If you’re not a resident of Bristol, you may not have heard of Elly Pear and her hugely popular Pear Cafe. But now everyone can benefit from her creative foodie mind with the new book Fast Days & Feast Days (published by Harper Collins).
Don’t be put off by the title’s reference to the 5:2 diet – yes, it is designed to help you stick to this fasting/feasting eating plan (Elly herself tried it with success when she found herself ‘eating’ her way through all the exercise she was doing!), but you hardly notice when all of the recipes sound so wholesome and delicious. Most recipes are vegetarian, some vegan, and some with fish. This is health food for 2016 – a book full of vibrant colour and Elly’s passion for food which almost leaps off the page.
Getting started guide to kitchen essentials
The book starts off with a few pages dedicated to storecupboard and kitchen equipment essentials (some obvious pulses, herbs and condiments, but also healthfood staples you may need to stock up on such as buckwheat, raw cacao powder and smoked tofu).
Elly also offers our kind of handy tips including using leftovers, shopping local (and in small, independents including corner shops and online suppliers), using organic, and organising your weekly shopping, cooking and eating to help minimise waste.
From breakfasts and brunches to weekend entertaining
Now to the food…I couldn’t help lingering on every page as I (initially) flicked through the book to get an overview. Stopping at each page, there’s something new and interesting to devour in each recipe. I couldn’t even tell on first look which recipes were for fast or feast days.
My first attempts at a recipe will most certainly be the brunches – ‘Avocado and miso butter on toast’ and ‘Italian-style baked egg’. Or perhaps one of the salads (‘Smoked trout and cauliflower rice salad’ sounding particularly good) – drizzled with some of the ‘Golden Amazing Sauce’ which sounds so simple, yet totally new.
Weeknight dinners include a fab sounding ‘Sweet potato, lentil, kale and coconut curry’ and ‘Cornershop stew’, for those very “too tired to cook” evenings.
Weekend entertaining offers the opportunity to really impress with ‘Tofu and kale gyoza’, ‘Sea bream in crazy water’ (yes, really), and ‘Blue cheese polenta with mushrooms and hazelnuts’.
After sauces and dips, the book ends on puddings and other sweet treats with ‘Rosemary and lemon posset’ sounding fresh but indulgent, although not as indulgent as ‘Fatty’s salted caramel sauce’ (surely for a feast day!). For little ones, the ‘Banana and oat bars’ sound like a good, homemade alternative to a certain organic supermarket brand…
Beautiful photography and styling
Like any great cook book worth its (Himalayan) salt, Fast Days & Feast Days is full of beautiful photography and fabulous food styling. Has it been designed with the Instagram generation in mind? Whether that’s so or not, this is a great book packed with natural, sustainable food advice, and, most importantly of all, delicious and super healthy recipes!
Elly Pear’s Fast Days & Feast Days by Elly Curshen is available now, priced £20.