I need to start this review by saying that I now LOVE Hemsley + Hemsley! I bought ‘Good + Simple’ because of it’s premise, and the philosophy of Hemsley + Hemsley:
Good food, good mood, good digestion, good health!
|Why good digestion is important to me: I’ve struggled with digestion since my operations in 2008. I had a complication from an appendectomy, which resulted in a twisted intestine that had to be physically unraveled. We went through a transition period of what I could and couldn’t eat, as certain triggers would cause excruciating pain. For a long time we thought I was gluten intolerant – but blood tests confirmed I’m (thankfully) allergy free. After many doctor visits – the conclusion was reached that my problems come down to Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS). Specific foods/drinks really trigger the pain, which we’ve learnt to manage but this is a constant effort.|
‘Gut instinct: The gut is the centre of our immunity. A healthy gut, rich in beneficial micro flora, leads to a healthy body and mind.’
There are so many ‘healthy’ cookbooks out there, and honestly – they can be both totally overwhelming and totally underwhelming. Overwhelming in the sense that they are full of ingredients I’m not familiar with, are too expensive or I just don’t know where to buy…. And underwhelming in the sense that they don’t look tasty – I don’t look at the pictures with an immediate desire to devour whatever’s on the page. So, to have found this treasure of a cookbook – I’m totally overjoyed.
Good + Simple offers alternatives for vegans, vegetarians and the allergy-prone. It also provides you with top tips and a one week reboot menu (although this looks a tad pricy to stock up on). I can see this very quickly becoming a go-to book.
Enough rambling, into the review! The book is hardcover with 350 pages, so you’re really investing here. The book has the following chapters:
- Sides and Snacks
- Sandwiches and Salads
- Fish and Meat
- Vegetable Mains
- Dips, Dressings, Sauces and Spreads
- Baking, Desserts and Sweets
Recipe #1: Bone Broth
This is one of the core fundamentals of the book. I made a chicken broth with the leftover carcus of the roast chicken I used for the below comfort chicken pie – and prepared this for the easy, cheesy broccoli risotto. This was just ridiculously simple and I’m quite pleased with myself for making my first bone broth!
I recommend reading more about the bone broth on Hemsley + Hemsley’s website.
- 3kg beef or lamb bones (usually free from your butcher) or chicken carcasses or use the bones leftover from a roast.
- A generous splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- Onion, leek, carrot or celery ends
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- A few bay leaves
Place the bones and any optional ingredients in a large stainless-steel or ceramic pot, slow cooker or pressure cooker and cover with cold water. The water should cover the bones by 5cm while still leaving room at the top of the pan.
Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, with the lid on, for at least 12 hours for beef or lamb bones and 6 hours for chicken. If using a slow cooker, cook on high for at least 12 hours. If using a pressure cooker, cook at high pressure for at least 3 hours.
Strain the liquid, using a fine-mesh strainer for chicken. Use immediately or leave to cool before storing. Bone borth will keep in the fridge for several days or up to a week if you leave it undisturbed, as a layer of fat will form on the surface and keep it sealed from the air.
|Tip: The longer the bones simmer, the more nutrients are released; we like to boil the chicken carcass for up to 12 hours and we keep beef or lamb bones going for 24 hours. Since these bigger bones have more nutrients to give, the broth will be more concentrated. You can strain the beef and lamb broth at half-time, refill the pot with fresh water and cook the bones again to make a double batch of broth.|
Recipe #2: Comfort Chicken Pie with Garlic Cauliflower Mash
Wow! This is insane. A comfort classic – that is healthy?! Shut the front door! I felt good about making this as I chopped and sautéed away – but I felt even better eating it. This also span over two days which is always a winner in my books!
