"Elly Pear's Fast Days & Feast Days"
by Elly Curshen
Hardback, 272 pages, 15 chapters
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, if it's all dieting recipes" - I couldn't be more wrong! Diet or no diet, this is an inspiring cookbook.
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 cookbook is more plant concentrated than any other ingredient, there's very few meat dishes (so if you're like me, and don't eat meat - you can simply omit those or swap the meat for tofu, seitan or TVP).
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 colourful titles. 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 in it, but was surprised how tasty it was. "Banana and oat bars" - I'm usually very sceptical about baking with bananas, it ends in disaster on too many occasions, but... Those bars were to die for! They're also vegan. 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.
✅ This is NOT a vegan/plant based cookbook, but all the animal derived products can be easily swapped for their plant based alternatives.
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.co.uk