- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division; Illustrated edition edition (2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1473619483
- ISBN-13: 978-1473619487
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 57 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,874,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Deliciously Ella Every Day: Simple recipes and fantastic food for a healthy way of life Hardcover – 2001
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I think her books are good if you are a single person or maybe a couple. They don't really deliver on the family recipe front. There are very few recipes here that my 12 and 15 year old sons would eat and the ones that they would eat tend to be variations on things we already make eg spaghetti carbonara, tomato pasta, veggie paella. But if you're looking for ideas for healthy breakfasts and lunches on the go, this is a terrific source. Her salads in particular have some terrific flavours.
Specifically, I have a couple of complaints. Firstly, she tends to under-explain recipes which as a less than confident cook I find annoying. For example, her Pasta Arrabbiata recipe says "put the dried oregano, thyme, chilli and garlic into a frying pan with the olive oil. Let these cook while you cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters". Call me old fashioned, but I prefer recipes that use words like "low heat" or "keep moving in the pan" or "soften slightly". I don't like cookbooks that assume that I know what I'm doing, because I often don't!
Secondly, her ingredients are not infrequently either hard to locate (vanilla powder? baobab powder?) or FREAKING EXPENSIVE when you do. For example, her recipe for Chocolate Caramel Slices looks pretty yummy but I will not be making it because to produce 16 pieces I need to use a whopping 950g (2 lb) of medjool dates! That's more than the cost of the recipe book and it's only for ONE of the ingredients!
So far, I've made her carrot cake muffins, wilted spinach and black bean salad, spiced lentil soup, spiced sweet potato stew, best baked sweet potato, and gooey black bean brownies. The wilted spinach and black bean salad as well as the baked sweet potato were simple, easy to prepare, and tasty. The others were kind of a disaster. The carrot cake muffins did not turn out at all like her photograph, which may be because whatever buckwheat flour she's using is much lighter in color than mine (Bob's Red Mill). Nowhere in this cookbook (or the previous, as far as I can see) is a brand or specific type of buckwheat flour listed, but there is clearly a difference. The muffins were also underbaked, quite dense, and barely okay tasting (the parts that were cooked through). I threw them out, and I hate to throw away food. The lentil soup proportions were off, so I wound up with a very thick soup that needed double the spices to have any flavor. The spiced sweet potato stew was similarly bland. This lack of spice was true for her recipes in her first cookbook as well, and a lot of people have mentioned it, so at least it's something easy to watch out/adjust for as you cook from her recipes. The gooey black bean brownies were not amazing - I made them for a group of friends and co-workers, everyone tried them, and decided one small bite was enough and they didn't want any more. The taste reminds me of something that I can't quite place, it's not bad, but the memory is definitely not of a delicious brownie. They aren't awful, but for me (as well as my friends and co-workers), they aren't something I'd want to eat again.
Since I frequently cook meals for myself, I was happy to see Ella offering some single or two-person serving recipes as well as some "fit for a crowd" recipes. One thing that I wish she would have pointed out in the instructions for the lentil soup is you need to use a small saucepan for cooking the lentils, because the amount is so small, it's impossible to cook them before the water evaporates - I needed to watch my lentils carefully and add water as necessary to prevent them from burning because I don't own a small enough pan to cook 25g of lentils. In the end, I regretted not simply making a normal sized batch - it probably would have been less work - or something else for dinner. I found the mushrooms+beans on top to be a bit odd, I didn't love the combination. Still, it is great that these single-serve recipes are here, and I like that she offers suggestions for what to do with the other half of whatever vegetable one recipe is calling for.
If you're looking for a cookbook with healthy recipes, that are simple/quick to prepare, you like the flavors Ella focuses on, and you're willing to adjust seasoning to taste as you cook, then this isn't a bad cookbook. It's not exceptional or mind-blowing, some of the instructions could be written more clearly, and I wish there were more intriguing recipes rather than photos of the author, but the cookbook is not a total loss either. There's nothing complicated about cooking any of the recipes although you might have to muddle your way through the instructions. The recipes are generally healthy and mostly low-cost, plus they can be thrown together with very little in the way of kitchen equipment. For ideas of what to throw together when I'm tired during the week and have a smattering of vegetables around my fridge to get used up, this cookbook is a good way to jump-start my brain into a dinner plan.
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