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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book basically delivers what it claims on the cover. Sally Bee, herself a Heart-Attack survivor, presents a range of simple, healthy dishes, nicely presented in a easy-to-read, colourful book.
Like many of the reviewers here, I agree that the recipes are basic stuff, but there is also many good tips and ideas that might not always occur to the reader. While it relies a little too much on Soups and Salads and often states the obvious, this book is ideal for dipping into and maybe trying some of the starters, or discovering that salads can be more varied than we often realise. My only real criticism of this book is that it assumes that we all have well-stocked larders with lesser-known, or lesser-used ingredients at hand, or that we all access to Waitrose or a local M&S. Some ingredients I have never heard of are definitely not stocked by my local Tesco or Morrisons !!
Nevertheless, this is a book which, while being far from essential, has its uses and can inspire us all to think a little more about what we eat...
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VINE VOICEon 25 January 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
On reading this book I quickly found myself enticed by the simplicity of this cookbook and the wholesome healthy practices it advocates.

Sally's book starts with an introduction, introducing herself and some of the health issues she has fought in the past. From here she goes on to describe her healthy living policy and how she believes that her diet (and lifestyle) changes have contributed to her better health. Here we can also read a number of philosophical points which underlies her ideas, basically she believes that eating good food is the best thing we can do for our health; she then goes on to note that we should listen to or bodies after we have eaten asking ourselves questions such as do we sleep better after certain foods, how well do we move etc. Finally Sally notes that we all eat too much (think about all those supersize potions flling our society) and also comments that good exercise is a part of the puzzle. This is all common sense (so rare in our society) but presented in a clear readable and above all useful format.

The rest of the book is then broken into the following chapters: Soups, salads, sides and starters, chicken and turkey, fish, red meat, vegetarian, desserts and finally drinks. Each section then contains an interesting range of dishes which are often imaginative, all quite quick and simple to prepare and all healthy. Each recipe is marked as to whether it could be treated as an everyday dish or if it is a bit more luxurious kept as a treat.

I really like this book. Its message is that we can (and should) all eat more healthy but not as absolute freaks who focus so much on perfect health that we all cut out every pleasure from our diet. Rather that we should all eat better and still enjoy the nice things in moderation and as part of a balanced and above all fun diet.

Very highly recommended
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Sally Bee suffered three heart attacks in her 30's as a result of a genetic condition, and was not expected to survive. Having battled the odds to pull through, she subsequently adopted a healthy eating plan, recipes from which are published in this book.

There are two approaches taken - the first is to focus on cooking with low-fat/heart-friendly ingredients to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems (e.g. omega-3 rich mackeral, creme fraiche instead of double cream), the second to incorporate foods thought to have more widespread health benefits (e.g. antioxidant tomatoes, wine and garlic, anti-inflammatory onions).

The recipes are not particularly complicated - salads, soups and one pot casseroles abound. There is the odd recipe which could be deemed 'posh' enough to impress at a dinner party e.g. cod and pesto with butter bean mash, or tarragon chicken with celeriac mash - but mostly this is just a healthier take on standard everyday family recipes (tomato soup, chilli beans on toast, pork chops with apples and pears, chocolate vanilla mousse).

I didn't find any of the recipes massively inspiring, not helped by the fact that there were a lot of dishes without any accompanying pictures, but do conceed that this could be a good book for someone with significant health issues who needs to make radical changes to their diet and lifestyle without wanting to compromise too much on flavour.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was lured into this book by the happy summer colours and feel-good vibe, but on reading it thoroughly I've been very disappointed, and slightly annoyed.

The recipes are extremely basic and uninspiring - they're the sort of thing you find in the 80p women's weeklies. It's the same old sausage casserole, cod with pesto, fish pie, over and over. Bee's 'twist' is the old 1980's very low fat, very high carb (carbs being sugar anyway, so don't expect any weight loss for using fat-reduced but sugar enhanced 'low fat' mozzerella). There's nothing new here, except maybe Bee's need to use organic nuts, balanced against her quiet endorsement of factory farmed meat and battery eggs.

For easy, innovative, recipes, embracing the modern understanding of healthy and ethical, spend your money on Bill's Basics instead.

(Amazon Vine reviews of less than 5 stars are generally repeatedly voted as 'unhelpful', often by the PR companies promoting the book. This is my honest review and I really don't care about vote rankings.)
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VINE VOICEon 26 July 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Its a decent basic book. The recipes have been done before, but if its something simple you want to cook then this would be a good starter book. My wife has used it to cook us the Chicken Korma (my favourite and definitely tastier and less fattening than any take away), Healthy Fish and Chips and Mushy Peas (plain food, I prefer the mushy peas from the shop), and the Brocolli and Leek bake which again was full of quite healthy ingredients.
Nothing too dificult to cook, but its not going to take you to the finals of Masterchef either
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you're interested in this book do watch Sally's 'related video' posted here and read Amazon's review, they are quite informative. After three heart attacks in her mid thirties and having young children to look after, Sally Bee re-appraised her lifestyle and food choices and this recipe book, combined with her earlier one 'The secret ingredient: recipes that might save your life', are a result of that. On picking up the book first impressions are that its bit lightweight, with lots of white spaces and the presentation/pictures not being anywhere near as classy as celebrity cook brand-leader competitor's such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith. Indeed there aren't pictures of every dish, and oddly next to those without one there's say a picture of cute young children eating/climbing trees or broccoli stuck in a mug. So for example Jamie Oliver's `30 second meals' book seems far more jam packed with info than Sally Bee's 'Recipe for Life' book. However when you look closely, Sally's book has 100 recipes to Jamie's 50, with Jamie's book filling in all it's extra 80 pages with loads more pretty food related pictures. With Sally's book you get an 18 page 'living a healthy lifestyle' intro as well.

