As I touched on in my post the other day, the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ isn’t something I’m carrying in my mind as we march steadily into 2018. Sure, I want to improve and streamline my life, but I can’t help but feel that entering a new year with a I’m-not-quite-good-enough mentality won’t do me any good. So, I’m not doing it – it’s more important to learn to love myself than it is for me to squeeze my backside into a size 8 pair of jeans again.
That said, I am striving to take care of myself more this year. Not in a bid to become a perception of ‘better’, but simply to ensure that I am giving myself the best quality of treatment that I can. This involves taking vitamins, getting more fresh air, finally pushing to get help for a long-term injury, taking time out for myself, and cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients as much as possible.
If I’m honest, I’m not a natural cook. In fact, I always used to hate it with a passion. I found it stressful beyond belief and everything I make is just ‘meh, ok’ rather than being really tasty. However, since living with someone who loves me enough to lie and say he likes my food, I have been more active in the kitchen. I cook from scratch most nights but my repertoire is running a little low as I keep churning out the same go-to meals time and time again, despite having a shelf that is groaning under the weight of a thousand recipe books.
Despite all the many recipes in those pages, I never refer to them. Why? Honestly? I find it all a little overwhelming – there is so much choice and having realised half the ingredients are missing from my cupboards, I snap the books shut and put them back onto their shelf to languish in all their unused glory.
However, just before Christmas, I was very kindly sent a copy of Smitten Kitchen Every Day by Deb Perelman. With everything else going on over the festive period, it took until early January for me to settle down and take a look at it and OH MY WORD. Gang, we have a winner; this book is the absolute dream.
So many of the recipes not only look delicious (the photography alone is pretty beautiful) but pretty much all of them look achievable, to the point that I confidently feel I’m going to be able to give them a shot!
Now, I’m not going to give away any real spoilers by sharing Deb’s recipes (you’ll need to buy the book for that) but her website gives you an idea of the simple, no-fuss, (predominantly) healthy food she’s all about.
I love how homely and comforting all of these recipes seem – good quality food, made with love in your own kitchen; what could be better than that?
Deb herself creates all of the recipes from her “tiny kitchen in New York City” and focuses on creating comfort foods with that little bit extra oomph. She keeps things simple, avoiding fancy ingredients that the Average Joe or Josephine are unlikely to have kicking around in the back of their cupboards, and instead focussing on food that is more accessible to the masses.
In her recipes you’ll find healthy recipes balanced with more decadent treats, cocktails alongside the less boozy options, instructions, lessons, suggestions, tips and tricks. I sat, cosied up with a cuppa, flicking through the pages of Smitten Kitchen and genuinely felt buoyed – it looks doable, even for a travesty in the cooking department like me!
Side Note: Deb also designed and built her website herself and does all her own photography too. Serious kudos to her for that!
I can honestly see this book becoming my go-to, ending up taped together at the spine, pages dog-eared and covered in marks and fingerprints in years to come. The cookbook that the younger generations of my family will come to recognise as mine, sitting on the shelf and forever being referred to when I’m cooking up a storm.
I’ve been given a copy of Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites to giveaway to one lucky person, so if you’re looking for a new source of inspiration, here’s your chance to get your hands on a real belter of a recipe book!
Entry is super simple via the form below:
The boring bit: This competition is open to those in the UK only (sorry). The winner will be chosen on Wednesday 31st January and will have 48 hours to claim, otherwise another winner will be picked.
I am honestly so chuffed with this book and am going to try my very best to recreate some of her beautiful meals, although I’m not convinced they’ll be quite as photogenic…!
Are you a whizz in the kitchen or a whirlwind of disaster and burnt offerings like me?
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