I can’t be the only one that feels the urge to make a little bit of an improvement to my diet at this time of year, can I? Even though I start out with good intentions in January, I always tend to leave making any changes until a little later on, and now that March is in sight, I think it’s time to get out my healthy-eating books and start cooking. Today I wanted to share a review and some recipes from three of my favourite new cookbooks – and they all happen to have a particularly healthy focus.I think it’s the shift towards nicer weather and the longer hours of sunlight that make me feel like eating fresh, good-for-you meals rather than the plates of stodginess I’ve been scoffing all winter. That’s why Hungry Healthy Happy called out to me this week and I decided to flick through the pages of inspiration for healthy main meals, snacks and treats. Written by blogger Dannii Martin, a normal girl who simply wanted to change her diet for the better, it’s a really approachable tome of recipes. There’s nothing too difficult to make, no ‘never-heard-of-that’ ingredients, and no specialist equipment need. It’s just a girl like me, in her kitchen, making delicious recipes a little lighter while still keeping all the flavour. So you can probably see why I was attracted to this book, especially as the tag line reads “How to nourish your body without giving up the food you love”. That’s my kind of cooking!
The recipe that I’ve chosen to share with you today is Dannii’s moussaka bake. I’ve never made moussaka before reading about it in Hungry Healthy Happy, but now that I am a firm fan of this recipe. It seems so creamy and cheesy, yet it barely has any fat in it – that delicious-looking topping is all yoghurt and eggs with just a sprinkling of feta. I also really love how each recipe has it’s nutritional content broken-down beside it, so that I can see at a glance the protein, fat and fibre content, as well as calories and carbs – making it ideal to use alongside any healthy eating-plan you might be following. The is genuinely one of the most useful healthy recipe books I’ve come across in a long time and I can see myself baking from it all year round. Click here to access a PDF of the Moussaka recipe from Hungry Healthy Happy
The next cook book I’d love to tell you about is Grow Your Own Cake by Holly Farrell. It’s illustrated with stunning photos by Jason Ingram and every single bake looks delicious. As you’d expect from a recipe book with the tag line ‘recipes from plot to plate’ the book is based around all the things you can bake with just one fruit (or vegetable!) that you’ve grown in the garden. While the cakes might not be the low-fat, low-sugar version you’ll find in the other two cookbooks, growing your own fruit and veg is certainly a more healthy way to eat all year round. You’ll be using ingredients when you’re in season and at their most tasty. Plus, you can be sure that they’ve not been in contact with any nasty chemicals if you’re growing them yourself.
The book is not only packed full of impressive (and easy) cake recipes – it’s also got plenty of good advice for preparing your plot and growing your fruit and veg. Advice on planting, maintaining and harvesting beetroot sits alongside a mouth-watering recipe for beetroot cake. And this ‘plant-to-cake’ layout runs all the way through the book – there can’t possibly be a fruit or veg that hasn’t been included. My favourite ‘interesting’ recipe is for Fennel cake and you can access the PDF of the recipe by clicking here. Holly gives advice on the basics, such as kneading bread, making pastry and even crystallising flowers to decorate your cakes with. Plus, she’s included some dairy-free, gluten-free and wheat-free recipes for those of us with intolerances.
The final book in my library of brand new healthy recipe books is Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman. I actually came across this book by chance in my local independent bookshop (you may have spotted my Instagram photo of it last weekend!) and the cover enticed me in. How can cakes look so delicious but be so saintly?! Henrietta has used a lot of good-for-you ingredients and some miracle substitutes for sugar, wheat or dairy. This book is truly an education in what ingredients are out there and how to use them in your own baking. Lots of the flour, grains and nuts I’d already heard of but some syrups, seeds and powers were a mystery to me until now.
This recipe for coconut-cacao-quinoa bars looks absolutely amazing to me and be the first thing I bake from this recipe book. I’m a big fan of quinoa as a savoury grain so I’m sure I will love it even more when it’s covered in cacao! You can download a PDF of the Coconut-Cacao-Quinoa bars recipe by clicking here. There’s a handy section on the basics such as making crumbly yet good-for-you pastry and whipping up your own nut butters.I hope you like the sound of the recipes I’ve chosen to share with you today and that you’ll check out the free PDFs to have a go at baking them for yourself. And If you buy of these books this year please let me know because I’d love to compare baking notes with you! please leave me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy