IT’S ALL GOOD – It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen
Graham Norton recently gently poked fun at Gwyneth Paltrow for her breakfast recipes in her latest cookery book, It’s All Good. ‘Leftover Quinoa, Two Ways. Yes, I’m the kind of person who always has leftover quinoa.’
I am the sort of person who has a three year old who goes pretend shopping for quinoa. I’ve also been trying to eat a higher protein, low carb diet and so this book (subtitle – Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great) seemed perfect. And frankly, who wouldn’t want to look like Gwyneth, gleaming with health on the front cover.
The recipes are highly nutritious and based on the principles behind Dr Alejandro Junger’s Clean Program which focuses on lean protein. Many of the recipes are, or could be vegan – there are no dairy products, but they occasionally use goat’s or sheep’s milk yoghurt, and although eggs are featured (An Egg, Three Ways), they’re not incorporated into the recipes. Any carbs that appear (mainly in the chapters on Grains and Sweet Tooth) are wholegrain and gluten-free
As Gwyneth says, ‘Sometimes when my family is not eating pasta, bread or processed grains like white rice, we’re left with that specific hunger that comes with avoiding carbs. So, if Julia and I do say so ourselves, we have created a whole bunch of incredibly satisfying, incredibly good-for-you grain-based recipes that will leave you sated’.
Obvious as it sounds, what you want from a recipe book, whether it’s The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook or one on Raw Food Veganism, is that everything is delicious and it all works. I’ve been cooking from It’s All Good almost every day for almost 3 months and it is and it does.
Mango + Avocado Salad with Balsamic-Lime Vinaigrette (I added marinated tofu + cos lettuce)
What elevates It’s All Good from most cookery books is not just the stunning photos of food and Gwyneth, but the sauces and dressings. A salad for lunch no longer seems a bleak prospect topped with Green Goddess Dressing; I am loving Lee’s Hoisin Sauce and the teriyaki-esque marinade for tofu. Although, if the truth be told, whatever I made last is my current favourite. Some of the simplest dishes are sublime: Go-To Black Beans, Tomato Sauce, Guacamole – easy perfection.
Lee’s Chopped Vietnamese Salad
Given it’s high protein, low carb, it’s no surprise there’s a chapter on meat (mainly chicken) and fish; as I’m vegetarian I’ve adapted these dishes using tofu, beans and quorn (although processed, it is almost entirely natural low-fat protein).
Chicken (Quorn) with Harissa, Preserved Lemons + Green Olives
The language is odd at times (crazy good fish tacos, season aggressively) but having read GOOP for years (GP’s lifestyle website), it is very Gwyneth (crazy rad girl). Julia has a nice turn of phrase, describing romanesco like, ‘a cauliflower on acid’.
It is American with only a nod to us Brits. So a) you need a lot of ingredients that don’t grow here, or not all year round (limes, avocados, chillies and coriander) and b) it’s full of things we don’t have a clue about (poblanos, piquillos, ponzu and posole). So you’ll need to grab a set of American measuring cups and have Google on hand.
Buckwheat + Banana Pancakes
I found the children’s section cute but it didn’t really work for me and my three year old daughter. She rejected Frozen Pops, Chocolate Brownies and Banana Ice Cream on the grounds that they didn’t contain a shed-load of sugar; she saw through Rice Cream Sundaes (rice with stuff she won’t eat) and refused to try Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (lentils with cauliflower mash). All 5 times it was served up. In cupcakes.
Still, it is, indeed, not good, but frankly, brilliant. Shepherd’s Pie anyone?