Monday, 14 April 2014

Book Review - Thrive Energy Cookbook

This is a big book for 150 recipes - it is chock full of pictures (general food items, the recipes and Brendan Brazier being athletic), and very bright and colourful. The theory is recipes for "high net energy gain" where the foods provide the most nutrition and energy for your calorific buck, after the energy to digest the food has been spent. Because the author is a high- achieving athlete a lot of the recipes do focus on the needs of athletes. Nothing wrong with that - and the recipes are suitable for all.

The introductory chapters look at the theory behind the style of eating and ingredients common to the recipes. It is interesting reading. The recipes are labelled with codes for those which are for Transition, Raw, Gluten-Free, Protein-Rich, or Super Nutrient-Dense, so you can choose ones which best suit your needs. There is a chapter for "Basic" recipes which are used as ingredients in other recipes. I'd actually like to see more recipes in this chapter (such as those under the Multi-Use Staples sub chapter in Appetizers) as with the recipes I made there were quite a few other recipes needed to have been made first. Otherwise I found the recipe chapter groupings logical and easy to follow. The recipes are laid out one to a page and give indications of times required, and equipment needed.

The recipes I made -
Page 67 - Falafel Patties
Tasty. Held together quite well. I served with Salad instead of stuffed in a pita.

Page 74 - Roasted Garlic Tahini Sauce
First I made the Roasted Garlic on page 64. Easy to make once that was done. Tasted great but was much better (intensely garlic) after a couple of days in the fridge.

Page 76 - Pad Thai Sauce
Nice nut butter sauce but not really pad Thai. I made up my own stir fry noodle and vege dish to use this instead of using the pad Thai recipe in the book. Tasted good, though I did add a bunch of Sriracha to mine.

Page 109 - Coconut, Lemongrass and Lime Soup
Lovely broth. However the other ingredients tended to sink to the bottom.

Page 117 - Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Soup
Rich and creamy this was a lovely soup. Warming and comforting.

Page 136 - Ginger, Lemongrass and Peanut Salad
Firstly I had to make the Asian Julienned Vege Mix Page 136, and the Ginger and Lemongrass Vinaigrette Page 146. However I fudged it a little and just used what I had as I didn't have all the ingredients for this Asian mix. I did not use the tempeh, but still enjoyed the salad.

Not too keen on all the recipes calling for the Wildwood Garlic Aioli. Would prefer to have options for make it yourself. Granted these are all marked as "transition" recipes, but this is not something I have seen in my local stores and I didn't feel like searching for it.

Apparently in the US this book has an alternate cover so you may see it looking like this -

Monday, 7 April 2014

Book review - Mayim's Vegan Table

I must say I love the apron Mayim is wearing on the cover of this book. In a funny twist that happens sometimes it is made from the same material chosen (and used) by the designer for Vegan al Fresco. Follow the link to see! Great taste all round maybe?

This is a nice sized book - there is a picture insert illustrating a number of the recipes - and lots of introductory information (4 chapters) so would be a good resource for new vegans and vegan curious folks. The intro chapters look at everything from stocking pantries, to meal and menu tips, to nutritional information, so even if you're a longer term vegan you may find something of interest.

The recipes are laid out mainly one to a page, and the use of two colours and italics in the text provides visual interest without being too busy. the recipes are easy to read and follow. There are a number of tips for substitutions given on some recipes as well. There are recipes from Mayim, her co-author (and nutritional expert) Dr jay Gordon, as well as some donated by the photographer and other friends. The recipes I made -

Page 100 - Dilled Chickpea Burgers
These were very nice. They held there shape well too which sometimes is an issue with chickpea burgers and were nice alongside salad and the sauce.

Page 109 - Brussels Sprouts Chips
Yum. Really Yum. More roasted leaves of Brussels than chips I'd eat cold, and really time consuming to peel the sprouts but so very tasty!

Page 110 - Guacamole
Apparently this is even better than the Guac I usually make. According to the 9 year old!

Page 120 - Hummus
Very simple basic hummus recipe. Quite thick so I did add some water for a thinner consistency.

Page 144 - Winter Vegetable Risotto
Very nice, even without the Mirin (or wine). Would have been better had I remembered to get the wine!

Page 152 - Veggie Chili
I didn't add the kale but it was very good without it. I thought I'd snuck the zucchini past the picky eater until I saw the wee pile left on her plate!

Recommended? I'm not one to buy into stuff just because a celebrity endorses it, so I almost like this book in spite of it being written by a TV person. There are lots of real food for real folks type recipes which appeal.