Monday, 20 January 2014

The Secret Ingredient: Family Cookbook by Sally Bee

Bestselling author, home cook, heart-attack survivor and busy mum of three Sally Bee turns her attention to family cooking.

At the time of writing this book, Sally is hurtling towards an anniversary that she has mixed feelings about. At the age of 36 Sally had three heart attacks in a week. This summer it will be nine years since Sally died. And nine years since she came back to life.
Sally is a living miracle and it is her diet that keeps her fighting and strong. She knows better than anyone how to incorporate healthy eating into your daily life. In her bestselling debut The Secret Ingredient she shared clean and healthy versions of the classic dishes we all love. Now she shows you how to create affordable and simple healthy recipes all the family will adore.
Sally believes the best way to keep your family healthy is to serve everyone the same food – food that tastes good, looks good and does you good. Whether it’s a super quick midweek Bolognese packed full of goodness or tasty Thai prawn skewers, an easy guilt-free chicken pie, delicious oatmeal cookies or a healthy take on your favourite takeaway classics.
Sally knows better than anyone, when you’re feeding the family day in, day out, you want simplicity, speed and lots of great taste and health benefits. In this beautiful new family cookbook, she offers over 100 new recipes that deliver a healthy lifestyle and a happy home life.
Alongside the recipes, there are tips on how to get your children involved, and lots of straightforward advice of how to change your eating habits. Sally’s plans are realistic and easy-to-follow, offering everything you need for a balanced approach to your family’s health.

Published by Harper Collins on 2 January 2014, The Secret Ingredient Family Cookbook is Sally Bee's fourth recipe book.  I'd like to thank Virginia from Harper Non-Fiction who sent my copy for review.

As well as having an enormous TBR (to be read) pile of fiction, I am also a cookery book collector, and have amassed a large collection of fairly eclectic books.  From celebrity chefs to bloggers, from India to Greece and from soups to roasts - I have a book for every occasion.   Over the past year or so, as age creeps up and so does my weight; I've been on the look out more and more for recipes that concentrate not just on taste, but on healthy eating too.

I've been really impressed by The Secret Ingredient Family Cookbook.  Sally Bee's story is a frightening one; she was only 36 years old when she suffered three hearts attacks in one weeks.  I'm ten years older than Sally and that's a worrying thought.  It's time to have a rethink about exactly what I cook on a day to day basis.   I've always been a little worried that low-fat equals low-taste and the thought of brown rice makes me run to the biscuit tin, but I realise that you really are what you eat.   There is no way that I could give up my treats, and I do love to cook, but the high-fat and high-sugar ingredients are going to be relegated as treats in the future, and I believe that I will enjoy them much more.

I made Sally's recipe for Moussaka at the weekend, and it's delicious.  Full of flavour and I actually like her take on the sauce topping much more than the original version.    The book is bright and colourful and very well laid out.  The recipes are in sections and the ingredients are easy to find in most supermarkets.
Each recipe is easy to follow, with step by step instructions and great illustrations.

I will certainly be trying out more of the dishes in this book and intend to check out her earlier publications too.

Sally has her own website, with lots more information about heart health and more recipes, check it out at   You can follow her on Twitter @sallybeelicious

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