Wednesday 23 March 2016

Recipe inspiration from my favourite cookbooks

Recipe inspiration from Jamie Oliver, Anna Jones, Gizzi Erskine and Nigella Lawson
Recipe inspiration from Jamie Oliver, Anna Jones, Gizzi Erskine and Nigella Lawson

After my ‘Raaahhh! LIFESTYLE CHANGE!’ post earlier this week – well done if you read that lengthy one – I wanted to focus a bit on something I’ve claimed as my new mantra: it’s not what you can’t have, it’s what you can have.

You see, when you’re trying to be healthy, it’s easy to think about all the things you can’t eat, and often that’s dooming you before you’ve begun. If you’re eating salad and wishing you had chips, then you’re never going to stop thinking about those chips. So my new strategy is to plan meals that are healthy, nutritious and most importantly – delicious. Because if I’m not excited about what I’m eating, then I won’t want to eat it.

My top tip is having a recipe inspiration session. Haul out all those cookbooks and spend an evening going through them and noting down everything you want to try. I got a huge stack of them at Christmas, and most of them are on the healthy side, but after my original flick-through I’ve put them away and made nothing. After making my list of recipes to try though, I’m really excited to work my way through it, and have already started with Jamie Oliver’s tacos and kiwi salsa recipe (my take on that is coming up soon).

Here are a few of my must-cooks...


Recipe inspiration from Jamie Oliver, Anna Jones, Gizzi Erskine and Nigella Lawson

The new Jamie Oliver cookbook, Every Day Super Food is great – I want to make almost everything. I love that he’s focused on eating well (with no faddiness – hello sugar, carbs and oil) with big punchy flavours and unusual recipes.

Fish tacos & kiwi salsa
Asian crispy beef
Skinny carbonara
Turmeric chicken
Asian stir fried veg & omelette
Veg sandwich
Bombay chicken
Veggie burgers
Squash Dhal with fried egg
Squash laksa bake
Squash lasagne
Black bean feijoda
Chicken squash cacciatore
Steak & tabbouleh


Recipe inspiration from Jamie Oliver, Anna Jones, Gizzi Erskine and Nigella Lawson

I adore Anna Jones’s books, especially her first one, A Modern Way To Eat. The follow up, A Modern Way To Cook, is still good, but not quite as ‘I want to make the entire book!’ as the first one. All her recipes are vegetarian, but it took me a while to notice, as I was so fixated on the flavours. Also, no crazy ingredients – my bugbear in recipe books. I don’t have time to hike to Mongolia for that rare spice you mentioned!

Herb omelette
Sweet potato and quinoa bowls
Pepper & white bean quesadillas
Plantain, avocado, black bean bowl
Halloumi & harissa rice bowl
Carrot & chickpea pancakes
Black bean & corn fritters
Butternut & leek hash
Sweet potato chilli
Roast lime feta & greens burrito
Avocado barley bowl
Sweet potato bake
Buddha bowls
Turkish flatbreads
Squash & spinach feta pie
Coconut, lime & tamarind curry


Recipe inspiration from Jamie Oliver, Anna Jones, Gizzi Erskine and Nigella Lawson

I love Nigella, but her new book, Simply Nigella, and TV show did feel like she was jumping on the clean-eating bandwagon because everyone else was, not because it’s her chosen direction. And to be honest, we love Nigella for delicious, indulgent recipes – we don’t want her to change. There are a few recipes in her book that I like the sound of though…

Cauliflower & cashew curry
Thai turkey meatballs
Sweet potato mac'n'cheese
Indian shepherds pie
Chicken Cosima
Chicken & wild rice
Chicken shawarma
Beef bourbon chilli
Pork bao buns
Moroccan chicken stew


Recipe inspiration from Jamie Oliver, Anna Jones, Gizzi Erskine and Nigella Lawson

I have two Gizzi Erskine books, including her latest one, Gizzi's Healthy Appetite, and they seem to be focused on balancing healthy eating with indulgent eating. Gizzi’s recipes are often a bit more effort than the other chefs I’ve mentioned, but sometimes it’s great to push the boat out and experiment on a Saturday night, isn’t it?

Lamb shawarma
Pulled Chipotle chicken with pink pickled onions
Thai chicken fried rice
Green mole
Green chile

Some of my other favourite healthy cookbooks are Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, The Hairy Dieters, Cook Yourself Thin and the Leon ones – all can be picked up for cheap in charity shops or discount bookshops though as they’ve been out for a while.


  1. Thanks for sharing your favourite healthy cookbooks. I do agree on planning ahead. My favourite cookbook at the moment is Bontiful by Todd Porter and Diane Cu.
    From which cookbook is the first photo?

    1. That's Jamie Oliver's Every Day Super Food - his Bombay Chicken, which I reeeeally want to try!

      Thanks for the rec :)

    2. Thanky you Sarah! Do you have your favourite vegetarian cookbook?

  2. I have really loved cooking from Gizzi's Healthy Appettite- the smoked mackerel kedgeree is great and we're trying out the merguez shepherd's pie for Easter which I have high hopes for. So true about it being weekend food though, the recipes are a bit more labour intensive than some of the books you picked out!

  3. Just wanted to tell you that I've batch-cooked three of your recipes this week (well, variations on 'em, I can never follow recipes without freestyling a bit) and all were divine. I have a very happy freezer full of leftovers! I made the Mexicana pasta thing, the chilli/peanut/pork mince noodles and the sweet potato and bean tacos. I also made a very wonderful cheese on toast with my leftover Mexicana. Please keep the recipes coming! X


Comments make my day. :) I love you.

© Essbeevee | Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, St Albans, Tring food, lifestyle, & parenting blog. All rights reserved.
Blogger templates by pipdig