Friday, April 15, 2016

Shortbread cookies....

Wow.... who knew that when you're a chef you actually do very little cooking and baking at your own house! I know, I probably shouldn't be surprised by that, but I still am... It's not that I don't want to cook and bake at home, or that I'm fed up with it (noooo, it's still the biggest love and passion of my life) it's just... I simply don't have that much time anymore... Yes, working as a chef involves crazy hours! Recently I'm on breakfast shifts, which basically means getting up at ungodly hours (around 5am...) and as a result passing out at around 8 pm! And evenings are where my "me time" - for baking, cooking, writing, reading books cookbooks, watching movies etc. But.... saying all that - I wouldn't change a thing! I'm living my dream at the moment and it finally feels like I've found "my place" where I fit just right! :)


Those of you who briefly followed my journey of becoming a chef, know that I didn't really cut, nor burn, myself during the training. Well, a lot has changed since then! I'm in a professional kitchen for about 6 weeks now, which resulted in slicing off half of my fingernail (including some of the meaty bits underneath...),lots of many cuts, not even worth mention, as they happen almost on a daily basis ;) and.... a nasty burn, after which I'm 1000% sure I'll have a scar.... NOW I know why all the chefs have tattoos all over their hands - to cover all the marks and scars! :P


But, going back to the recipe. It's something I did with my two little sous chefs - quick, and simple that even 4 and 6 year old can master :) This recipe for very delicious, not too sweet, very short cookies isn't mine, unfortunately, it's from Paul Hollywood's "How to bake". This one is definitely a keeper! As always, Paul didn't disappoint ;)

How to make it...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fast Days & Feast Days" by Elly Curshen... (book review)


"Elly Pear's Fast Days & Feast Days"
by Elly Curshen

Hardback (272 pages)

Chapters: Introduction, Why I started the 5:2, Storecupboard essentials, Essential equipment, Essential techniques, How and where I shop, FAQs, Breakfast and brunches, Weekday lunches and salads, Sopus, Weeknight dinners, Weekend cooking and entertaining, Nibbles, Sauces pickles and dressings, Puddings and cakes, Sample menus, Calorie index, Index, Acknowledgements & thanks


First of all I have a confession to make - I didn't know anything, nothing at all, about the 5:2 diet before I received this book. Yes, I saw the headlines on the Internet, but had virtually no knowledge about the diet itself, not even its basic principles. I got the book and thought immediately "I won't be able to cook from it so, if it's all dieting recipes" - I couldn't be more wrong! Diet or no diet, this is an inspiring cookbook.

The recipes are clearly marked for those for Fast Days - the days you need to strictly control your calorie intake, and Feast Days - days on which you eat normally and without any restrictions (yes, no restrictions at all! How great it sounds!). I quickly found out, that both recipe categories have a lot of dishes that I wanted to cook/bake immediately. The recipes from the Fast Days have also tips how to "bump them up" to dishes, that might be more satisfying and wholesome for those, who aren't watching their waists ;)


The book is written really well, the language is clear, personal and on many occasions very funny! It's really a joy to skip through the pages and look at the bright photos of the dishes and their colorful titles. 

What scared me at the beginning, and made me think that I won't use the book that often - turned out to be its biggest advantage! This is by no means a diet book! It has great recipes, that can be made any time and it gives practical and useful information on how to eat cleanly and healthy, with superb ingredients and without going hungry. Each of the recipes I've tried so far have tasted great and have been very easy to follow.



The things I've already try to make are "Seeded rosemary and thyme soda bread" - something I thought I won't like, because of all the herbs present, but was surprised how tasty it was and what a great accompaniment to ham and cheese, or even honey!"Banana and oat bars" - I'm usually very skeptical about baking with bananas, it ends in disaster on too many occasions, but... Those bars were to die for! They're also vegan, which is very useful considering that my little one has egg intolerance.
I can also definitely recommend Chickpea curry, Beetroot and dill hummus, Sage and pumpkin soup and Lemon, polenta and rose shortbread.

Who knows - I might give the 5:2 diet a go after all! If you're thinking of going on that particular diet, I believe that Elly's book couldn't be a better start as an introduction to it, and a resource of inspiring recipes.

About the author:
Founding owner of the Pear Café in Bristol, a must-visit destination for fresh, delicious, handmade soups, frittatas, and sandwiches (including the hugely popular Ham, Emmenthal and Chicken Crackling Sandwich, named one of Buzzfeed’s “17 Sandwiches You Must Eat Before You Die”). Elly has followed the 5:2 philosophy of eating since 2013 and is a food and cookery columnist for InStyle UK.

I received a free copy of this book to review from Harper Collins. All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine. 
All photos -> Amazon.com