Sunday, October 8, 2017

Cookbook reviews + giveaways: Sweet, Savory & Free and The One Peaceful World Cookbook

I recently reviewed two digital cookbooks kindly sent to me by BenBella Books. I am pleased to share them with you today and give you a chance to win a digital copy of each, or a print copy if you live in the US or Canada.

Sweet, Savory & Free, by Debbie Adler, features recipes free from dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, meat, refined sugar and refined oils. That is quite the 'free from' list. The book includes recipes for breakfasts; soups; meals made in muffin tins or ramekins (an interesting category); pizza, pasta, rice and noodles; other main meals; side dishes; bread; and sweet items. There are also opening chapters on staple ingredients and how to make basic condiments and sauces. I found the organisation a little unusual - I would include pizza/pasta dishes within main meals, for example - but the recipes are varied and appealing. Pictures accompany each.

Highlight ideas include breakfast raspberry and hemp seed pancakes that are baked in a springform baking pan rather than cooked on the stove top (great for those of us who are messy pancake makers); cannellini cupcakes with whipped parsnip; and 'krab kakes' with heart of palm providing a crab-like substitute.

Cannellini cupcakes with whipped parsnip;
image from Sweet, Savory and Free, copyright Debbie Adler, BenBella Books, Inc

The recipe I tried first was one similar to dishes I've made before, which says something about my tendency to stick with what I know. The Veggie Fried Rice with a Thai Twist called for rice mixed with vegetables, lime and mango - a beautiful mix of flavours. In the absence of fresh mango I used (tinned) pineapple instead, but will definitely try this again in summer when mango is more readily available.

I loved the use of lime and the ginger-garlic flavours, and whilst I added some tofu for extra protein, the vegetable mix is hearty enough that you don't really need it. I include the recipe below.

The second book is The One Peaceful World Cookbook by Alex Jack and Sachi Kato. This shares recipes not just for plant-based eating but for macrobiotic eating. I confess that macrobiotic cooking is not something I have much experience with but this book includes comprehensive background material on the dietary approach. Whilst it isn't a philosophy I see myself adopting in full, the recipes still appeal as health-focused yet hearty meals.

The book is organised around dishes based on rice; other whole grains (like barley, millet and quinoa); noodles, spring rolls, dumplings and breads; soups; beans; tofu, tempeh, seitan and fu; garden vegetables; salads and dressings; pickles; sea vegetables; condiments; desserts; and beverages and 'natural remedies'. There are a lot of recipes! Particularly appealing dishes, to me, were the macro corn bread with tahini-miso spread, sweet and sour tempeh, seaweed-nut crunch, and peach couscous cake. I have tucked all of these away to try in due course.

This book doesn't include a photo for every recipe, but most dishes do have accompanying images, although not always on the adjacent page.

If you would like to win a digital copy of either book (or print if you live in the US or Canada), leave a comment stating which book you'd like and why. Winners will be selected at random (one for each book) at the end of October.

Veggie Fried Rice with a Thai Twist
Reproduced verbatim from Sweet, Savory and Free, copyright Debbie Adler, BenBella Books, Inc
Serves 8

Fried rice
5 cups water
2 cups brown rice, rinsed
1 small yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup coconut aminos
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup chopped green beans
2 cups finely chopped dinosaur kale
1/2 cup diced mango

Lime wedges
1 scalion, chopped

To make the fried rice, add the water and rice to a medium pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Heat the onion in a medium saute pan over medium heat and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the coconut aminos, garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, carrots, celery, green beans and kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables become tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the mango and rice. Stir to incorporate.

Serve with a squeeze of rice on top of each bowl and a sprinkle of the scallion.

I am delighted to announce that the winner is Shaheen of Allotment 2 Kitchen! Congratulations Shaheen.


  1. I would love to win The One Peaceful World Cookbook! I already own Sweet, Savory & Free and it's awesome. =)

  2. Fun books! I like the sound of the rice - mango makes everything good.

  3. That photo of the cannelini cupcake is so gorgeous and so is the One peaceful world cookbook photo on the cover of all the colourful veg - I think I need both of these for some inspiration (and then throw in a bit of time too if you are kind enough to choose my comment for winning a book)

  4. i want both :) though if i had to pick i guess it would be the sweet, savory and free as the cannellini cupcake picture looks so good. on the other hand i do love cornbread so that recipe w/ the tahini-miso spread has me intrigued as well.

    fruitcrmble AT Comcast DOT net

  5. I like sound of them both, but my preference would b for the Sweet Savoury and Free as you now have me wishing to make some breakfast raspberry hemp seed pancakes baked in a springform baking pan; and the 'krab kakes' as I have not cooked much with heart of palm, but i need a copy of the book for the recipe to do that - choose cheeky me, please.

  6. I would like to win the One Peaceful World Cookbook because I happily already have the other one!

  7. I would prefer Sweet Savory and Free because I always like Debbie Adler's recipes!


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