Do people still buy cookbooks?… Yes you bet they do. There is nothing like flicking through the pages and book marking all of the recipes that seem to beg to be made. They are always there when you want to return to them. The recipe for these Sweet Carrot and Ricotta Pancakes came from a new book called “beautiful food” , by Jody Vassallo. It’s one of the first recipes that jumped out of the pages and into my kitchen. I have no idea why I never dreamt of making pancakes with carrots before. It makes perfect sense to me.
The book itself is based on the principles of eating gently and nourishing yourself. Yes it’s about eating healthy food and yes, it contains dishes made with recently popular ingredients like chia and quinoa, but it wasn’t until I had bookmarked about 10 recipes that I realiazed that the recipes are both gluten free and based on Ayurvedic ideas.
I turned to Jodie’s introduction of How to use the book, and the way that she views cooking, eating and living the principles of doing the best for yourself is relaxing even encouraging and natural.
“Most importantly this book is about learning how to listen to your body and discovering which foods work for you. The last thing I want you to do is get finicky about getting it right that will only create more stress! If you find the Ayurvedic approach appealing then give it a go but try not to let it take over your life”.
Along with these very wise words there are all of the tools you will need if you would like to follow Ayurvedic, the ancient Indian “diet” of eating for the seasons and your body type. Of course if you just want a cookbook that will help you eat a healthy interesting diet, I think this might tick a few boxes.
About the author
Jody Vassallo sound familiar “? She should. Her list of achievements is so long I had to leave some of them off the list. She has been working as a food stylist, recipe writer and home ecconomist for 20 years and has collaborted with Bill Granger, Jamie Oliver and Donna Hay. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Vogue Entertaining, Good Living, Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Mind Food and donna hay magazine where she worked as a stylist and cook. She became the Food Editor at Murdoch books where she oversaw production of books for all the Marie Claire, Bill Granger’s Sydney Food, and Le Cordon Bleu books and went on to writing a slew of her own books before working for Hatchett Livre, travelling, writing and researching books. Her interest in nutrition lead to jobs with The Australian Institute of sport and then on to her own publishing company writing cooking titles , Low Fat, Diabetes 1 & 2, Allergies, Pregnancy, Baby and Toddler, Wheat and Gluten Free, Christmas Food, Detox, Vegetarian, Fitness Food, Omega 3 and Low Fat for Kids. She contributes a fortnightly column to Jamie Oliver’s ministry of food. If those achievements don’t seem enough add her studies in both Ayurvedic medicine and Macrobiotic cooking to the list and she weaves these bits of wisdom in to “beautiful food”. More?. Yep you can find her in Bangalow NSW, teaching yoga classes and how to cook macrobiotic food . I feel tired…. and under qualified.
I eat a very healthy diet that is interspersed with pockets of cake and chocolate but, this book appeals to me. I am not obsessed with eliminating anything from my diet, especially cake and chocolate, and that’s not going to change, but Jody’s non fussy approach encourages me to feel that I can have these times and still cook and eat well when I want . The calming colours and gentle pictures add to the very non preachy tone, and so far cooking from “beautiful food” doesn’t seem to require any ingredients or skills I don’t already have. Jody explains that some times we prefer food warm or cooked over raw, that you can’t always deprive yourself but you can learn to use more friendly ingredients to make food that suits you and comforts. I will sheepishly add that I have added a tad more sugar to some of the things I’ve cooked, but that’s comforting to me……and I’m not encouaging it!
This is not a vegetarian book, there’s a great mixture of flavoursome gentle meat based recipes to keep you going for the times when that’s just what you need. For the other times- there’s raspberry and beetroot brownies……
I’ve made a few recipes both sweet and savoury and am very happy so far. You can see by my pictures that there are a lot of very cheap strawberries here at the moment, but I am sure that you can substitute anything you feel is right for you and you will be following the principles of this book . Jody has very kindly let me share the recipe for these pancakes with you. They have Ricotta, Quinoa flakes and buckwheat flour in them along with carrot. I did have all of these ingredients,( I bought quinoa flakes to make porridge but found I really didn’t like it), if you need to buy them, I am sure you will use them up making these pancakes again and again. They are light and fluffy and delicious. I gave them to the fussiest eater in the world, Skater, and he devoured them, even though he asked why they had carrot in them, AND he ate them with chocolate icecream- clearly Ayuvedic for him warm: cold .
Jody’s recipe calls for Maple, Cinnamon and Orange butter and I will reproduce her recipe word for word, but I used Maple Yoghurt Cheese from another of her recipes . I also added a touch more sugar and garnished with strawberries and walnuts.
- 250 gm fresh ricotta ( 8oz)
- 4 free range eggs separated
- 375 gm unsweetened almond milk ( I used plain milk)( 11/2 cups)
- 130 gm buckwheat flour (1½ cups)
- 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 25 gm quinoa flakes ( ½ cup)
- 25 gm almond meal (1/4 cup)
- 100 gm carrot
- 25 gm butter (1-2 Tablesppoons)
- 100 gm butter ( 3.5oz)
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 10 ml pure maple syrup (2 teaspoons)
- extra maple syrup to serve
- Put the orange zest, cardomom, butter and maple syrup into a bowl and combine. Shape into a log , wrap and chill
- Combine the ricotta, egg yolks and milk
- In a separate bowl sift the flour baking powder and spices then stir in the quinoa flakes and almond meal. Make a well in the centre and stir in the ricotta mixture.
- Whisk the eggwhites in a separte bowl till stiff peaks form. Fold into the ricotta mixture with the grated carrot.
- Melt a little of the butter in a non stick frying pan over medium heat and drop 3 tablespoons of batter per pancake into the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, until the underside is golden, turn and cook the other side for 3 minutes, until golden. Transfer the pancakes and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining pancakes.
- Serve the pancakes topped with orange, cinnamon and maple butter and a good splash of maple syrup
I found some great seasonal easy to make food in this book that can useful for Gluten intolerence, vegetarians, vegans and everyday comfort food.