As some of you may know, I do enjoy cooking and in the Summer time, I really enjoy our garden at home and use our barbecue almost every day, as attested by my Instagram stories. I was almost going to say ‘weather permitting’ but the Summer of 2018 has been the best ever in the UK and it is safe to say that weather has permitted a lot of fabulous outdoor dining.
I have, however, found myself in a little cooking rut – I do have a decent repertoire, but I wanted to jazz it up a bit. I do however hate following recipes and do not have a lot of patience for really hard to follow recipes, so simplicity was key.
I have bought each and very book, and in most cases, I have bought dozens other copies to give to friends and family, as I think they are exceptional. If you see diet this or that, worry not – it means that the recipes will be healthy, but that isn’t the point of this post.
Without further ado, there are Mrs. O’s 5 easy and healthy cook books – all Mrs. O approved.
5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver
Costs £13.00 (hardback) and you can get it from Amazon.
I am personally got a great fan of Jamie Oliver (in all honesty), but he won me over with this book. Everything really needs only 5 ingredients and it has changed people’s lives – for example, I have friends who could barely fry an egg and now can cook incredible meals. This is great for confidence boosting, promise.
Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond by Sabine Gayour
Costs £19.00 (hardback) and you can get it from Amazon.
I am obsessed with Middle Eastern food and this book was recommended by my acupuncturist as we talked about my Tabbouleh recipe which came from another book (see below). I have now bought a new ingredients such as zaatar, sumac and pomegranate molasses and I have really started finding my way around this type of food. (Waitrose also sells all 3)
I also bought another book from Sabrina called Feasts (and is discounted to £5) and waiting for the Summer to end as she organises cooking sessions with dinner in London and Mr. I and I are definitely going.
The Dirty Diet by Kate Harrison
Costs £6.47 (to be precise) from Amazon
I have mentioned this book previously and if you are interested in health and wellbeing, I cannot recommend this book enough – ignore the diet bit. The recipes are outstanding and ‘my’ version of the Tabbouleh is inspired in Kate’s. There is also a divine Mexican bean soup recipe and many many others.
Lose weight for good by Tom Kerridge
Costs £7 (hardback) from Amazon.
I actually bought mine at one of Tom Kerridge’s restaurants, The Coach in Marlow, as we are ‘almost’ neighbours. I first met briefly Tom as he was one of the pop-up chefs at Belmond British Pullman and with us being a few miles from Henley, we do go regularly to both his restaurants nearby.
Despite being a bit more cheffy, the recipes and method are only 1 page long – and they count the calories for you. It has some really nice curry recipes, salads and barbecue recipes.
Fish Indian Style by Atul Kochhar
Costs £18.95 (hardback) from Amazon
This book is something else – and completely different in terms of flavours. I love cooking fish (and Mr. O and I have taken years to perfect the art on the barbecue, oven , baked in salt, and I really needed some inspiration. On a recent visit to Pub in the Park (imagine a more countryside version of Taste of London, but where chefs who are really good friends like Tom Kerridge, Heston Blumental, Jason Atherton and Atul and a few others get together and decide to do their own thing), I had the chance to try a tikka masala chicken pie (probably the best pie I ever had) and chat a bit with Atul Kochnar, who happens to be one of my favourite chefs. We go to Benares in London a fair bit (see my guide to London) but always forget he has Sindhu in Marlow – we will go shortly.
Anyway, the way Atul understands fish is very different to mine and we have been introduced to marinades, to grinding our own spices and generally pushing ourselves. I never thought I would cook some spiced pineapple as a side dish to a grilled sea bass, but I have and it was amazing. Go me!
These are our go-to reference books as they really deliver on the ‘easy and healthy’ front, which is something that matters to us (at least currently).
I hope you find the right one for you and let me know if you try something you love.