I’m always excited to receive cookbooks inspired by great blogs and this week alone, I’ve added two fantastic ‘blog to book’ hardbacks to my culinary collection. In the first instance, The Green Kitchen (Vegetarian Everyday in the US), written by the couple David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, who also write the inspiring vegetarian blog Green Kitchen Stories from their home in Stockholm. It helps, of course, that David is, by day, a magazine art director (although about to dive into new opportunities since publishing the book) and that Luise is studying to become a nutritional therapist. Both in the book and on the blog, the recipes are enticing, with modern, beautifully styled and shot photography. It’s not hard to see why the Green Kitchen Stories blog won the Saveur 4th Annual Best Food Blog Awards in the Special Diets Category. I’m confident that book accolades will swiftly follow.
Fans of Green Kitchen Stories look forward to every installment, ever keen to follow David and Luise’s adventures as they seek out healthy, vegetarian ways to feed themselves and their daughter, Elsa. The ethos is ‘clean living’ and David and Luise’s recipes are always eye-catching – this month alone I’ve been drooling over the Strawberry & Rhubarb Ripple FroYo and Fat Almond Pancake up on the blog. Now I have a stunning cookbook to flick through, too, to help me ponder upon whether I’ll ever be brave enough to fully ditch the dairy and meat in our family’s diet. David, Luise and Elsa’s lifestyle is certainly compelling, which is precisely why they appeal as writers and recipe developers. Everyone wants to be more like them – healthy, laid-back and creative in the kitchen.
The Green Kitchen cookbook is a great place to start if you are interested in sensible, seasonally-led healthy eating as well as the odd nutritionally-infused sweet treat. Many recipes are vegan, but they do include eggs and cheese occasionally. Most importantly, chocolate is present in the form of cacao or high quality dark chocolate. Some of the recipes use buckwheat, others suggest spelt flour.
David and Luise strive to create healthy vegetarian recipes and they live by their morals day by day without making a big deal about it. The really nice thing about their book is that it is a beautifully bound extension of their very popular blog. They’ve managed to stay true to their style with photographs in the book by David’s sister, Johanna, who also contributes some photos for the blog. They don’t offer a prescriptive approach; it’s more of a ‘here’s how we eat’ style of cooking and writing.
Recipes that I immediately wanted to try were the Date Syrup (and in fact, we now use this as our main sweetener) the Flour-Free Banana and Coconut Pancakes (a huge hit this weekend, especially with the kids) the Chocolate and Blackberry Milkshake and this absolutely stunning Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake on a Sunflower Crust.
Other equally enticing recipes I’ve bookmarked for summer gluts include Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Soup, the Sicilian Parmigiana Di Zucchine (they don’t go as far as using a vegetarian alternative to Parmesan but of course you could easily substitute) and their Decadent Beetroot and Chocolate Cake.
I’ve also enjoyed taking inspiration from a section entitled ‘Inside our pantry’ – with suggestions for healthier butters, vinegars and oils, nuts and seeds, lentils and peas, plant-based milk and cream, as well as advice on natural sweeteners, pasta and noodle alternatives, ‘super-foods’ and the plethora of alternative flours and grains now available.
As a mum of two, always keen to steer my kids to ‘think’ and ‘chose’ healthily, I particularly admire the couple’s attitude to feeding their little girl. Basing their ethos on wanting to give Elsa as healthy a start as possible in life, they lead by example, gently encouraging her to eat as they do, which means that Elsa generally eats whatever is put in front of her. There are also tips on experimenting with shapes and textures, keeping calm and encouraging a laid-back (Scandinavian) approach to eating, whether your child eats with a fork, a pair of chopsticks, a straw, or with their hands!
All in all, I’d happily recommend this book to anyone looking to eat more veg, wanting to try a new approach to life in the kitchen or to perhaps experiment with less-obvious and more health-conscious ingredients.
You can find a version of the Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake on the Green Kitchen Stories blog here
The Green Kitchen (Everyday Vegetarian – US version) is published by Hardie Grant RRP £25.00
With many thanks for my review copy.