Books

Friday Favourites - Cookbooks

After a busy workday, cooking can be put on the back burner of our to-do list. We gravitate toward meals that are most easy and convenient, often eating the same foods over again. That’s why we have made it our mission to revitalize the way we perceive cooking by searching for cookbooks that are equally as unique as they are healthy. Say goodbye to monotonous cooking with the help of these four books, handpicked by The Amazing Blog.

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Plant-based cooking has gained its popularity, but have you ever thought of incorporating flowers into your recipes? The Fragrant Pantry by Frances Bissell uses flowers as its main ingredient. While flowers are commonly featured as decoration in cookery, Bissell shows how its delicate scent and flavour can take the place of herbs or spices. Although this seems like an unconventional approach, don’t mistake it as a fad or fashion. Instead, Bissell pays homage to English culinary traditions through her use of flowers. Her recipes include jams, spreads and pickled foods with easy-to-follow instructions. You can purchase The Fragrant Pantry here for £11.99. To get a 20% discount use the discount code FRAGRANTP at purchase on the Serif Books website. 

Interested in more of Bissell’s recipes? Check out the other two volumes in her acclaimed trilogy: The Scented Kitchen and The Floral Baker.

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Calling all Mediterranean lovers! Get prepared to transport yourself to Greece with Mazi Modern Greek Food’s vivid imagery and authentic dishes. Co-authors, Christina Mouratoglou and Adrien Carré’s goal are to revolutionise Greek cuisine by combining genuine flavours with a modern twist. The recipes are ingrained with a trendy tapas vibe and cover cocktails, hot plates, signature dishes and desserts. You can purchase the book here for £17.99.

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The Herball’s Guide to Botanical Drinks by Michael Isted offers non-alcoholic plant-based drinks. Isted offers careful alchemy with each recipe that acts as cleansers, restorers, energisers, brain boosters and more.  The cookbook includes step-by-step directions in processes like hot & cold brewing, fermentation, distillation, juicing and tincturing. The first section provides a brief informational introduction to the plants used throughout the book and the second section includes 58 different recipes serving different functions for the body.   Isted uses ancient practices as the foundation of his creations. This guide brings purpose and intention to the kitchen by uniting intuitive and healthy eating. You can purchase The Herball’s Guide to Botanical Drinks here for £12.90.

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Whenever starting a new diet, snacking is an inevitable part of the process. Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell, founders of Squirrel Sisters, have created a range of all-natural bars that will satisfy your cravings. In their book, Naturally Snacks & Treats: Over 100 Healthy Recipes, the sister duo has formed over 70 recipes using ingredients found at your local supermarket. The on-the-go snack is easy, convenient, and accessible. The Tyrrell sisters reassure their readers that eating healthily can be fun! Recipes range from sweet roasted almond and cinnamon butter to sushi rolls.The beautifully illustrated book is separated into four chapters where you will find breakfast recipes, snacks and lunches for on-the-go, sharing plates and, our favourite, sweet treats. Cocktail-lovers will even find low-calorie options. We can’t wait to try more recipes. You can purchase your own book here for £9.99.  

 

Let us know what your favourite recipes are!

 

Vbites Vegan Food and Cookbook

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Vegan food has had a bit of a bad reputation in the past. When people think of vegan food, they only think of salads and tasteless fake meats, but bland vegan food is a thing of the past. Due to the bountiful health and environmental benefits of veganism, we here at The Amazing Blog have put a lot of thought into the idea of starting a vegan diet. When we learned the story behind Vbites founder, Heather Mills, we were inspired to try out veganism for ourselves. After enduring a devastating motorcycle accident, Heather discovered that the best way to heal her body was from the inside out. Which meant using a holistic approach rooted in a vegan diet. This story helps to explain why she was determined to create delicious foods that satisfy every craving, while nourishing the body. After learning her story, we were even more thrilled to receive a sampling of the Meat-Free products from this pioneering and award-winning plant-based brand at Vbites.  


Eating less meat or cutting it out completely can be daunting for many individuals, which is why Vbites products are perfect for anyone who needs a little help getting their foot in the door when it comes to becoming a vegan. Vbites offers a wide array of vegan products including meat-free, dairy-free, and fish-free products. To help with meal preparations, we would suggest using The LoveBites recipe book. This cookbook from Vbites comes with each of their Plant-Based Kits, which offers 60 new easy-to-follow recipes to try out and fall in love with. You can whip up delicious alternatives to some of your favourite meals like shepherd’s pie or asparagus quiche that are all completely vegan. From starters to soups, salads and main dishes, these recipes have definitely inspired us to cook more hearty meals that make us feel good from the inside out.

Our personal favourite of the Vbites selection that we tried was the Meat-Free Duck Hoisin (£2.99 for 150g). We added it to a veggie stir-fry and were licking our plates clean. We had some friends over to it try out and they were amazed to learn what they thought was a duck hoisin stir fry was in fact 100% vegan! Coming in a close second was the Meat-Free Lincolnshire Style Sausages (£2.69 for 295g) which we plated up as Bangers 'n Mash for a quick Sunday night supper (with a dollop of baked beans). They truly did taste like savoury sausages and certainly satisfied one very hungry male guest! 


So whether you are already practising a vegan lifestyle or you are considering starting, these Vbites will help you to incorporate some seriously tasty and healthy meals into your diet. You can check out the wide array of Vbites vegan products on their website here

Veggie Desserts and Cakes by Kate Hackworthy

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At The Amazing Blog, we are always looking for inventive ways to introduce more veg into our diets. We never thought we would be able to do this while satisfying our sweet teeth. This is the outcome with food writer Kate Hackworthy’s new cookbook Veggie Desserts and Cakes: Carrot Cakes and Beyond.” The book is a collection of unusual but delicious desserts that will help you increase your daily dose of vegetables. 

The writer of the award-winning blog Veggie Desserts, Kate has combined her passion for veg with her love of baking, and we couldn’t thank her enough. With 60 original recipes, the book isn’t about sneaking vegetables into your diet, as perhaps you would expect, but it instead celebrates them as hero ingredients. Our top three desserts from the book were the Courgette and Poppy Seed Loaf with Lavender Glaze, the Chocolate Mashed Potato Cupcakes with Espresso Icing and the Parsnip and Apple Tarte Tatin. Each recipe explains a little about why she chose the vegetables in it and what they add. For example, although mashed potato sounds like an odd thing to add to a cupcake, potatoes have actually been used in cake for decades. The ingredient adds bulk and moisture and helps the cakes keep for longer without drying out.  Veggies tend to bring moisture, natural sweetness and extra nutrients to baking. What’s more is that less refined sugar and fat is required making that you have some unbelievably tasty treats that are a lot less naughty. 
 

The book has really helped open our eyes and appreciate vegetables far more than we already do. If you feel inspired to try something new then you can purchase the book here from £13.78 Trust us, it will be the best decision you make all day. 
 

The Make-Up Manual By Lisa Potter-Dixon

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Whether you’re a makeup novice or a regularly wearer looking to learn a trick or two or shake things up a bit, Lisa Potter-Dixon’s Make-Up Manual has some pearls of wisdom for you. Lisa is Head Makeup Artist and Brow Expert for Benefit Cosmetics, so she knows what she’s talking about. This book breaks down makeup to the basics, to show you step-by-step how-to’s. It presents the do’s and don’ts in a completely fool-proof way. Here at The Amazing Blog, we devoured the book within minutes and were amazed at how uncomplicated Lisa makes makeup.

Lisa covers a whole range of topics, such as how to apply blush for your face shape, what colours are best suited for your eyes, how to achieve the much-coveted Feather Brow and how to perfect the feline-flick. Each chapter focuses on a different facial feature, starting with taking care of your skin (combination, dry, normal and oily), to covering imperfections, to brows and the various forms they can take, to cheeks and bone structure (blush, highlighter, bronzer and contour), how to navigate different eye shapes and colours, and finally to the lips (covering nudes, to glosses, to mattes). Importantly, Lisa addresses those of all ages, skin tones and complexions.

What you take away from this book is that makeup doesn’t have to be complicated, even the looks that seem to be more complex. Anyone can achieve a plump pout or a colourful smoky eye.

Purchase The Make-Up Manual here for £10.49.

Friday Favourites - Latest Cookbooks

We love nothing more than making a home cooked meal at The Amazing Blog. We find the process of cooking to be an incredibly therapeutic one, as well as being one of the best ways to make small and easy changes in your life. We’ve always thought that mixing things up in the kitchen is an excellent, if not the best, way to lift yourself from a slump. In fact, many of the best evenings we’ve had, have been sitting around a table with friends sharing a bottle of wine and a delicious and carefully prepared home cooked meal. As such, we are always looking for new cookbooks with exciting, delicious and new recipes for us to try! So here is a review of five of our favourites to help you add a bit of extra spice to the kitchen; from five-star restaurant cuisine to Jewish home cooking,  game day favourites and kitchen hacks! We've even included a special book for all you chocoholics out there!


