When someone asked me whether I’m a good cook or not, up until now I was rather honest and answered “no” – not even the overambitious part of me considered it problematic. If you have a look at my kitchen shelf you might question this statement, though, for you’ll find quite an impressive stack of cookbooks in it. For me, they are the perfect page turners if my head needs a break from the daily papers that lie on the dining table. So now, it’s about time to have a closer look and show you my favorites among the latest acquisitions.
1. “It’s All Easy” by Gwyneth Paltrow
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The undisputed favorite is not a real surprise. In her debut It’s All Good I really liked the personal approach, that is to say, that busy Gwynnie came to her senses through healthy food, especially in more stressful phases of life. It seems plausible and yes – the story isn’t new, but I love listening to her and I think it’s great that her children Apple and Moses also play a role in this current book. The 125 recipes focus on feel good food without the exaggerated health mania. Preparing dinner after work (so relatable) should not be a drag, but a relaxing and hassle-free activity. The dishes are divided according to occasions and the concept seems really clever, as it includes categories like: “Summer Nights”, “Unexpected Guests” or “On The Go”. Dairy products, wheat, but also zucchini noodles and avocado toast (plus bacon!) can be found. It’s all easy she says and while you try it out you can’t help but notice, that she is right.
2. “Good and Simple” by Hemsley & Hemsley
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No, it is not hard to like the Hemsley Sisters, considering the amount of educational work they do in terms of cooking and eating habits. They’ve been working on their nutritional principles and thereby on their own imperium for no less than ten years now, and recently they were rewarded for their efforts with their own TV show in England and a pop-up café in London. “Boil Your Bones” it says on the tote bag that they gave me at a reading for their first book back then and ever since they are responsible for the fact that I’ve been looking for a good bone broth supplier ever since. They also win us over with the right balance, which means you’ll find a recipe of quinoa breakfast porridge next to Sinigang. Taste, nutrition, sustainability – everybody gets that and they don’t make it unnecessarily complicated. The undisputed favorite: breakfast bowl with egg, salmon and veggies.
3. “My New Roots” by Sarah Britton
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When I started engaging in better eating habits Sarah Britton helped me out a lot with her book. When the supply on clean and healthy eating increased drastically, she skipped off my radar a bit. Then, someday she was back again when I rediscovered her cookbook on Amazon: it contains only vegetarian dishes and goes by the same name as her blog. Also in there: the recipe for the life changing bread. “Bake a bread, yeah sure..” I thought at first, until one day I felt the urge to do so, inspired by an Instagram Post in my feed – also it was a Sunday and I hadn’t made any plans. Plus, my friend Sarah had brought me some homemade granola by the office the week before and I wanted to surprise her with a culinary treat as well. I swear by this and eat it every now and then when I feel like bread, but want to do without wheat. Those who prefer a bigger change of perspective shall try out recipes like “Bean and Pea Soup with Tarragon” (the chef’s secret recipe) or “Caramelized Fennel with Herb Polenta”.
4. “A Modern Way To Eat” by Anna Jones
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Sometimes, in fact, I am tempted by the claim “vegan and gluten-free”. Anna Jones (a nicely generic name) could convince Jamie Oliver to a supporting quote for her cover and as she comes up with more than 200 recipes, there was no way I could have resisted. Then again, it is the German version, because yes, I like to take the easy way from time to time.
And so, I let myself be inspired by what a (hardcore) version of a plant based diet might look like: scrambled eggs with herbs à la Parisien for breakfast, tasty salty caramel popcorn in between, Kitchari or Aloo (both Indian dishes) for lunch and a bit of oven roasted veggies in the evening. As you see: even if the vegetables are in the majority, we shall want for nothing!
5. “Keep It Real” by Calgary Avansino
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This young author tells a story that is not unknown to women’s magazine circles: as an American she moved to London from New York and met the exact taste of the British Vogue editor in chief Alexandra Shulman. To those who read the magazine, and we sure do, Calgary is not a stranger. The topics around healthy food are her specialty, so a cookbook of her own was long overdue. In the beginning she explains a lot, then the recipes follow all in one bundle. You should definitely try this out: eat leftover dinner for breakfast – amazing! I had often considered it but never dared to. And more concrete: the six dip variation, the four ice cream version, the broccoli meatballs as well as the sweet potato, kale and chickpea coconut curry. Enough good reasons to keep it real
Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.