At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well By Amy Chaplin UK Edition: Jacqui Small LLP, June 2015, Currently £17.00 on Amazon US Edition: Roost Books October 2014
Genre – Healthy Eating (Vegan/Vegetarian)
You might have noticed that there is a health food trend happening at the moment and as a result, there’s a plethora of healthy eating and ‘whole food’ books to choose from. At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen is an award-winning vegan and vegetarian book, written by Amy Chaplin and it’s certainly a book that stands out to me.
Amy was former executive chef of Angelia Kitchen, a renowned vegan restaurant in New York, and now works as a private chef, teacher and recipe developer. Through her book, she offers readers a very well-considered, sensible and achievable approach to eating well without compromising on flavour or satisfaction.
The structure of the book differs slightly from the standard order, in that it doesn’t jump straight into the recipes. Instead, it has a lengthy opening section (Part 1) devoted to ‘the pantry’ – with advice on how to stock your pantry. I restocked mine within a day of owning this book and had a big de-clutter, to include more of what Amy suggests which are whole grains (buckwheat, millet, rolled oats, brown rice, wholegrain noodles and pastas etc.), beans and pulses (legumes), nuts and seeds, superfoods (flax seeds, goji berries etc.), oils, vinegars, seasonings, condiments and spices.
Amy also sets out her go-to ‘fresh’ pantry vegetables (she sees her fridge as an extension of her pantry) as well as other staples in her fridge, such as fermented vegetables, goat’s cheese and nut butters. There are also some great suggestions for whole foods to store in the freezer, such as berries, sprouted bread and sweetcorn.
To follow, there are notes on baking ingredients, including almond flour and wholegrain spelt flour and some ideas for natural sweeteners.
All in all, I love how part one of Amy’s book is set out; the sections are succinct and uncomplicated and you can really start to define (and take control!) of your pantry and the different ‘whole food’ ingredients within it.
Amy moves onto a section on ‘cooking from the pantry’ and again, this is broken down into grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and roasting vegetables with ideas for a week of meals.
From page 85 onward, she moves onto ‘pantry recipes’ – you could try a simple red lentil soup, wholewheat fettuccine with kale, caramelized onions and marinated goat’s cheese (my favourite recipe of the whole book and featured here tomorrow), vanilla chai pudding or pink kraut (a mixture of green cabbage and red cabbage that turns pink!)
Part Two then expands on the basic concepts already introduced and Amy sets out her recipes, including the more traditional chapters:
- Snacks, nibbles and drinks
- Whole meals
- Desserts (tarts & sweet treats for every occasion)
Blackberry cornmeal muffins are the perfect make-ahead treat for breakfast or brunch guests, the Peach chia breakfast shake is simple and can also be transformed into a peach-flavoured chia pudding. The soups are both nourishing and cleansing, whilst the salads take inspiration from a whole array of seasonal vegetables, from shaved courgette (zucchini) with purslane and a pine nut lemon dressing, to roasted winter vegetables or a shaved beetroot salad with blood orange and crushed hazelnuts.
The herbed spelt berry salad with peas and feta is both unusual and inspiring and would work equally well as a delicious ‘al fresco’ supper with friends as it would a lunch box for work or packed away for a picnic.
More substantial dishes include a coconut curry, a butternut squash lasagne (with wholewheat lasagne) and a spicy chickpea stew. By this point in the book we’re really eating well!
Following this, there’s a three-part recipe for coconut vanilla pod ice cream with roasted plums and maple coconut crunch which captured my attention (I made the roasted plums part and used peaches instead) and there’s a divine chocolate hazelnut layer cake for special occasions, too, which I can’t wait to make.
Why I like it
This book is really about feeding yourself with good food. It’s not about dieting or deprivation, and so for me, the recipes for desserts and puddings come as a welcome treat. There’s a big section devoted to making tarts, where you can mix and match the pastry and fillings, which is fun.
Amy is clearly an accomplished chef, and, as the title promises, I am left with the impression that this is the way Amy cooks at home. I don’t think that there are any recipes in this book that a home cook couldn’t tackle or try out for themselves.
This is a beautiful book, with bright and breezy photography by Johnny Miller, that offers a simple and straightforward, organised approach to a healthier lifestyle, without taking the ‘healthy eating’ approach to any extremes.
Click here for a handpicked recipe from the book…
Wholewheat Fettuccine with kale, caramelized onions and marinated goat’s cheese
Photo Credit: Johnny Miller, reproduced with permission from UK publisher, Jacqi Small.At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well By Amy Chaplin UK Edition: Jacqui Small LLP, June 2015, Currently £17.00 on Amazon (non-affiliate link) US Edition: Roost Books October 2014
I received a copy of this book from Jacqui Small for review, which I offered as a giveaway prize in June’s Simple and in Season (won by C. Ammar). However, I found it to be such a beautiful and practical book, that I promptly jumped on Amazon to buy my own copy. Therefore this review is based on my own purchase.
Other posts and books you might like:
Amy’s blog, you can follow her on Instagram @AmyChaplin and Twitter too @_AmyChaplin
Review: A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry [Read more here]
Recipe: Orange and Pomegranate Cake by Diana Henry [Find the recipe here]