Although it's a 'healthy eating' book, only 22 of Sally's 291 pages are specifically vegetarian dishes, and the majority have some meat or fish in them [although some starters, soups and salads are veggies only, and naturally the puddings and drinks are all meat free as well]. The healthy eating largely comes from reducing the meat, using olive oil a lot, and adding in extra veg and lentils/bulgur wheat. For example the recipe for Lentil and Sausage casserole has just 6 sausages in it to serve 4 to 6 [with 10z of lentils filling the gap] - and the sausages are cooked beforehand to help pour off the excess fat from cooking. So some thought has gone in to adapting British mainstay family cooking for a healthier meal [British includes our takes on the likes of chicken korma, chilli prawns and kebabs]. Overall the recipe content is better than the presentation, so 4* for the well thought out healthy recipes, dropping to 3* for the presentation. However the one recipe per page, and simple consistent printed layout, does make the book very easy to use spread out open in the kitchen. The printed pages are shiny and so probably offer a little bit of water resistance.

Despite this recipe book looking superficially like it would be ideal for teenagers, in fact the recipes are more family staple fare orientated and require some thought in collecting the ingredients. Teenagers could use it to cook a family meal though. However it doesn't quite match the likes of our families 20 year old fave mainstay 'The Dairy Book of British Food', which packed in 400 good recipes, good pictures and good presentation [sadly only available second hand]. For teenager's check out Sam Stern's excellent books 'Cooking up a storm - Teen survival cookbook', 'Eat Vegetarian', 'Student cookbook', etc.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 February 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Sally Bee's story is a fascinating one, and she certainly is a survivor, but I have tried to see this volume as a cookbook offering healthy recipes for my review, and put her story (inspiring though it is) to one side.
This is a very straightforward cookbook. The recipes are easy enough to prepare, and remind me of many other recipes that I have prepared over the years for my own family.
If you are already an accomplished cook you will probably have no use for this book, but if you are new to cooking then this is a good starting point if you want to prepare meals with fresh produce using relatively easy methods.
The use of fresh ingredients and easy preparation (mostly) is good to see in a market flooded with cookbooks that seem to require a Ph.D. to prepare a plate of beans on toast.
The test I always apply to a cookbook is this - 'could I survive for the rest of my life eating just the recipes shown in this book?'
In the case of this book I probably could (though I might want to sneak a few extras under the wire when no-one is looking).
I have already recommended it to friends and family, and it is certainly going on my list of suitable presents for Christmas, weddings, birthdays, etc.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I love this book. I've got quite a few recipe books with lots of interesting recipes, but what sets this one apart is that it contains interesting, tasty recipes that I will actually use - because I recognise and can easily purchase all the ingredients.

I also love the ethos of the book and the process of its development. Yes - it's not Heston Blumenthal - but for me, that is a good thing. I don't want to spend my life in the kitchen and I want to have a bit of variety to my diet, beyond the things I regularly cook. This book does that well. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 16 February 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I wish I didn't have to watch my weight, but I do. This recipe book provides a range of tasty dishes that are billed as 'healthy'. No calorie information is included which makes working out the Weightwatchers points a little tedious. However, I have had this cookbook for a year now and, unlike some of my dusty cookbooks, still use it regularly. Although I do tend to lessen the olive oil used to keep the aforementioned WW points down!

My all time favourite is the chicken korma. The blurb states that it will replace your take-away. Nope! But it is a really tasty mid-week dinner which I make as per the recipe, or in the slow-cooker. I'm not usually a fan of fruit in dishes but the apple and raisins really set it off.

I also regularly make the smoked haddock and leek pie - although I tend to use a mix of fish. The butter free white sauce is delicious.

The only disaster I've had is the salmon pasta. Very dry. Won't be repeating.

The reason I give it 4 stars is that it is a little bit too basic/wholesome. HOWEVER.....combine it with her recent 'Have your cake it and eat it too' and you're on to a winner.
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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I bought this as I was after some good wholesome food that's healthy - and this ticks all the right boxes! It's written especially to help people with heart conditions but I think anyone could benefit from some of the tasty recipes in this book. I especially fancy the Chinese chicken stirfry. Beautifully designed, simple to follow and tons of yummy food, try it!
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