cous cous, and as it soaked up all the liquid, this "stew" solidified into one big lump! (I ate it as a salad for a few days). I'm not sure if there was enough going on here to entice me to make it again. The only real disappointment of the book.

Moroccan carrot salad
I made a few changes to this - quinoa for wild rice, green for rocket, and it was quite easy and relatively quick, but I found it a bit boring and uninspiring. Not sure I'd make this again.

Butternut squash chilli
I've mentioned before Kate's wonderful chillies and I wasn't sure whether to bother making this, but I'm so glad I did. My current reigning champ chilli is the one from the Minimalist Baker book, but this is definitely up there. It's so tasty and easy, and I love how the butternut squash makes it so thick. I've made this once on the stove and once in the slow cooker - perfect for after a cold, wet British Military Fitness class!

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