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4.4 out of 5 stars79
4.4 out of 5 stars
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2014
Diana Henry is literally in a different league. As someone who owns more than 600 cookbooks, cooks on a daily basis and reads cookbooks the way other people read novels, I can say with confidence that this is a most unique cookbook. The diversity of the recipes and the scope of this book are truly breathtaking. She has researched her subject extensively and it shows. Many people can write a cookbook, a select few can write a cookbook anywhere close to this one. If all cookbooks were like this one, a serious cook would only need a handful. I am sure I will be cooking from it for years to come.
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68 of 76 people found the following review helpful
I have been a fan of Diana Henry for a long time, but she really has surpassed herself with this book. In the introduction she outlines her approach to eating and how it had changed over the years. She lists her bibliography at the end of the book and I wasn't too surprised to see that I have shared much of the research she has undertaken - like Diana Henry, I avoid sugar and processed foods. She says 'the best thing you can do for good health is to eat proper home-cooked food, limit anything processed, really keep an eye on refined carbohydrates (especially sugar), switch to whole grains for at least some meals and up your vegetable intake.'

However, the key thing is that she's put together a book of recipes where the food naturally follows these principles and that food is completely delicious. As she says, this is not a book of deprivation or crankiness. These are dishes that are perhaps 'accidentally healthy' whilst being delicious. Diana Henry says that she has been heavily influenced by Middle Eastern food and also plundered the cuisines of Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.

I had this book on pre-order as I am such as fan of Diana Henry's other books and I see that the copy I was sent has its sub title inverted - mine says 'where healthy meets delicious' and the link takes you to one saying 'where delicious meets healthy' - both are correct, however you want to say it!

If there is a criticism I have of the book is that the recipes and menus aren't listed in the table of contents - yes they're in the index and, yes, I like the seasonal themed approach, but it would have been nice to be able to run your eyes down the list of spring recipes, for example, now that the sun has come out and I fancy something light and flavourful.

I have enjoyed exploring the book's recipes and will post an update when I have made more. Each seasonal section includes 3 menus of starter, main course and pudding. Much of the book follows my preferred layout of recipe with photo on the facing page but there are a number of recipes without photos and some bonus recipes where she builds on a soup, say, with an alternative. Dispersed throughout the book are some thoughts on diets, a list of breakfasts and of lunches - directing you to recipes within the book - but again these pages aren't highlighted in the contents list.

In addition to some lovely fresh salads and fresh dishes such as crab with chilli and garlic and teriyaki salmon with pickled vegetables and sesame seeds, spring menus are:
- feta and orange salad with honeyed almonds/ persian saffron and mint chicken with couscous/greek yoghurt and apricot ice cream
- rice paper rolls with nuoc chan / Japanese rice bowl /fruits with mint and ros-Shave vegetables with lemon / salmon with bay leeks / blueberry and gin jellies

summer menus are:
- sicilian artichoke and broad bean sale with saffron dressing / espresso granita
- white beans with roast peppers eggs and hilbeh / persian spice bread / berry and hibiscus sorbet
- grilled summer herb mackerel / poached white peaches with rosé wine jelly

autumn menus are:
roast veg with agresto / cavolo pilaf with figs /watercress salad / blackberry-apple rye galette
Persimmon and avocado salad / burmese chilli fish / citrus compote with ginger snow
lentil, roast tomato and saffron soup / indian spiced beetroot, pumpkin and spinach / mangoes

winter menus are:
red lentil kofte / spiced quail with blood orange and date salad / yoghurt and apricot compote
mandaly carrot salad / spiced haddock stew / blood orange and cardamon sorbet
bagna cauda / georgian chicken with walnut sauce / orange and pomegranate cake

These full menus are one of the things I appreciate about Dian Henry as a food writer - she picks a menu where you can rely on the flavours working together and I look forward to trying these out.

All of the recipes I've tried so far have been great and straightforward to cook. You do need a wide range of spices but since I cook from the Ottolenghi: The Cookbook a great deal, my store cupboard was already furnished with these.

For my recent book group I made the carrot and ginger soup with cucumber raita and the orange and pomegranate cake - both winners. For a mid-week supper I made the chicken with yoghurt and pomegranates which was easy and delicious. When a friend came over I tried the Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber and was praised to the skies. I've also had success with the teriyaki salmon with pickled vegetables and sesame seeds - my first time pickling vegetables. I have also made the Ballymaloe bread and the borlotti beans with anchovy and rosemary sauce - both quick and delicious.

I can tell that I'll be cooking from this all year.

Highly recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2015
Out of the great many cookbooks I have purchased over the years, this one is stunning! Every dish I have made from it has been outstanding. The flavours, the colours and the textures are incredible! I cannot speak highly enough of this book and cannot believe the less favourable reviews here.
Yes some of the ingredients may not be on your weekly shopping list but a trip to a good Sainsburys, a Waitrose or local ethnic store usually does the trick. The recipes are easy to follow and just require a little time.

This book is perfect as a gift for a foodie. It's brilliant for using when you are entertaining friends for dinner. You will be proud of cooking anything from this book!

The Spiced Pork Chops with Ginger and Mango Relish is to die for. I served it with the Spiced Carrot, Date and Sesame Salad - divine!

