Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cookbook Review: Leon: Ingredients & Recipes

While we were in Sydney, Tamra was talking up the Leon: Ingredients and Recipes cookbook. How had I failed to hear about a restaurant (with six branches in London) so in line with everything I think good should be? At Leon they serve fast food that “tastes good and does you good”. Each time we met she mentioned another recipe she loved from the cookbook. So when I got home I went straight out to buy it (and joyously, it was half price at Waterstone’s).

I dived in, to find that the book is in two parts, ingredients and recipes. The first half contains lovely drawings and interesting information about hosts of fruits, veggies, meats, grains, dairy products, and so on. Recipe and cooking suggestions are given for the ingredients and the writing is funny and relaxed. There’s a great pull out cheese map of Europe (soon to be laminated, perhaps, and put up in the kitchen?). There’s a tear out seasonality chart showing not only fruits and veg, but also herbs and fish.

The second half of the book is full of healthy and tasty looking recipes. They are marked if they are low GI, low fat, vegetarian, wheat free, dairy free, or gluten free (and all the recipes are some combination of these). Tamra highlighted a few for me to try and loads of others jumped out at me as new favourites. When I went to visit my friend Sarah I took Leon with me and we tried two recipes: Magic Beans and Black-eyed Peas, Spinach and Lemon (with a few adaptations for Sarah’s veg box collection). By the end of my three day stay she had also read the whole cookbook and we went out to buy her one of her own.

Magic Beans
adapted from Leon: Ingredients and Recipes

2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red chilli, chopped, seeds discarded for less heat if desired
1 T rosemary, finely chopped, or 1 t dried rosemary
200 g green beans
2 T lemon juice
3 spring onions, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, chilli, and rosemary. Cook to soften.
Before the garlic browns, add the green beans, lemon juice, and a splash of water. Cover and cook until the beans are soft, about 15 minutes. Add some more water if things start to stick.
Add the spring onions and heat through.
Remove from the heat and leave for five minutes for the magic to happen. Then season and enjoy!

And now I have been to the Leon restaurant as well. Bree and I went to the Leon restaurant behind the Tate Modern. The food we had was delicious! It was also very fast. We ordered a superfood salad, the recipe for which I had already marked as one to try. Yum! I can see many tasty meals ahead.

1 comment:

Kevin, Sonya, Claire & Max said...

That first one looks like my Bob's Cesar Salad. the best sald I've ever had!

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