First on our list is The Mountain Café Cookbook: A Kiwi in the Cairngorms, which was written by the brilliant chef at the Mountain Café in Scotland, Kirsten Gilmour. One of the main reasons we love this book is its inclusivity! In the introduction, Gilmour talks about taking a trip with a coeliac friend and realising how hard it was for her friend to eat food and stay healthy. Despite being told food was safe for her it often wasn’t, and she would suffer the horrible effects later. As such, Gilmore vowed to make food that was reliable for everyone. Her book is filled with mouth-wateringly good recipes and using a key, she takes the care and time to let you know which recipes are gluten-free, vegan, egg free, wheat free and dairy free! It can be a daunting task finding a recipe that is safe or reliable when cooking for a friend with dietary restrictions,  and in our experience has led to less than desirable meals, but with this book in your kitchen those days will be a thing of the past. Having this key takes the pressure off, and you know that everyone will be happy and leave the table feeling safe and looked after.


The book is full of exciting flavours including your favourite classic dishes with restaurant quality twists; such as beef, chorizo and mushroom stew, lamb kofta kebabs and sweet potato, spinach and caramelised onion quiche. The salads in the book were definitely among our favourite recipes, and were so much more than your everyday garden variety salad; our two favourites were the seared lamb, halloumi, orange, roasted carrot and almond salad and the sweet potato, red pepper, pine nut and feta salad. These are delicious as light summer dinners as well as healthy lunches to take with you to work.


You can purchase these wonderful recipes and much more here from £20.00

Diana Falk’s cookbook, The Hungry Fan's Game Day Cookbook: 103 Recipes for Fangating, Eating, Drinking & Watching Sports, is the perfect book for those days when everyone comes over to watch a big game or race. The food is not only fun but delicious, and each recipe is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser!

The book is a mixture of healthy and decadent ideas, that will all help with the festivity and excitement of your next sports event. From Bacon, Cheddar Spud Nachos to panko and coconut crusted prawns to lentil salad – there is a delicious recipe in here for every sports lover you know. What we think is fabulous about these recipes is that, whether your guests know everything there is to know about sports, or are completely uninterested, both will have a fun time – even if your team loses!


You can purchase this cookbook here for £18.22 and be the MVP of the day!

 

We cannot think of a more appropriate title for a cookbook, as in Yiddish the word Fress means “to eat copiously and without restraint.” This is exactly what you’ll want to do as you peruse the recipes in this book. Emma Spritz was a finalist on BBC1 Masterchef, and her cookbook brings together a melting pot of Middle-Eastern and Eastern European tastes to create big flavours that are happy and sociable dishes to feed to friends and family. 

We love how unfussy Emma’s style is, her food is all about extracting maximum flavour from the simplest ingredients in the easiest way.  Embracing recipes from Poland, Russia, Israel, North Africa and Algeria, there is bound to be a delicious recipe for you in here. Whether the recipe brings back a homely familiarity or an exotic new flavour you cannot go wrong with these meals and are sure to wow your friends. 

you can purchase Fress: Bold, Fresh Flavours from a Jewish Kitchen here for £17.00 to start cooking these delicious Jewish flavours at home

Next, on our list is Mastering Chocolate: Recipes, Tips and Techniques from a Master Chocolatier - we would be monsters if we didn’t give you at least one indulgent dessert-centric cookbook! If you want to wow your chocoholic friends and be revered as the master of all chocolate, then this book is for you. With twenty recipes from simple truffles to awe-inspiring tiered cakes, this book explains the essential equipment and provides complete step-by-step photos of each stage of every recipe to help you make the most perfect desserts possible.


The book was written by award-winning pastry chef and chocolatier Mark Tilling.  In case you don’t know who he is, he is the twice UK chocolate master and winner of the first series of BBC2’s Bake-off: Crème de la Crème. These recipes have been tried, and tested and are easy enough to tempt beginners while having the perfect range and creativity for professional chefs! We are still on the lookout for another excuse to make the utterly divine chocolate berry tart!


If you fancy becoming a master chocolatier, then you can purchase Tilling’s cookbook here for £20.00.

Now, while this final book is not technically a cookbook, we simply had to share it with you as Kitchen Hacks: Uncommon Solution to Common Problems is a definite must have! The book teaches you brilliant and easy ‘kitchen hacks’ such as how to professionally hull of a strawberry using only a straw, how to easily peel a hard boiled egg, and how to preserve herbs by freezing them in oil for easy and quick use the next time you need them. What we loved about this book is how it has completely revolutionised the way we move around in our kitchen and how we prepare the food we make. It’s taught us new, better and more time efficient techniques. So now when we have a dinner party, it’s an effortless occasion, and we get to spend time with our guests! We cannot imagine our lives without this handy book being within reach.

You can purchase your very own kitchen helper here for £7.99

So what are you waiting for? Anyone of these books will spice up your everyday cooking or impress at your next dinner party or family lunch. So whether you are trying to get out of a slump or looking to dazzle someone, you'll be able to do it with these in your kitchen.