River Cottage Light and Easy

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       June 17, 2017


Author  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Distributor:      Bloomsbury
ISBN:                 9781408853535
Publisher:         Bloomsbury UK
Release Date:   re-released May 2017 - originally published 2014  

Website:    http://www.bloomsbury.com/au 

There comes a time, and it does not matter what age you are, when what we eat makes a huge difference to how we feel, how we cope with the pressures of modern life. As Medical Science uncovers more and more information about the effects of what we eat and the products used as the result of modern day farming and production methods, it is refreshing to see a complete cook book devoted to healthy, easy to prepare meals based around the principal of fresh, dairy and wheat free ingredients.

On this topic Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame has delved deeply into healthy options making it his mission to create simple, easy, light dishes from fresh, easy to obtain ingredients which will make a huge difference to how you eat your way towards a healthier lifestyle.  He, as we all are, are growing older and re-assessing what it is we put into our mouths on a very regular basis, how this continuous intake is effecting blood pressure, the dreaded cholesterol levels and somehow that weight gain that seems to be creeping up slowly.

As always the book is divided into sections beginning with Breakfast which commences with the lovely line “I’m not mad about rules in the kitchen…”. That sets the scene for some wonderfully avant- garde options to enjoy which will set you up nicely for the day ahead.

Soups as always open the door to many easy options, which can be made in bulk and supply comfort food on cold wintery days and delivers on quick, easy and light options with a delicious selection of cold soups. All of which are ideal to fill that lunch time craving or as a pick-me-up snack.

Each of the sections has a little introduction and an insight into the philosophy behind not just the recipes but rationale behind the dishes. This is the case in the chapter Meat – Less is More where meat runs as a compliment to the vegetable not the other way about as is traditional and makes for some very interesting combinations.

It is recognised that we all love to enjoy something that is a little bit naughty and a whole lot nice, regardless of why we are adventuring into a new style of eating, which has been catered for very well indeed in the sections  Fruit and Treats.

Another lovely innovation is a code in the form of little graphics such as a lunchbox, a clock and a leaf which makes it very easy to discover the right dishes with all the recipes being wheat free, but not necessarily gluten free. Thoughtfully provided on page 403 are a lists and the page numbers of all the recipes which are gluten and wheat free, providing you do select genuine gluten free ingredients when doing the shopping.

In the Introduction Hugh Fearley-Whittingstall throws out the challenge to go wheat and dairy free or one month to see how you feel and see if you, at the end of the month have a renewed vigour for life and living.

When you add to the 170 delicious recipes designed to tempt, the beautiful photography of Simon Wheeler, you are definitely at the beginning of the pathway to life with a healthier, fuss free approach to cooking.