I want to start by clearing something up: I really like this book. Well, you say, you’re writing about it on your blog, so we’re sure you do. And you’re absolutely right, but I wanted to clear that up because I know that some of my readers might misunderstand me when reading this review. When it comes to everything so-called-healthy and/or the whole ‘clean eating’ movement I can come across as quite strong in my disapproval. However, this book to me, is very far off from all that. (My only qualm about it is the use of coconut oil. But that will hopefully be dealt with in another post.)
When I received Hungry Healthy Happy from Quarto, I said to myself “Oh there goes another diet book.” To be fair, they asked me if I wanted a review copy to test. It was I who accepted. I’m so glad to say I was happily surprised. But let’s start with blogger and author, Dannii Martin. First let’s start by saying that she is one of my heroes. There’s a great story about her weight loss that she shares with honesty and openness which I admire. She is very clear about individuality i.e. what works for one person might not work for someone else. Also there is no ingredient in the book which is difficult to source, and I so appreciate that. Which is why I tried some of the recipes and loved making them.
The book is very well thought out. You have quite a lengthy introduction which is worth reading through to understand Dannii’s experience. It’s nothing out of the ordinary but that’s really the beauty of it. This section also includes the importance of exercise, pointers on how to eat well on a budget, what to keep in your food cupboard to be able to prepare meals quicker, and a great meal planner. Dannii does the work for you here and gives you a lovely selection and also an indirect lesson on how to rotate menus to avoid boredom. Mind you, the recipes are not that at all – there’s joy in them. Believe me, I tried and tested them too.
The next chapter is the most-important section, at least for me. Breakfast. This is the one meal I struggle with but Dannii here has got me covered, not only when it comes to pancakes, waffles and porridge. From a recipe for Wholemeal Bread, Chocolate and Hazelnut Spread and Strawberry Jam, right up to Breakfast Burritos, her healthy take on a fry-up, muffins and one of my favourites, Courgette Fritters. Courgettes are a regular staple in my fridge so I can make these whenever I want.
Now comes the fun section, Snacks and Treats – my favourite chapter! Dare I ask you: could you tell? I’m on a raw truffle kick at the moment. Me. I cannot even believe this myself to be honest! What did it for me in this chapter is Dannii’s recipe for Raw Carrot Cake Bites. Delicious and completely addictive. These were a hit with my mum and dad, my in-laws, my friends, my husband, everyone. I made 20 at a time with each attempt (and believe me there were a lot!) although I could have made them a little smaller in size. I also added a couple of tablespoons of water to the mixture, which made the bites that tad more easier to roll. This is one you can make with the kiddies. Such a great little recipe right there! There’s also a really good recipe for Banana Bread. There just had to be, and I’m happy for that. There is a chapter on Desserts and another one on Drinks towards the end of book, that were for me a bit of a disappointment because they don’t offer variety. To be fair, this doesn’t bother me. The other chapters are enough for me to play with.
The next two chapters deal with Light Meals and Lunches and Hearty Main Meals. So it’s not all about salads and soups, although there’s no denying that they are very good for you. I look forward to making the Lamb Kofta with Yoghurt and Feta Dip. It’s grilled and fresh, and makes a great recipe for the summer months. Dannii’s recipe for Shepherd’s Pie is also next on my list. The potato and cauliflower combination sounds like a great alternative for the heavier, more traditional potato-loaded topping.
Surprisingly for me, Hungry Healthy Happy is slowly but surely turning out to be one of my go-to cookbooks. What started as an I’m-not-sure-how-I-will-feel-about-this kind of thing is now surpassing my expectations. Some would say I’m going overboard here, and I agree it might seem that way to many. But I have my reasons. Here’s one. Each recipe has a breakdown of calories, fats, carbs and so on in a neat graph at the top of the page. I don’t even look at the calories – they are only a rough estimate anyway. I don’t use the book as something that will help me lose the weight. I just enjoy the recipes per se. The calorific content to me is another bonus. And this is what makes the book so appealing to me, which says a lot. I mean have you seen some of the recipes on C&T?
Hungry Healthy Happy by Dannii Martin is published by Jacqui Small, RRP £20.00.
**Quarto Books has kindly sent a review copy of this book. I was not paid to endorse it on this blog.**