Book Review: Family Food by Pete Evans

It seems I have got into a bad habit of requesting cook books as part of my gift list for birthdays and Christmas. I don't seem to buy them for myself that often and when the time comes around for me to give present ideas to family I can only ever come up with the million cookbooks that I want. I guess it's not such a bad thing as I don't have to feel guilty increasing the number of cookbooks in my bookcase. However one of the things I want to do this year is to cook from all the books I have sitting on my shelf. You look at them once or twice and then they get filed away and forgotten about. So I have started writing recipes down into my monthly meal plans to start making use of all the wonderful recipes hidden in each of these cookbooks.

The newest addition to my shelf this year is the latest cookbook by My Kitchen Rules judge - Pete Evans called Family Food - 130 delicious paleo recipes for everyday. Family Food is the follow up cook book to his ever popular Healthy Everyday cookbook which like this book features paleo inspired recipes. Both books have reached the number one spot in Australia upon there release. Pete is leading the paleo movement here in Australia and with his new Paleo Way tv series he is bringing the movement into the mainstream arena. What is paleo you may ask? If you have been hiding under a rock this past year here is a basic overview of what being paleo means. Paleo in a nutshell to me is about stripping back what you're eating to unprocessed, whole foods free of dairy, gluten, legumes, sugar and starches. They call it the caveman diet or primal eating basically like our ancestors did back in the day. I am not here to debate the pros and cons of eating this way however this cookbook fit my need for dairy free recipes due to my dairy intolerance the fact that it is gluten and sugar free as well is a bonus.

I was a little skeptical when putting this book on my to buy list as I wasn't sure if the recipes would be practical and suitable for a mum who is currently time poor when it comes to cooking dinner. Hello cranky baby hour. When I read his first cook book Healthy Everyday I found it to be a bit fussy and very cheffy (if that's a word) and knew it wasn't a book I would use a lot. I was pleasantly surprised upon flicking through my new gift at how many recipes in Family Food were practical and reasonably easy to make.

The book is sectioned in chapters of Breakfast, Baby & Toddler Food, Kid's Lunches, Main Meals, Sides, Snack, Sweets, Drinks and Christmas.  Each recipe is accompanied with a delightful photo of the recipe (I love my food photography) with a short blurb at the top from Pete talking about the recipe. The recipes are well written and easy to follow with hints and tips added in along the way. I found Pete aimed for stripping back old family favourites and giving them a paleo spin. So there isn't scary and strange recipes in here that you just would not cook. Some examples are his creamy and grain free Chia Porridge instead of oat porridge, Seed and Nut Bread in place of wheat filled bread, Almond Meal and Coconut Crusted Chicken Nuggets, Margherita Pizza with a grain free base and grain free Party Pies just to name a few. There is also basic recipes in here for chicken and beef stock, different types of fermented vegetables, basic sides such as celeriac fries, pumpkin mash and cauliflower rice.

Recipes that I cooked out of the book and found to be tasty was the Meatloaf, Nasi Goreng, Bubble & Squeak Frittata, Vegetable Fritters with Green Goddess Dressing and Lamb Korma. Yum. Hubby gave the food and the book the thumbs up too. The two year old was hard to please but he is currently on a food strike and will only eat honey sandwiches so his opinion doesn't count at the moment.

 If you are trying to stick to a strict food budget I do see some of the recipes in this book to be slightly expensive as they use a lot of eggs, almond meal, nuts, coconut oil, almond butter and coconut flour which on the scale of grocery items can be more on the expensive side. I tried to juggle the cheaper recipes into our menu plan and left the more involved and expensive ingredient recipes for special occasions. There is one recipe in the book for Egg Bread which uses 15 eggs!!! Thankfully we have our own chooks but it's not a recipe I would be making often.

Overall I would heartily recommend this book for  families who are dipping there toes into the paleo lifestyle, need a book for specific allergy requirements or just want to eat more healthy. I don't think you need to be a health nut to add this book to your collection but if you are mindfully wanting to change your diet to healthier options then I think this book would be really helpful. It is a fantastic book for dinner inspiration, snacks and breakfast ideas which is totally realistic for the everyday cook. Just invest in a pair of chooks if you want to make Egg Bread! :-)



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