If I was ever to have my own cookbook (a girl can dream), then Sam Murphy's new book is kinda exactly what I would have pictured. It's pretty beautiful and all vegan and it doesn't really get much better than that in my eyes.
Sometimes I look through recipe books and feel like everything sounds so fancy and a bit too posh for my liking, like it's trying just a bit too hard. I love Sam's book because everything is recognisable, there are lots of old classics, and it just feels really down to earth. There are recipes for 'bacon' and mushroom carbonara, sweet and sour tofu, lemon honey tofu, loaded vegan hot dogs, lots of pizzas and burgers, and cheesy nacho sauce, to name just a few I've been drooling over. Classic faves but with a plant based twist; it's like a guide for how to make all your old favourite dishes vegan. And the thing I love most about this book? Every single recipe has a photo. I don't know why, and I think a lot of people are the same, but I hate when recipes don't have photos, like yea okay I need to know how to make it but I want to see how it looks first.
So far, I've only made two recipes from the book but they've both been really good. The raw cookie dough cereal was divine, although I did end up eating most of the little balls as snacks rather cereal, and honestly, most of the dough just went from the food processor into my mouth... It seriously does taste like cookie dough. I've also made the satay tofu, which was delicious, although it was a little too garlicky for me. I'd just reduce the two cloves to one next time and I reckon it would be perfect for my taste, my boyfriend did love it as it was though. I do love a good peanut satay sauce so as soon as I saw that recipe I knew I had to make it.
The only thing that really bugged me about the book was some of the words and phrases it used, 'guilt free' and 'real food' being the main ones. We need to stop the whole guilt vibe around food because it's not okay. It comes along the same lines as the whole good foods, bad foods chat. Food isn't good or bad, you shouldn't feel guilty for eating certain foods and view others as innocent. Likewise, what makes some foods real and others not real? How can food not be real? I'm assuming real means filled with lots of fruit, veggies and whole grains, but does that mean than something more processed isn't 'real'. Processed isn't bad, tofu is a processed food and it's bloody amazing. We definitely need some more positivity around food, to stop being scared or scaremongered into believing certain things are good or bad. Eat what you love and stop feeling guilty about it. The book hasn't jumped on the whole 'refined sugar free' trend though, which I am super happy about - check out this post for more 'refined sugar free' ranting. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a fab book, I just have some personal dislike towards certain words surrounding food having been fooled by them before and I think the book would have been able to stand itself without them because it's so great.
Beautifully Real Food is a wonderful book filled with a collection of creative and mouth watering vegan recipes. I know for sure it's going to become a go-to in my kitchen and it's definitely overtaken the other cookbooks I have as my fave. If you want to introduce more plant-based eating into your life, or to show someone just how easy being vegan can be, this is the book to get.
You can get your hands on this gem from Thursday (23 February) - I'd most definitely recommend it.
[Beautifully Real Food: Guilt Free, Meat Free Recipes to Indulge in by Sam Murphy. Out on February 23rd, RRP £16.99, Blink Publishing.]
I was kindly sent a copy of Sam's new book to review. As always, all views and opinions on here are totally my own.