Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Delicious Dishes for Diabetics by Robin Ellis

Delicious Dishes for Diabetics

I received a copy of Robin Ellis' cookbook Delicious Dishes for Diabetics to review, many thanks to Sam and Jamie at Constable & Robinson Ltd. Robin, like my Dad, has suffered from Type 2 Diabetes for the last 12 years, lives in France and loves cooking with the fresh and seasonal produce available at his local market.  Cooking in a Mediterranean style he believes was one of the things that helped him control his Diabetes without medication for over 6 years.

The recipes in this book were right up my street as our meals are heavily influenced by what grows in our French veggie garden and I also love our food to be as healthy as possible. Thankfully Ade, Ed and myself don't have any health issues, but my Dad has had Type 2 Diabetes for 14 years and both Ade's Nan and Uncle are insulin dependant Diabetics, so it is something we are very conscious of as a family.  As is usual for me and a new cookbook, I started my journey through it sitting at the kitchen table with my morning coffee, but it wasn't long before lists were being made and ingredients being checked - I think I had made 3 recipes in the first 2 days (something of a record even for me). I will admit I didn't need converting to the Mediterranean diet way of life, but it did give me a whole host of new ideas and it will be regularly referred to. In the Introduction Robin admits that although he lives in France, in terms of food, his heart is in Italy - this made me smile as I am the same, but have never been brave enough to confess (especially to my French neighbours).

Coincidentally the book arrived while Mum and Dad were visiting us for a fortnight, so there was plenty of time for Dad (also a great cook) and I to try and test our favourites.  With over 100 recipes it was difficult to choose, but for me the first recipe I tried is one that will be repeated here very regularly; the Walnut and Garlic Spread, it is simple, delicious and very healthy too, great to top some griddled vegetables (aubergine or courgette) and we also found it very tasty spread on baguette with local goats cheese and grilled for a few minutes.  The Courgette Muffins were also very easy to make (I am always on the lookout for new courgette recipes to add to my repertoire) and they went down really well with our aperos.

French Village Diaries review Delicious Dishes for Diabetics Robin Ellis
Serving our Delicious Dishes for Diabetics
Dad, who tends to prefer his meat and fish dishes to vegetarian ones, chose the Lamb Tagine and wasted no time heading out to shop for the ingredients (shopping is one of his favourite things to do when in France). We cooked it in the slow cooker (slightly different to Robin's method) and it was delicious, a first tagine dish for me but one that we will use again, (especially in winter when we use our slow cooker a lot). We often have grilled sardines for lunch, especially when Mum and Dad are over, so I thought I would spice them up a bit with the Fresh Mint, Anchovy and Chilli Dressing as recommended by Robin. Ade and I thoroughly enjoyed it, Mum and Dad preferred theirs au natural.

One of the things both Mum and I really liked are the little introductions to each section giving a taste of Robin’s life in France, from a food point of view, and the illustrations by Hope James which are beautiful and inviting. The choice of dishes in this book is amazing with something for all the family, and despite being healthy there is no compromise on flavour.