A guide to healthy, tasty, no-fuss food that the whole family can enjoy (and that doesn’t take an age to make) – Hungry, Introduction
So the makers of the most famous pre-made smoothies in the UK have released a cookery book: “Hungry? The innocent recipe book for filling your family with good stuff“. But is it any good?
It’s a large, heavy book with a thick hard-back cover and 350 pages of advice, tips and recipes printed in full colour on thick, good-quality paper. The cover is mostly white, though, and the pages slightly matt, so I don’t know how well it’ll withstand the drips, spatters and spills that rule our kitchen.
The first thing I noticed upon opening the book is that it isn’t just recipes. There are a lot of pics and infographic-style advice pages. The intro alone is 25 pages, and includes (among other things): advice on 5-a-day, tips on basic cooking prep and a guide to feeding “small tummies”. There’s also a pocket at the back to store recipes, which also includes a few leaves of note paper.
Cute stuff aside, in the middle of all this, there are over 300 pages of recipes divided mainly into mealtimes (breakfast, lunch etc), baking and drinks. There’s also an “alternative contents”, which splits recipes mostly by occasion e.g. “midnight feasts”, “unexpected visitors, and “a night on the sofa”.
Love or hate the innocent brand and all its chummy language, they’ve obviously gone out of their way to create a book that is ‘real-life friendly’ – and as first impressions go, they’ve succeeded. So what are the recipes actually like?
Some sections start with such basic recipes, I was almost put off. Tips like putting mashed banana on toast or adding fruit to porridge may be nice for inspiration, but they do not a recipe book make! There are also several novelty pages handing out such gems as where’s a good place to eat a sandwich (on a bench) and where isn’t (the hairdresser’s).
However, a few pages in, we’re into real recipes – a full page pic (although oddly not always of the food) opposite a single page of instructions with the ingredients running down the side, including advice on how this will count towards your 5-a-day.
Several recipes include things you’re unlikely to have in your kitchen already, and may well not be able to find at the local corner shop (not outside London, at least), such as asparagus, halloumi and jars of roasted red peppers – but a good few are more suited to a working family’s badly stocked cupboards.
Making veggie burgers
We opted for veggie burgers (p. 116), partly because the description took me back to Spitalfields market and partly because a single portion counts as two of your 5-a-day.
Consisting mostly of chopped or grated vegetables, there wasn’t a lot JD (3) could safely help with, but he enjoyed helping mix and stir – and had a go at shaping the patties. We found the recipe really simple, but the measurements challenging. What counts as a “large potato”? What’s a “big handful of breadcrumbs”? What’s a “small handful of frozen peas?!
The upshot was that while our finished burgers were absolutely delicious and very filling, they were still loose when cooked and so very messy to eat. I think we used far too much potato and not enough breadcrumbs and flour.
To be fair to the book, though, more skilled cooks would probably do fine and I’m sure we’d nail most recipes second time around. We’ll definitely be making the burgers again and we’re looking forward to trying the other ideas in the book.
Disclosure: This product was provided to us free-of-charge for review. No payment was received and this review is 100% honest. Please see my review/disclosure policy for more information.