Archive | July 16, 2017

Sweet, Savory, and Free, Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens, Debbie Adler

Sweet, Savory, and Free, Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens, Debbie Adler

Sweet, Savory, and Free: Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens by [Adler, Debbie]

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine , Parenting & Families

I’ve been lucky in my family, my children have never had allergies that are a serious issue. My daughter was brought up on goat milk as she reacted against cows milk, but she outgrew that by around two years old.
She became a strict vegetarian at nine, so food labeling and ingredients became a normal part of life for us. Its amazing what gets tucked into the most innocent of foods, and we found animal based gelatine crept into so much.
Then her third child was born with multiple allergies, cows milk, goat milk, soya, wheat, eggs, and she was advised to avoid meat and fish at weaning plus all nuts. It meant sticking strictly to label reading again, and I found 20 years on manufacturers still putting in things that to my mind weren’t necessary. Orange ice lollies, the juice kind, we were amazed they have dairy in them. Why? Its not needed.

For anyone in that situation, or indeed anyone concerned about what exactly we’re eating this book is perfect. I doubt it’s for those who claim “intolerance” but eat those foods “on a good day”, they don’t have the determination to change what they eat, just to inconvenience others….
Allergies are serious, life threatening, not a choice issue.

If I was starting my family again I’d use this book as a key element of family nutrition. Its not full of weird recipes and ingredients everyone is unfamiliar with, but favourite ones that Debbie has carefully researched, so they can be reproduced from ingredients that are both healthy and non allergenic.
It does mean changing the whole way of looking at food and ingredients though. I’ve always done what I think of as “clean” eating, making most of out meals from scratch, not buying ready meals. That’s how I was brought up, and it wouldn’t be difficult to change that to this way of eating.
Debbie’s done all the hard work, and though the initial food lists look daunting they’re not and I’m sure it would soon become second nature to use these instead of what we ordinarily have in the cupboard.  It’s a simple matter to swap the usual ordinary flour, sugar, fat etc to one of those she recommends. That way you can still use your old favourite recipes, just make them better for everyone.
Its not all dry nut-roast, lentil burger and meat free loaf stuff either, but recipes that really do sound mouthwatering and attractive.
I remember when Brennan ( the grandchild mentioned above) was one, the challenge to find a recipe for a cake that was egg, dairy,wheat and soya free. Even the hospital swap lists didn’t really deal, advising those with wheat allergies to swap with soya, the same for dairy. If you’re allergic to them all they didn’t have an answer. Fortunately Vegan recipes helped me source a chocolate cake recipe, that was tasty and satisfied the Birthday Cake remit. If we’d had this book though, we could have varied his diet so much more, with food the whole family would enjoy.

If my children were young I’d definitely use this as a daily eating guide and change my pantry ingredients. With the internet its pretty easy to source most foods now, and the ones in here can mostly be found in big supermarkets now anyway. Its just ingredients to hand and mindset that really needs changing, and I’m sure after a few weeks it would become second nature.

For personal preference I think conventional print format is better for recipe books ( in fact most non fic books). It makes browsing and choosing what to cook so much easier I find. As I’ve now eye issues and can’t read them though, I’m thankful of the e-book versions.

Stars: Five, the book to give anyone as a new home gift. Packed with mouth watering healthy recipes.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Leopard at the Door, Jennifer McVeigh, Summer’s Lease, Carrie Elks

Leopard at the Door, Jennifer McVeigh

Leopard at the Door by [McVeigh, Jennifer]

Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction

I really really wanted to love this book, I adore books set back in time that involve characters from other countries, other cultures. I like to feel I’m there with them, sharing their experiences and to begin I thought this book would do it.

Sadly, though it started well I just don’t really like any of the characters, and the story is so slow moving it almost comes to a stop. I wasn’t expecting breakneck speed, the beauty of books like this for me is in the gentle pace that allows me to see and feel all the day to day minutiae, but even for me this was just too meandering.
As the story moved on it got more graphic, more murders, abuse, tortures of humans and animals. I just don’t want to read that, I know it happens, that its an important part of the story but I don’t want the gritty, horrific details.

