For those of you who haven’t heard of these very attractive sisters, Hemsley and Hemsley started out in 2010 providing a healthy food coaching and catering service. They attracted celebrity clients and big brands like Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood. Next came their beautiful and stylish cookbooks containing recipes for all sorts of wonder items like black bean brownies, kohlrabi dauphinoise and cauliflower base pizzas.
More recently there has been a backlash against the ‘clean eating’ fad associated with Hemsley and Hemsley and I’m not sure why. This is not some crazy yo yo diet book, the food is balanced and they’re not afraid of a bit of full fat mince or butter. The food leaves you satiated and full. I can see why the media might be envious of the success of these gorgeous and stylish ladies – I know I am, but why rip them to pieces when actually they are providing inspiring healthy alternatives to the processed crap a lot of the population eats?
Back to the food. It’s been a pleasure and an education testing out these recipes. I like learning about alternative healthy ingredients: black beans in brownies work, cauliflower mash in shepherd’s pie is delicious and coconut flour in cake tastes so exotic. Out of the 9 recipes we cooked there was only one thing I didn’t love, the gingernut biscuits. And to clarify, I still liked these biscuits, I just didn’t adore them in the way I did the other recipes.
So here’s the run through:
- Roasted vegetable salad and brazil nut pesto. What’s not to love about roasted vegetables? I could eat them all day long. And throw some brazil nut pesto and quinoa into the mix and you’ve got an incredible dinner.
- Black bean brownies. Not as super sweet as standard brownies, but moist and rich and gorgeous. These were very popular with my friends.
- Quinoa risotto with gorgonzola. The combination of fresh and porcini mushrooms gave this risotto a lovely intense flavour which was made even tastier by the gorgonzola.
- Shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash. Full fat lamb mince provides the base for a lot of flavour for this pie. Yes arguably if we are being factually correct shepherd’s pie should always contain lamb mince, but that’s often not the case. And I loved the cauliflower mash on top, you absolutely don’t miss the potato.
- Osso bucco. Slow cooked beef shin with carrots with a smoky sweet gravy. An incredible winter warmer.
- Prawn laksa. My favourite dinner of all. Full of colour and malaysian spices. This dish kicks ass! I even took the leftovers in a thermos for lunch on a frosty hike in the Peak District. I was the envy of my fellow hikers.
Also Very Goods
- Lemon and poppy seed muffins made with coconut flour and maple syrup. I loved the coconutty flavour in these cakes. They are dense cakes and the delicate lemony flavour is very satisfying.
- Teriyaki seabream. We were so into the sweet and sour japanese sauce. Not the most beautiful looking of all the recipes but it absolutely packed a punch.
- Gingernuts. Tasty biscuits made with ground almonds, maple syrup and three whole tablespoons of ground ginger. Not as addictive as the sugarry buttery version, but still an enjoyable and filling snack.
After cooking another nine recipes from Hemsley and Hemsley, I just love this book even more. It’s jam packed with beautiful, imaginatively crafted and well researched recipes. The book is very good value for money – there are a lot of recipes, most are straight forward and it’s easy to achieve excellent results. Some of the recipes are a bit fiddly and time consuming, but none are difficult. There are some unusual ingredients like amaranth and bone broth that put me off, but it’s not hard to find alternatives to the ingredients that are difficult to source.
I look forward to cooking more from The Art of Eating Well, in fact I’d really like to try every single recipe, especially all the sweet treats like sticky toffee pudding and five spice apple crumble. Maybe that’s a new cookbook challenge for Jamie and I? Cook every recipe from The Art of Eating Well. What do you think, shall we do it?