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, diced
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- 250g mushrooms (such as chestnut or portabello), sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 500ml bone broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 500g roast chicken, shredded
- 2 handfuls of frozen peas
- 1 large handful of chopped fresh parsley
- sea salt and black pepper
Garlic Cauliflower Mash:
- 2 large cauliflowers, outer leaves removed
- 25g butter
- 4 tablespoons water
- 4 garlic cloves
- sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to fan 200°C.
For the cauliflower mash:
Slice the tough skin at the base of the stem, then roughly chop the cauliflower into 5cm chunks. Place the butter and water in a large pan and add the cauliflower and garlic.
Cover the pan with a lid and steam over a medium heat for around 8 minutes until the cauliflower is tender when tested with a knife. All the water should be absorbed, but add a splash more water during cooking if needed and allow any excess water to evaporate.
Add the cauliflower and garlic to a food processor – or leave in the pan and use a hand-held stick blender – and puree until smooth and creamy or roughly textured, as you wish. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the pie:
Melt half the butter or ghee in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 4 minutes until softened but not browned. Add the garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms and bay leaf, increase the heat to high and fry for 1-2 minutes.
Pour the broth into the pan, add the thyme, bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 12 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the sauce as reduced and thickened.
Remove the bay leaf and add the chicken, peas and parsley to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well, then transfer the mixture to a 25cm-diameter ovenproof dish with 5cm high sides.
Spoon the cauliflower mash over the filling and spread into an even layer, then swirl it into peaks, if you like. Dot the top of the pie with the remaining butter/ghee, then bake fro 25-30 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.
|Variation:For a vegetarian option, swap the chicken with four large handfuls of cooked puy lentils.
The Rudi-Rating (RR): This dish received a 9/10 – hubby found the cauli-mash a little weird. I absolutely loved this pie and it tasted even better the following day!
Recipe #3: Easy, Cheesy Broccoli Risotto
Believe it or not, this was my first time cooking quinoa! This was a pleasantly surprising dish, being a noob to quinoa. Once we were finished eating, we didn’t feel bloated or heavy – that’s got to be a good thing!
- 250g quinoa
- 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
- 2 medium onions, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 large handfuls of fresh basil, leaves and stalks separated and roughly chopped
- 5 tablespoons tomato pureé
- 1 litre bone broth
- 2 large heads of broccoli
- 100g grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- sea salt and black pepper
Cover the quinoa in double the volume of water and leave to soak overnight, or a minimum of 8 hours, then drain and rinse. If you don’t have time to soak the quinoa, rinse thoroughly and cook for longer.
Melt the ghee or coconut oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onions for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and oregano or thyme and the basil stalks and cook for 1 minute. Add the rinsed quinoa and the tomato pureé and stir well.
Add the bone broth or water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, pop a lid on the pan and simmer for 12 minutes until the quinoa is almost tender.
Meanwhile, prepare the broccoli by cutting into equal-sized florets and roughly chopping the stalks (after first slicing off the tough outer layer).
Stir the broccoli into the pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes until tender (you might want to add another 100ml of liquid at this point if the risotto is getting dry), then remove from the heat.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the Parmesan and lemon juice or ACV and stir through the chopped basil leaves.
The Rudi-Rating (RR): This dish received a 7/10 – we ate this for meat-free Monday but feel it would be drastically improved with a bit of bacon. That said, it was quite a tasty dish and I’m excited to experiment more with quinoa!
|Weekly Meal Plan
Based on the above recipes, this is a great foundation for a weekly meal plan. Here is what I suggest:
Sunday: Roast your chicken (note, that this recipe calls for 500g, which is quite a large portion of a whole chicken. If you’re doing a Sunday roast, I recommend cooking two chickens so one can be used for the week. Use your leftover bones and make Bone Broth. Shred the leftover chicken meat, cover and refrigerate.
Meat-free Monday: Easy, Cheesy Broccoli Risotto
Tuesday & Wednesday: Chicken Comfort Pie
Thursday & Friday: Chicken Schnitzel Stacks
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! I’d love to hear your thoughts and what your favourite recipes are from the book!