The Extra Virgin Kitchen by Susan Jane White
Susan Jane White’s zest for life leaps out of the pages of her book, The Extra Virgin Kitchen, says Maria McHale…
I can’t think of one thing I don’t like about the Extra Virgin Kitchen cookbook. Like a lot of people who have cured various illnesses with good food and diet, she is evangelical about the benefits of wholesome clean eating and steering clear of processed foods and her boundless energy and enthusiasm leaps off each and every page.
Laid low by a host of undefined medical issues in her twenties and hospitalised at one point, Susan Jane embarked on a ‘nutritional pilgrimage’ back to good health by cutting out wheat, sugar and diary. That journey ignited a passion for cooking and resulted in the publication of The Extra Virgin Kitchen.
This book is a healthy-eating bible, stuffed full of recipes that cater for any and all dietary requirements and the recipes are different, interesting and a lot of fun.
There’s no doubt she is preaching to the converted here at Sláinte Magazine, but my one small caveat about the book is that health food novices might be overwhelmed by the vast array of foods which most definitely necessitate a trip to the nearest health food shop for stocking up.
However, that aside, the introduction lays out a clear plan of action to get you started on the road to healthy eating, setting out everything you might want to know in a Q&A section which will clear up any confusion.
I’m a keen cook (with tons of cookery books I never use) but this is one I have already gone back to again and again. It’s got a great selection of new and different recipes that will bring something new for the health-conscious food lover.
What stands out for me is the number of ‘snack’ recipes which are brilliant for hungry people but bursting with health too. If your downfall is snacking, then you will find plenty of inspiration here. Everything from the Badass Breakfast Bars to the Office bombs went down a treat.
If you want to embrace healthy eating and have any issues with gluten/wheat, diary or sugar, then this is the book for you.
Check out two of our favourite recipes. The Banana Toffee Ice Cream and the Potlets of grapefruit, lime and ginger custard with each serving giving you more than 100% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C. If dairy is off limits for you, these are a great alternative to a yoghurt or ice cream…
POTLETS OF GRAPEFRUIT, LIME AND GINGER CUSTARD
Note: If you don’t have a juicer at home, nicely beg your local juicing outlet to press the ginger for you. Failing this, freeze a massive 12cm peeled stick of ginger. This way, you can grate the ginger’s flesh straight from frozen.
You will need:
6 egg yolks
Juice of 1 limes
Juice of 1 pink grapefruit
5 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
5 tablespoons raw honey
3 tablespoons juiced ginger (see note, above)
Start by downloading a good podcast. You’ll be locked to the cooker for 8 whole minutes watching this custard thicken.
Using a small saucepan on a low setting, gently heat all the ingredients. Make sure you are continuously whisking with a metal balloon beater. Keep a watch for little bubbles forming on the surface, telling you the mixture is getting hotter and hotter. By then you should notice it getting thicker. Test by dipping the back of a spoon into it. If the mixture coats the spoon, remove from the heat. If it runs off, keep the mixture over the heat until it thickens a little more.
Pour into little pots and refrigerate until it’s no longer possible to ignore. Particularly tasty with crushed pistachio nuts or torn mint leaves.
BANANA TOFFEE ICE CREAM
You will need:
4 medium bananas
Decent pinch sea salt flakes
Handful of plump raisins or chopped Medjool dates
1x340g jar of light tahini
½ cup raw honey, good agave or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or powder
1 additional tablespoon runny raw honey
Roughly mash two and a half bananas with the salt flakes. Stir through raisins or chopped dates if using.
(I use Medjool dates because they are sent from angels. Or demons. Not sure which, but I encourage you to indulge me and try a few licky sticky yummy ones. Dried dates are fine to use too, but taste crunchy in the ice cream as opposed to
squidgy. Raisins are delectably chewy, and noticeably cheaper).
In a separate bowl, beat the tahini, maple syrup (or other) and vanilla with a fork until sumptuously smooth. Fold in the banana mess. You can swirl a little honey on top if you fancy – it sets like toffee. Pour into a plastic cylindrical tub, seal, and freeze overnight.
You can get The Extra Virgin Kitchen directly from Gill & Macmillan Books or any good bookshop priced €27.