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Deliciously Ella: Awesome ingredients, incredible food that you and your body will love
Deliciously Ella: Awesome ingredients, incredible food that you and your body will love
by Ella Woodward
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

352 of 374 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment... that continues to disappoint., 28 Mar. 2015
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I follow the blog, but I'm really disappointed in this book. I don't have a crazy sweet tooth, so with the majority of the recipes appearing to be dessert and sweets stuffed with dates, my least favourite dried fruit (seriously guys, show figs and apricots some love too!) is not great. And the savoury meals that are included just look bad - baked beans which are essentially a tube of tomato paste (200g!) with tins of white beans and tomatoes. And the lentil bolognese which is made from TWO tubes of tomato paste (400g!!), with tins of tomatoes AND sundried tomatoes, but no oregano, thyme or any other typical italian seasonings - hell, you could even use just herbes de provence. This lack of seasoning in the savoury meals is especially annoying as earlier in the book she says herbs and spices are the backbone of her diet, yet where are they? As another example, where are the cumin, coriander and oregano in her bean chili? And a Thai curry with a lack of typical Thai seasonings. I can cut some slack on the use of miso in the thai curry, as I also use it to give a tang missing from the lack of fish sauce, but no lemongrass? I know she wants this book to be accessible, but most supermarkets stock lemongrass, even ready minced, these days.
On another note, which may be due to the publisher, is the insane layout of the book. Sure, it's a great book to flick through whilst sat on the sofa with a cup of tea, but if you want to quickly find a dinner recipe you can't just flick to the dinner section, cos, umm, there isn't one. The layout reads more like a university dissertation than a cookbook, with each chapter being a type of food, with its own intro and then recipes. I've read on her blog that books 2 and 3 have been commissioned, yet she doesn't seem to open to suggestions from her readers about making the layout more user friendly, but again maybe this is due to the publisher's demands.
On another point, do not even get me started on the use of "the mug"... what is wrong with using standard measurements! And I'm dubious about the metric conversions e.g. just because one mug of ingredient A is 200g does not mean that 2 mugs of ingredient B is 400g. I know she started off writing the blog as a hobby and just grabbed a mug, but surely when publishing a book it would be courteous to your readers to use a standard measurement (oh dear, I got started...). Moving on...
I would not buy another book of hers, especially when she says things on Instagram like she has a week to create 12 new recipes. That can not be done well, but maybe that's how you end up with recipes equalling one tube of tomato paste + one tin of beans.

In summary two stars were given as it is a beautiful book, with many pictures and lots of information on healthy foods, but the majority of the recipes just do not deliver for me. There are some interesting recipes in there, for example the key lime pie looks great for summer barbeques, but for people looking for simple yet great vegan recipes I would recommend books from Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows (very allergy friendly) or Aine Carlin of PeaSoupEats (very accessible, more British/Irish recipes).

Edited to add:
I have re-read this book to try and understand the hype behind it, but I just become more angry that should a terrible book is topping the best sellers list. I have read in the guardian that both of her parents are wealthy, and presumably influential and therefore that must be why she has appeared in so many tv shows and newspapers to drum up interest in the book.
Here are some more red flags to my angry bull:
- many recipes calling for a ridiculous amount of olive oil, e.g. 150 ml in the focaccia.
- recipes she paints as being her idea but have existed on the internet since the time of the dinosaurs e.g. banana ice cream "the most magical recipe I've ever created" and brazil nut cheese spring to mind.
- her tabbouleh does not contain any flat leaf parlsey, when that is the key ingredient. If you want a great recipe, google Ottolenghi and just swap the bulghur for cooked quinoa.
- her opinion being presented (wrongly!) as fact e.g. that spirulina contains vitamin B12, except that it doesn't exist in a bioactive form that can be taken up by the body (so called psuedo B12) and this a dangerous fact to present as vegan diets completely lack B12, you must supplement otherwise you risk serious neural damage. Also, she says she doesn't eat peanut butter because a fungus linked to cancer grows on the roots, but this same fungus also grows on maize, and other nut and grain crops so just cutting out peanut butter won't "save" you from it. She then states that she doesn't eat tofu because it is a "processed" product, but she will happily chow down on gluten free pastas and bread which are arguably more processed. She also harps on about avoiding acidic foods and eating alkalising foods - a fad disproved by science. The acid/alkaline balance of your body is tightly controlled - altering your food intake won't change it. Sure you can change the pH of your pee, but you're peeing it out for a reason - it's waste!
- Funnily enough she calls many foods "bland" e.g. white beans and tofu, which I think just reflects her lack of cooking experience as plenty of other vegan chefs use their neutral flavour to their advantage e.g. use white beans pureed to make mash or use pureed tofu in desserts or in creamy sauces.
- so many recipes are filler. Do we really need to be told how to fill a banana with chocolate and bake it, or to fill slices of cucumber with avocado?
- other recipes look like they were cribbed from BBC good food and other places, for example the roasted squash, olive, avocado and rocket salad is remarkably similar to one I have made for years from BBC GF; and the superfood bread is a lot like Sarah Brittons' life changing loaf of bread. It's okay to take "inspiration" but at least cite where you took it from.
- more weight inaccuracies I have spotted included p.130 where 10 medium potatoes weigh 1.25 kg for the classic mashed potato (which also includes another ridiculous measurement of olive oil - 150ml!) but below 5 medium potatoes weigh 750g for the giant hash brown - an example of sloppy editing, surely just listing the weight of potatoes would suffice. And on what planet do you need 600g pasta to feed 4 people or what person can eat 5 tbsp of soaked chia seeds in one portion?! What also grates on me is the lack of precision in saying how much a recipe will yield e.g. "1 large bowl".
- more cases of too much added sweetener in savoury recipes - the falafel recipe has both 2 tbsp date syrup and 2 tbsp apple puree with no spice (e.g. chili) to offset the sweetness.