Rachel – I felt sorry for her at first, she had an idyllic upbringing til her mum died and she was shipped off to England to grandparents who didn’t really want her, even though she was away at boarding school most of the time.
When she returns to Kenya, against her fathers wishes, she finds he’s a very different man, and is living with a lady, Sara, who is the antithesis of her beloved mother.
Her father comes over as spineless to me, maybe he’s just given up? I don’t know but the man we met when Rachel was a child was so different to who he is now.
Then there’s Sara, who is very clear – whites and natives do not mix, there is no place for being friendly with them, and any hint of them wanting to better themselves needs stamping down on, hard. She genuinely believes they are an inferior race, and need keeping in their place.
She clearly thinks Rachel lacks discipline and is not happy at the way she has freedom of the farm, freedom to talk to and help the native people. Gah, that makes me so angry, but there were, and still are, so many like Sara, who believe a white skin makes one superior. I’ll stop my rant there 😉
It does make for an interesting read, I do like characters I can dislike but once more the story was just so slow moving. Sara would complain to Rachel’s father, he in turn would gently suggest Rachel modify her behaviour, then Sara wouldn’t feel he’d done enough, would get impatient with him, and would take steps to get what she wanted to happen. Complaining all the time if you want something done, do it yourself.

I didn’t like the ending, felt very hurried and ambiguous and that’s not how I like books to finish. Between that, the characters I didn’t really feel for, the slow pace and the graphic cruelty I just couldn’t get to like this story.
I can see others loved it though so you choose, you may have a stronger stomach and more patience when reading than me…It is very beautifully written, and there were scenic parts I loved, but overall it was one I was glad to put behind me.

Stars: Three, a wondefully descriptive novel in parts, but the story and the cruelty in it just weren’t for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Summer’s Lease, Carrie Elks

Summer's Lease: Escape to paradise with this swoony summer romance: (Shakespeare Sisters) by [Elks, Carrie]

Genre: Romance.

I love Carrie Elk’s novels, found the first one ages back in the kindle free books list and was hooked.
I’ve found lots of authors that way – authors if you ever wonder if its worth it, well, as a reader I can say its a great way to find out if I enjoy an author’s style of writing. I’ve had many free books then gone on to buy lots more from those I do.

So, back to this book.
Well its a light, fun read, a perfect summer escape, with some wonderful characters. Its mostly Cesca and Sam, with others dipping in at intervals.
I loved the way Cesca reached the bottom. I know, cruel…but it meant I so felt for her, so wanted things to go right. She had tried, worked so hard and yet somehow nothing seemed to fall in place.
Then her godfather arranges the caretakers job at the Villa in Italy, which means she’ll have time to focus on writing again, and maybe find that core inside that’s escaped her since the disaster of her first play. Poised for sucess at just 18 it all collapsed with a bang when the leading man pulled out at the last minute. She’s spent the last six years just marking time, going through life and hiding how she really feels from her family.
So there she is at the villa when who comes to stay unexpectedly but her arch-nemesis, Sam Carlton.
His parents own the villa, and he’s escaping from some bad press, things that as usual the media fixate on, that portray him in a bad light but which aren’t true. Gah – I hate the press and TV etc when they do that but it seems there’s no stopping them from peddling constant lies and speculation 😦

I love the way authors bring together characters like Cesca and Sam, who start off hating each other and then things change til…and all’s going well, until its not!
Poor Cesca, let down once more. Can Sam redeem himself this time, can he win the girl or are they fated to be apart. Well, its a romance read so you know they will end up together, but its the how, and the emotions that get shredded along the way that makes it such a beautiful read.

Its a story I loved, will join my keepers file for rereading – I’ve just been doing that with a couple of the early books, and it makes a perfect summer escape.

Stars: Five, a beautiful story, perfect for rereading.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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