‘Healthy’ is such a controversial word nowadays, with the low-fat brigade fighting it out against those who think an avocado a day keeps the doctor away, watched by the passionate paleos and militant vegans and vocal 5:2ers, all of whom believe that their way of eating the most healthy – and most of us are wombling around in the middle, trying to balance out wine and pizza with salad and smoothies.
We try to stick to an 80:20 (or 70:30…) thing: relatively healthy weekdays, which mainly means less cheese, less cake, less wine, and lots of veg, and then weekends with slightly more cheese, more cake, more wine, although still with lots of veg (we like veg). However, if we have a shit Thursday, we won’t ban ourselves from opening a bottle of sauv. blanv, and if we feel like we need something less indulgent than Eggs Benedict or pancakes and maple syrup on a Sunday morning, well ,that’s fine too. I think the word I’m looking for here is balance.
To that end, here are our four most-used cookbooks. All are, broadly-speaking, full of recipes which are nourishing but also enjoyable – some are better for the weekend, either because they take longer or because they are a bit richer, and some are better for weekedays, because they don’t take much time to prepare or because they’re lighter. What I really like about all four authors is that they don’t describe things with emotive language – nothing is ‘guilty’ or ‘sinful’, the term ‘clean eating’ is used rarely, if ever, and I don’t want to punch any of them in their sanctimonious face. So that’s excellent.
A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones “Packed with quick, healthy and fresh recipes, that fits perfectly with how we want to eat now…[Anna Jones’] first cookbook is a totally modern take on vegetarian eating – recipes that are healthy, nourishing, truly tasty and satisfying…”
Our favourite dish: the dhal with sweet potato and coconut chutney is really very good.
Find it for £15.94 at Wordery.
A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry “What happened when one of today’s best-loved food writers had a change of appetite? Here are the dishes that Diana Henry created when she started to crave a different kind of diet – less meat and heavy food, more vegetable-, fish- and grain-based dishes.”
Must-try recipe: the delicious Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber. (Also, the writing is marvellous – Henry is one of my favourite food writers for a reason.)
Find it for £17.77 here.
Gizzi’s Healthy Appetite by Gizzi Erskine “Gizzi Erskine believes that the key to healthy eating is to cook fresh food using good ingredients. Her ethos is to love food in all its guises and to try new things as much as possible.”
Best recipe? The update on a chicken Caesar salad is awesome.
It’s currently £17.37 at Wordery.
Simply Nigella by Nigella Lawson “Whatever the occasion, food – in the making and the eating – should always be pleasurable. Simply Nigella taps into the rhythms of our cooking lives, with recipes that are uncomplicated, relaxed and yet always satisfying.”
Our favourites? The sweet potato mac’n’cheese is one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.
Find it here for £17.72.
Have you tried anything from my four picks? What cookbooks would you recommend?