Book review: Eat Nourish Flourish

Eat Nourish Flourish Carey Davis-Munro book review
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Eat Nourish Flourish, the new cookbook by Carey Davis-Munro has just been published; and with more time being spent home (thanks to the UK lockdown part 2), we decided to explore her healthier steps to family food.

The three-word title Eat Nourish Flourish follows a current trend – think ‘Cook Eat Repeat’ by Nigella, and ‘Modern Comfort Food’ by Ina Garten, with titles rolling easily off the tongue into conversation with friends about what recipes you’re cooking at the moment. Eat Nourish Flourish, however is not just about cooking. This title sits somewhere between a self-help book and a cookery book. If I were a bookshop keeper I would be hard pressed to decide which shelf it sits on.

Davis-Munro introduces a series of models and tools tailored tailored around food, designed to explore our current thinking, set goals and develop steps to succeed in reaching those goals. Davis-Munro introduces vegan, gluten-free recipes throughout each step.

Our household subscribes to neither vegan nor gluten-free diets, so we were impressed to find plenty of recipes that enticed us, or could be added to. However a number of recipes are prohibitively expensive (including the 16-ingredient breakfast smoothie, and aptly named 20-ingredient healthy millionaires) with not all ingredients being readily available. At a time when households have reduced incomes (from the effect of the pandemic), we have identified readily-available (and cheaper but not gluten-free / vegan) alternatives in the recipes below.

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We focussed on cooking the recipes to test both their and our efficacy at creating the desired result, forgoing the goals and self-development steps element of the Eat Nourish Flourish. To start, there are a number of surprisingly simply and healthier snacks. A haul of cheap cans of chickpeas from the supermarket was a reason to try two of these:

  • A wholesome snack of crispy chickpeas (a can of drained chickpeas drizzled with olive oil, sea salt flakes, ground black pepper and nutritional yeast flakes, roasted in the oven at 220C for 20 mins), and;
  • Miso hummus (made in one step by emptying 2 cans of drained chickpeas, juice of 1 lemon, 5 – 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of tahini and 1 tsp of miso paste and a good pinch of salt into the food processor and blitzing until you reach the desired, smooth-ish consistency). We then followed Davis-Munro’s inspiration to have a dinner of mixed roast veg with hummus for one dinner: cheap simple and gratifying.

In terms of side dishes, Eat Nourish Flourish, thank goodness includes its own variant of potato wedges. For this recipe, Davis-Munro suggests adding 4 tbsps of nutritional yeast flakes as part of the season on the chopped potatoes (along with the usual sea salt flakes, ground black pepper, and a good coating of olive oil) before roasting at a high heat for 40 minutes. For those wanting to get adventurous but remain within a comfort zone, try the home-made baked beans, recipe below. On first glance this list of ingredients may seem a lot, but all (where we have indicated substitutes) are available cheaply at supermarkets.

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More substantial dishes, particularly as we move into the winter months include the sausage and black bean casserole, and the crispy coated tofu stir fry. For the latter, we were unable to source any tofu (let alone breaded tofu) across our locale of south-west London, so our attempt was vegetable-only, though we did add our own shredded chicken, cooked separately. Scroll down for the recipe.

Eat Nourish Flourish (ISBN 978-1-910863-69-5) is available from major book retailers (both in-store and online).

Baked beans

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic – finely grated
  • 1 red onion – finely chopped
  • 1 carton passata (circa 250g)
  • 1 can borlotti beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 red chilli – finely chopped (de-seeded if you don’t want too much heat)
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • Tabasco sauce, a few drops
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp tamari (this is a gluten-free soy sauce, so replace with soy sauce if you struggle to find this or don’t need to go gluten-free)
  • Coconut nectar (we just used a squeeze of runny honey)

Recipe:

  • Gently fry the garlic and red onion in a little olive oil for about 4 minutes or until both are soft. Add the passata and stir well. Meanwhile drain and rinse all the beans, keeping them ready to one side.
  • To the pan, add the Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, cider vinegar, tamari (or soy sauce), coconut nectar (or honey), and a pinch of black pepper, stir, and then transfer this sauce to a blender and blitz to a smooth purée.
  • To the pan re-add the now smooth purée and all the drained beans. Add the chopped chilli at this point, and simmer on a low heat until the beans are piping hot.
  • Serve as is, and any leftovers can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a couple of days. We can confirm that the taste gets better over time.
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Crispy coated tofu stir fry

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of breadcrumbed tofu
  • 1/2 head of broccoli – cut into florets and sliced
  • 10 chestnut mushrooms – chopped
  • 2 medium-sized carrots – cut into batons
  • 2 handfuls of cashew nuts
  • 1 red onion – sliced1 red pepper – deseeded and sliced
  • 1/2 courgette – sliced (we substituted this with sliced green beans)
  • 100g spinach
  • 1 red chilli
  • 4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • 3cm of stem ginger – grated
  • Sesame oil
  • 100ml passata
  • 1 lemon – juiced
  • 4 tbsp tamari (this is a gluten-free soy sauce, so replace with soy sauce if you struggle to find this or don’t need to go gluten-free)
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • Tabasco sauce, a few drops
  • Date nectar (we just used a squeeze of runny honey)
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • Handful of fresh coriander – chopped

Recipe:

  • In a wok or large frying pan, fry the tofu in sesame oil until crispy. In a separate pan, steam the broccoli for a couple of minutes, just until slightly soft.
  • Remove the now-crispy tofu and set aside, then add and fry the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, carrots, cashews and chillies in a little more sesame oil. Add the Chinese Five Spice and stir well. Then, ass the mushrooms start to shrink and yield some liquid, add the onion, pepper, steamed broccoli and courgette. Keep stirring on a medium-high heat.
  • In a bowl add the lemon juice, orange juice, tamari (or soy sauce), Tabasco, date nectar (or honey), and passata. Mix together to taste, and then add to the pan, stirring to coat all the vegetables.
  • Add the spinach and chopped coriander and continue to stir together until the spinach has wilted. Serve immediately, while rice.

About Tim Firmager

Tim divides his time being a Digital Consultant in The City and as a food and travel writer across the globe. When he's not working as one of the Lifestyle Editors here at Vada, he's planning his next trip, or on the lookout for the latest food crazes or unusual foods in London's markets.