Slowly, slowly I’ve been changing the way I eat, cutting out more refined food and focusing more and more on making real proper whole food. So, it was with much excitement that I unwrapped my review copy of Ella Woodward’s latest book Deliciously Ella Every Day.
For those of you who haven’t heard of her, London based Ella Woodward is the author of Deliciously Ella, a hugely successful health food blog that receives more than 2 million hits per month. In 2012, in response to chronic health issues, Ella made some drastic changes to the way she was eating. She cut gluten, dairy, refined sugar, processed foods, meat and additives from her diet, and opted instead for natural, plant-based foods. Her blog was a way of sharing this process – and the food she was eating – with the world. Now, she is doing the same through her cookbooks. Her first received quite a lot of criticism for being complicated, so, in response to that (and just a year later) her second book, Deliciously Ella Every Day, has just been released with ease and simplicity as its goal.
This is a book that just hit all the right notes for me. Right out of the packaging, it’s gorgeous to look at. The layout is elegant and fresh, with a rustic feel, gorgeous yet subtle colour injected throughout the book, and photography that is refreshingly real as opposed to perfect.
Deliciously Ella Every Day offers ideas for eating better that won’t take a lot of time. There are heaps of little extras: shopping lists to make sure you’ll have what you need in the pantry; tips and tricks for shopping, in the kitchen and ways to tweak a meal; travel and busy day checklists; and even ways to take your healthy food on the go. You’ll also find useful information about the ingredients, none of which are hard to find, can pretty much all be found at your local supermarket and are relatively inexpensive. No fancy equipment needed here either. Ella’s focus is clearly on simplicity.
A simple meal does not mean you lose flavour, however (although I regularly find that I need to add a bit of tang to recipes from healthy food cookbooks). In fact, some of my favourite recipes in this book are the most simple, because with the right mix of simple ingredients you can find some of the most delicious bursts of taste, and Ella seems to get it right every time. The Smoky Aubergine Dip has become one of my new staples – I confess, often enjoying it right off the spoon – the Miso and Sesame Brown Rice will entirely change how you think of rice, and the Roasted Maple Sprouts had the non-sprout eater in the house reaching for seconds. Sesame Marinated Kale, Wilted Spinach and Black Bean Salad, Energy Bites Two Ways, and the list keeps going. So far, there is nothing I’ve made that hasn’t been utterly delicious, bursting with flavour, completely moreish, and entirely uncomplicated to prepare.
My one criticism of the book is that, being such a health-conscious book, I would have liked to see some nutritional analyses of the recipes. Why? Because I think it is easy for the general public to fall prey to the idea that because it’s food that’s good for you, you can eat enormous amounts of it.
Whether you’re after a meal for yourself, are batch cooking for the week ahead, or are feeding friends and family, all of these recipes offer optimal goodness with minimal effort. You can use recipes as stand-alone meals or as sides, whatever suits you and your lifestyle. Either way, this is vegetarian food that will soothe and nurture your body, and satisfy your taste buds.