Try the Indian Spiced Beetroot, Pumpkin and Spinach topped with yoghurt, freshly grated coconut and lime juice. Amazing! And!!! Totally healthy.
If you love cooking. You'll love this book!
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2014
I got this book last week and decided to cook two dishes from it, for friends, for lunch on Saturday. I made the Persian Saffron and Mint Chicken with Spring Couscous (with a yogurt sauce) and the Mandalay Carrot Salad. They weren't within the same seasonal chapter but they went beautifully together. I'm a slow cook and I have to read the recipe over and over again to make sure I haven't gone off course, so it took me a while to prepare the lunch as there was a fair bit of chopping and prepping (and I had help from one of my friends), but it was more than worth it when we came to sit down and eat it (and actually, very enjoyable to take the time). The flavours and textures of the food were not only delicious but so cleverly thought out.

Having read Diana's introduction, which seems to be written directly to me (i.e., want to eat better, but first and foremost, want the food to be delicious, not cranky healthy and brown), I too now want to undergo a 'Change of Appetite' - if I can eat this well and for it to happen to be good for me too - why not? Life is too short to eat cardboard.

P.S I forgot to mention that my friend made the Orange and Pomegranate cake for that lunch. There wasn't a crumb or pomegranate seed left.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2015
Like Purpleheart, I am a long time Diana Henry fan, but I think with this book she may well have surpassed herself. I've tried loads of recipes - on friends, family, husband - and they have almost all been wow. I've given copies to my sis, my daughter, and recommended it to anybody willing to listen. It really is that good. I have no idea how she manages to capture so effectively the culinary zeitgeist - and who cares? All I know is that she has an uncanny knack of producing recipes which I really want to try.

Those I have tried include:

Teriyaki salmon with pickled vegetables and sesame seed (now a favourite in our household)
Japanese ginger and garlic chicken with smashed cucumber (ditto - and party fare for my daughter)
Nectarine, tomato and basil salad with torn mozzarella (I thought this would be dull - an odd mix- I was so wrong - my note in book says 'unbeatable')
Goat cheese and cherry salad with almond and basil germinate
Seared tuna with chilli and peanut dressingSkewered chicken with lime, chilli and mint salad
Buttermilk sherbet
Carrot, cabbage and apple salad - my notes say 'fab'
Chicken and pumpkin with soy and star anise - my husband made this one and it was fantastic.
Spiced pork chops with ginger and mango relish
Soy mushrooms with egg ribbons and black sesame
Quinoa, black lentil, mango and smoked chicken with korma dressing - again made by my husband. The dressing in particular is wow. Our locally bought chicken was a bit over-smoked so next time will try with the non smoked variety - or perhaps with smoked tofu. But a delicious plateful.
Carrot and mooli salad with peanut chilli dressing - although there was a lot of prep, the flavours were fantastic.
Kale pesto with wholewheat linguini - I've made this a couple of times - sometimes we eat the pesto on crackers too.
Seared tuna with avocado and wasabi puree - now I use the puree for other things too.
Seabass ceviche with avocado and grapefruit. Really fresh tasting.

In writing this, I realise I haven't made many of the cakes / desserts, so I need to get stuck into this, but I truly think this is a book I'd like to cook my way through from start to finish (season by season). Highly recommended
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2014
Anything by Diana Henry is brilliant and this is no exception. Really well researched recipes beautifully illustrated as, buy, buy..... (However don't expect a book of real low calorie cooking, it does use sugar and give recipes for cakes etc. - it's just slightly less indulgent than some of her other books). If you like this try Roast Figs, Sugar Snow, or my favourite Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2014
I was really looking forward to this book coming out and it hasn't disappointed me. It's full of things I want to make, and the couple of things I've had a go at so far have been brilliant. The idea of accidentally healthy food is very attractive to someone who isn't keen on diets but wants to improve some of their eating habits (me). Reading this I'm not thinking about what I can and can't do which makes it so much easier to swap bad habits for good ones.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2014
Diana'a recipes in the Telegraph are amongst my favourite, full or orginality and wit. The book is an extension of her articles. I've always been into healthy eating and none of the ingredients were revelatory. What for me was so good was that the food was so elegant, simple and edible to other members of my family that arent so into health... which is everyone else...

The Pistachio and Lemon Cake, made with olive oil and pistachios (no flour) was a real highlight. I'm making it at Pesach.

That said, every page is a highlight - delicious and requiring little cheffy skill just good ingredients and a basic ability in making buttermilk. The suppliers she recommended were good too. I actually started using Healthy Suppliers, because even though I live in London, I hate shopping and the on-line store had a great range of stuff.

I read the Telegraph, which in spite of my left wing views, is the only newspaper that seems well-written/ inc. FT Weekend (gosh so middle aged!) .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2015
I'm newish to Diana Henry and I don't know why it's taken me so long to find her recipes! I bought "Food from Plenty" which is invaluable and now I want to eat healthier, this book has become my go to. Creative, delicious recipes set out seasonally, what's not to love. Only gripe is, more photos would be handy (I like to know what I'm aiming for visually)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2015
I have all Diana's books, and almost every recipe in every book is one I want to cook. This book does not disappoint. Her recipes always work, and her taste combinations are to die for. Her recipe for black bread in this book will change your attitude to making your own bread, it is utterly delicious. Try it!
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