Heidi Swanson: Super Natural Every Day

I was given the opportunity to review a very special cookbook called Super Natural Every Day. The author of this book was awarded the 2007 James Beard Foundation Award and writes an award winning blog called 101 Cookbooks.Who is she?




I guess the blog title might have given it away. Yes it’s the one and only Heidi Swanson.  I thoroughly enjoyed scouring the recipes this book had to offer and I could not wait to share it with you. I was given the opportunity to ask Heidi a few questions about her latest book and about herself, which I will share with you later on. 




Super Natural Every Day is the sequel, so to speak, to Heidi’s first cook book, Super Natural Cooking. Her first cookbook was an introduction to whole food cooking, pantry basics and transition into the wholefoods lifestyle. It basically held the hand of the new whole food eater who had just discovered this way cooking. Heidi is ahead of her time with these cookbooks; her approach to cooking with whole, unprocessed, nutrient-rich foods is the basis of the clean eating approach that has taken off in recent months.

The Super Natural Every Day cookbook is slightly different to her first one. This book peeks into Heidi’s life and way of eating, which beign a vegetarian. As you read through the book it slowly unravels parts of Heidi’s everyday life such as her pantry staples, favourite kitchen tools and utensils, favourite shops and eateries. This book provides a wonderful platform for readers to start eating a more nutrient-rich diet with its approachable, easy to follow recipes. All the recipes are vegetarian, which I found delightfully refreshing for this long time meat eater.

The book is broken down into six easy to find chapters such as Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks, Dinner, Treats and Accompaniments.  In this book you will find recipes such as flaky Yoghurt Scones for breakfast or for a more savoury option try the Spinach Strata (recipe pictured). Lunch or dinner you could be devouring Chickpea Wraps, Wild Mushroom Tacos or a spicy Weeknight Curry featuring Tofu as the protein element. If snacking is your kryptonite, Heidi has given some wonderful suggestions to try such as savoury Popcorn, featuring flavours of mustard, thyme, chives and butter or Pita Crisps to stave off those potato chip cravings.


I challenged myself to making three recipes out of this book to see how easy they were to follow and how the recipes turned out. I ended up making a batch of Rye Soda Bread to eat alongside a steaming bowl of soup, a batch of Oatcakes and Spinach Strata (recipe pictured), which we enjoyed on a leisurely Saturday morning for brunch. I found the recipes very easy to follow, precise in their execution and the end result of each dish was praiseworthy – if I don’t say so myself. I found cooking from Super Natural Every Day a pleasurable experience.

There is no pomp and ceremony attached to this book, it is down to earth cooking which shows in the photographs that accompany each  recipe. The photography entices you in making you feel comfortable and at ease. No pretentions here. The restrained styling and simplicity of each picture gives you, the cook confidence that you will be able to create such a dish. I would highly recommend buying this book to add to your collection to help inspire you to cook and eat in a more natural, unprocessed and wholefood. 




Thank you to Heidi for finding the time to answer a few quick questions for our readers.

How would you describe your cooking style?

Seasonal, unfussy, flavour-forward, natural, a bit rustic, globally
inspired

What five ingredients always find their way into your shopping basket?

Eggs, seasonal produce, almond butter, chocolate, good coffee or tea

Do you have a favourite season, Why?

I have things I love about each of them. Seasons in San Francisco tend
to be a bit mushy though - it tends to be foggy and cold in summer,
and clear and bright in winter. But at the market I look forward to
each season's distinct offerings: winter citrus, springtime favas,
that sort of thing.

Best recipe/s to cook from Super Natural Every day?

Depending on what you're in the mood for: Black Sesame Otsu, Broccoli
Gribiche, Tutti-Frutti Crumble, and Yogurt Biscuits. To be honest, I was
really strict about which recipes I included here. If I didn't love
them, I didn't include them.

 How would you encourage someone to start eating whole & natural foods?

I think you need to work both sides of the coin: avoid processed
foods, and (at the same time) seek out whole, unprocessed ingredients.
Maybe it's just me, but I like to go to the market / farmers market
and seek out one new ingredient each time. Do a bit of research on it
when you get home, and try it in a new recipe or two. It's a good way
to introduce new ingredients gradually, and expand your cooking
palette at the same time. For example, if you (or your family) loves
white pasta, pick up a pack of soba noodles.  Or if you like risotto,
try making it with barley, or a quinoa version.

What do you cook when the fridge is practically empty and
inspiration is zero? No takeout allowed.


A quick Miso or noodle soup with whatever vegetables/noodles I have on
hand.
 

Top five food photography tips?

Keep an inspiration board of images that resonate with you (food and
otherwise). Get to know your camera inside and out. Try to develop
your own visual voice / point of view. Shoot in light that you think
is nice or interesting - that might mean natural daylight, or
nightclub dark (using a flash). Carry your camera with you as much as
possible. I don't use many food styling tricks, I just shoot the food
as I make it, as it is.


http://www.heidiswanson.com
http://www.101cookbooks.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/heidiswanson/
http://pinterest.com/heidiswanson/




Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book by Hardie Grant Publishers to keep and review. I was not paid to write this post and all opinions expressed here are my own.

The recipe pictured was cooked from Super Natural Every Day, styled and photographed  by myself .


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