Other great vegetarian/healthy books I can recommend include either books from green kitchen stories, or one of the offerings from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall (veg every day is great).
Comment Comments (21) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2015 8:51 PM BST

Keep it Vegan: 100 simple, healthy & delicious dishes
Keep it Vegan: 100 simple, healthy & delicious dishes
by Áine Carlin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says on the tin, and finally a vegan cookbook to British/Irish tastes!, 28 Mar. 2015
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I really like this book. I know some comments have complained that this book is too simple, but I disagree. I think it has carefully balanced the fine line between being great for new cooks (both new in general and to vegan cooking) and being a good resource for seasoned cooks too as I think these are great simple recipes to build upon and substitute for whatever you have in your kitchen. It doesn't use too many, if any ingredients that can't be found in your supermarket (e.g. no superfoods, no crazy gluten free stuff). I love that it uses alot of less sexy ingredients like borlotti beans, tarragon, red cabbage and your humble green peas and broad beans. I also really appreciate that it isn't stuffed to the gills with recipes that use lots of kale, expensive nuts and dates! (Not mentioning any names... *cough*deliciouslyella*cough*)
This book really caters to my tastes - British/Irish recipes, and some Mexican and Indian fusion in there too, and there's some interesting, novel flavour combos that I can't wait to try e.g. kiwi in soup and pear french toast with rosemary! Can't argue with £4.99 either!

Death by Food Pyramid
Death by Food Pyramid
by Denise Minger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.38

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought, 2 April 2014
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This review is from: Death by Food Pyramid (Hardcover)
This book is well researched and well written. It gives a great background into the shady Big Business in the US, and built on information I'd gotten previously from the book Fast Food Nation and the film Food Inc. It also gives balanced pros and cons to the current, seemingly conflicting, big diets/lifestyles - paleo, vegan and mediterranean. It definitely gave me food for thought (groan!), and a good read. I didn't want it to end!

Sevenhills Wholefoods Organic Raw Chia Seeds 1kg, Soil Association certified organic
Sevenhills Wholefoods Organic Raw Chia Seeds 1kg, Soil Association certified organic
Offered by Sevenhills Wholefoods
Price: £7.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money, 2 April 2014
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At £20 a kilo for organic chia seeds, it is a great price - almost a 50% reduction on the price in my nearest health food shop. That said, I was gutted that the price dropped £3 just after I purchased them, c'est la vie! (I guess they're even greater value now!) Additionally, the bag is sturdy and reseals excellently - I won't need to use a Kilner jar to store them any longer. Will definitely buy again when I finish this bag.

Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.38

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite cookbooks., 24 Mar. 2014
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I've had this book for 3 years now, and just felt I had to leave a review. I guess the words "vegan, low fat cookbook" don't inspire confidence, but you can not tell this is low fat. I've probably made over 50% of these recipes, some of them repeatedly, and they do not lack on taste - my other half (omnivore) and I (vegetarian) are not even vegan, but we find these recipes delicious and we can not believe the calorie counts.
This cookbook is probably one of the most used in my collection. Sure, it's not pretty, only a smattering of pictures in the centre, but it delivers on content and is not reliant on fake substitutes, just full of tasty vegetables. I quite often find myself pulling it out to make a lowfat vegan side to a more decadent meal.
My favourite recipes - salads: sushi and taco are now staples; sides: caulipots and onion rings (delicious!); veggies - mushroom tibs are top: beans - upside down lentil shepherd's pie (one of my favourite meals of all time) and hottie black-eyed peas and greens; tofu & tempeh: red thai tofu mmm; pasta: fusilli roasted veggie primavera, the marinara recipe has become a staple in my kitchen - I use it on pasta, pizza, in italian subs!; soups: I converted a split pea hater with the smoky split pea soup; curries, chili and stews: I love all the curries in this book, and the fresh corn bread recipe has become a staple for me and the sweet potato drop biscuits are good too. The only failure I've had from this book was with making seitan, but as a newbie to seitan I believe that is down to my (lack of) technique rather than the recipe!
In summary, a great little cookbook!

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out
The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes to Glow from the Inside Out
by Angela Liddon
Edition: Paperback

32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great whole foods based vegan cookbook., 24 Mar. 2014
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I recently found Angela's blog and I enjoy each and every single entry. I couldn't wait for the cookbook to arrive and it had me running out to order a glut of different seeds. First off, it is absolutely beautiful, and kudos to Angela for doing the photography - it is stunning.
Recipe-wise, all the things I've tried so far - vegan overnight oats, morning glory (tehe) smoothie and the super power chia bread, chickpea-salad sandwich filling - have all been delicious. The other recipes I have bookmarked to try are - oil-free baked falafel, her take on hummus, ALL the soups, ALL the entrees and of course those desserts! Fudgy mocha pudding or brownies anyone?!
I like the fact that no fake meat is used, and I think fake cheese is only used once (and easily skipped) in the tex mex casserole, because I find those ingredients difficult to find where I live, and I want my veg/vegan food to be whole foods based. Her ingenuity in using these whole foods ingredients to create treats such as creamy sauces (cashew nuts and avocados), pestos (nuts/seeds) and vegan rolos (dates) is excellent, as well as crafting delicious desserts as a lot of people find the idea of tasty vegan desserts impossible (it's always great to prove them wrong!).
As another review pointed out, the sides section is a little brief (recipes still sound amazing), perhaps these could've been integrated with the entree section, with each side following a main it would pair well with. I do like the inclusion of the staples section, for example how to make your own almond milk, whipped cream from coconut milk etc, but as with the sides maybe these could have also been integrated elsewhere. One issue for me personally is that there is some variability in serving sizes so be sure to double check those, for example some recipes serve 3 which seems a little bizaare but I concede it is great for single person homes, just not so good for a greedy couple (I think these may only make 1 meal for us, heh). Since these last 2 points are down to my personal preference I won't deduct any stars, because I don't think it detracts from this top rating book.
Just a few points that may annoy some people out there, for one example the inclusion of a green tea recipe may seem like "filler" to some, but I'd never thought of including freshly squeezed juice in my green tea and I will be trying it out. Also, some of the cynics out there may not like the "hippy" names of things for example life affirming warm nacho dip, but from reading the blog I know that that is just Angela's personality shining through.

All in all, this is a great whole foods, vegan cookbook and I can see it becoming an every day staple in my kitchen along with my faithful tomes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and the veg cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall! Some ingredients may be hard to come by, but I found them all on Amazon (with free shipping!), and most recipes can be thrown together in next to no time (with any long nut/bean soaking steps clearly noted) so there's really no excuse!

Fred M-Cups, White
Fred M-Cups, White
Offered by Findmeagift
Price: £10.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Accurate and adorable!, 25 Jan. 2014
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After discovering that a previous set of "cups" were horribly inaccurate, I was overjoyed to receive these - both cute and accurate and in 6 sizes rather than the 4 or 5 I've seen in other sets. The written measurements inside the cup may be hard to see, but once you learn the order of sizes they are very simple to use. Can't recommend enough!

Pretty Kitty Fashion Pretty Purple Flower Swing Prom Dress L 14
Pretty Kitty Fashion Pretty Purple Flower Swing Prom Dress L 14
Offered by Pretty Kitty Fashion
Price: £27.95

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful dress, 30 Nov. 2010
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The dress arrived in 2 days and is absolutely beautiful, it fits perfectly. I can't believe how good quality the dress is for the amount it cost. I can't wait to wear it!

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