Last summer, I fell in love with Bravo’s show Ladies of London. I usually steer clear of the over-the-top nonsense Bravo spews, but I really enjoyed the Ladies of London and their day-to-day, fabulous, refined lives. About halfway through the season we met Julie Montagu, or as she is more formally known, Lady Hinchinbrooke, the future Countess of Sandwich.
Why I love Julie: Julie’s husband, Luke, Viscount Hinchinbrooke, is the future Earl of Sandwich. On paper, they live a very posh, “royal life” – most of their time is spent in their London home, with holidays spent at the family country estate, Mapperton, filling their days with glamorous events. But Julie isn’t all tiaras and garden parties – she is a certified yoga instructor, certified plant-based nutritionist, and a certified holistic health counsellor. She is also one of London’s most sought after yoga instructors, with actual wait lists for her classes. If a hippie and a duchess were genetically combined, it would be Julie.
As I started to follow Julie on Instagram and Twitter, I was able to learn more about her and her lifestyle. Immediately, I was drawn to her toned, healthy physique (of course! She looks fab AND has four kids!). Then, I was drawn to her positive outlook on life (she posts an inspirational quote every morning on Instagram!). Then, I was drawn to her upbeat energy, which is apparently never failing (mine, however, is failing me as I type this at four in the afternoon…). Okay, Julie. Teach me your ways.
Why I love the book: Julie’s book SUPERFOODS was initially released in the UK, and it did so well (for good reason) that they launched the book in the United States. I knew I wanted to review this book, but I am simply not knowledgeable about the metric system of measurements in cooking, so I didn’t invest in the UK version. When an American-friendly version came out, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy. Yay!
SUPERFOODS is more than just recipes – it is an informational guide to help the reader learn more about plant-based eating. The book begins with a chapter on which foods we must/should/could have in the pantry, along with why they are so beneficial to our health and diet. Then, each recipe has a lesson on one ingredient – the benefits of that ingredient, why it was included in this recipe, and how best to utilize it. After reading the entire book and testing a few recipes, I felt knowledgable enough to mix up some of my own healthful, plant-based recipes. The book taught me things, rather than telling me things. It taught me how to have more of a plant-based diet.
That is the other thing I really enjoy – Julie doesn’t preach super-hippie-vegan-gluten-peace-matcha-don’t-ever-eat-meat. Rather, she encourages you to crowd out the bad by eating more good. Yes! Eat french fries! They make a great treat along with your kale and chickpea salad. Yes! Lamb kabobs would go great with that recipe! Yes! Chocolate! So much chocolate!
Why I love the recipes: I tested three recipes from this book for the purposes of this review: the chocolate chia breakfast pudding, the Moroccan chickpea, carrot and date salad with paprika dressing, and the black bean brownies. Before I got to the kitchen, I read through the entire book. It is extremely well-written and actually quite fun to read, as Julie inserts anecdotes on her friends and family along with the recipes. Upon reading, I wondered if the measurements and yields are entirely accurate. While I personally had no issues with these three recipes, the measurements and yields on other recipes may be a little funky. But hey! Let’s talk about the yummy stuff…
Images from SUPERFOODS via Chronicle Books
The chocolate chia breakfast pudding: Okay, Julie. Lets have chocolate for breakfast. I forgot to buy dates at the grocery store, so I used raisins instead (er…they’re the same thing, right…? Wrong. Very wrong). Despite my lumpy raisins which did not blend very well, the recipe was divine. I left everything to mingle overnight, and in the morning I gently heated the pudding. It. Was. Divine. Chocolate for breakfast.
The Moroccan chickpea, carrot, and date salad with paprika dressing: How did I forget to buy dates twice?! I do not know. Again, I substituted raisins and this time it was a huge success. I made a batch of this salad as a lunch one day, and ended up making a second batch two days later. It can be ready to eat in about 20 minutes, although the longer it sits the more you love it. The flavors are very rich, exotic, and outside the normal “mayonnaise” flavors of salads. It makes an awesome entree on its own, but would also be fantastic with grilled chicken.
The black bean brownies: Originally I intended to test a soup recipe, but as I received this book during a certain shall-we-say-delicate time, I thought the brownies were a great idea. At 10PM. On a weeknight. I needed brownies, okay?! Luckily, the recipe was so easy that I had warm brownies before Odd Mom Out was over. I was definitely skeptical, and in the interest of full disclosure, this is the first time in my whole life I did not taste the batter. It came out of the oven a bit flat and darker than I had imagined. I sliced myself a brownie, tasted it, and then blatantly lied to my loved one that he would most definitely not enjoy this and I might toss them no don’t touch them they’re mine. They were delicious. Gooey, warm, chocolatey, indulgent. Then, I ate one every. single. day for a week. I ATE BROWNIES EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK! I kept them in a little tupperware and when I needed one (because I did – often), I just gave it 30 seconds in the microwave. Along with a glass of almond milk, this turned into my go-to snack. I felt good about it, knowing I was getting loads of fibre, protein, folate, iron, calcium, omega-3s and antioxidants. From brownies. They honestly made me feel so satisfied – both my sweet tooth, my hormonal demons, and my hunger disappeared for ages.
The book is great – a welcome addition to any health-conscious kitchen, or even just a kitchen looking for some new and innovative recipes. I would recommend it to anyone! Julie also has a blog, on which she frequently shares new recipes, and I high recommend you follow her on Instagram for daily inspirations and positivity.