Well I decided that if I was going to try a gluten and dairy free diet (background here) then I’d need a few books because I have one gluten free cookbook in my little library of cookbooks. And that is my thermomix one and there aren’t many pretty pictures. And I love pretty pictures and baking and cookbooks. So it was time to order a few. First one that arrived in my mailbox and first cab off the rank to be reviewed is The Spunky Coconut Cookbook – 2nd edition. I decided that a mother of young girls would have family friendly recipes and that is what my cooking is all about. Oh and she also has a blog, The Spunky Coconut.
Now the book is very easy to read, there is some great information on lunchboxes, making your own almond milk, what you need in your kitchen and some basic ingredients. Now will just let you know that the recipes tend to use vanilla stevia liquid instead of sugar in most of the baking. I’ve never heard of this but am sure I will substitute with something else and I like to improvise anyway so that doesn’t bother me. If you’re a stickler for following a recipe to a tee then you might like to use a stevia liquid or something like that.
There are some great recipes that I really want to try and the food is really what kids like to eat so homemade tortillas, chicken meatballs, lasagne (there is a mock ricotta lasagne as well as a butternut squash lasagne which I’ll definitely have to try), baked stuffing recipe (think thanksgiving) and good old mac n cheese to keep the kids happy. And for the adults some delicious salad dressings, soups and more meat dishes. But the book really shines in the baking department.
If you’re new to gluten and dairy free (hello, me!) then some of the ingredients might really be a bit new to you – coconut oil, coconut flour, stevia, dairy free choc chips- but the majority of ingredients are things that you will have. And by the way retro daddy picked up coconut oil and flour from our local supermarket and the dairy free choc chips are by Sweet William (thanks to my lovely facebook readers who helped me out with my chocolate dilemma) and also found at the supermarket in the health aisle but were hiding on the bottom shelf.
Ok so the baking – well how about brownies, blondies, custard pie, lots of cookies recipes including my favourite – jam drops! There is pecan pie, chocolate pie, key lime pie, strawberry cheesecake and more. The baking section really is fabulous and a great way to approach baking without wheat, dairy and sugar.
Now it wouldn’t be a review if I didn’t make a recipe so while the little ones were playing after shower time I quickly made the blondies. I substituted the honey for maple syrup which I had, left out the stevia which I did not have and made the blondies in a loaf tin because the mixture wasn’t big enough for my square tin. The recipe also called for almond butter but I have a thermomix which quickly turned some raw almonds into a lovely almond butter in no time. And I used sweet william choc chips which are gluten, dairy and sugar free. They kind of melted when the brownie baked but not that anyone minded in my house.
And???? A winner! This was really good. I tested it out on our helper for the night who loved it and retro daddy thought it was great too. Nothing came back on the plate from the kids and excuse the late night photo. Retro daddy demolished most of it and it’s actually quite dense and filling. Not too sweet and might take some time for some people to adjust to the no sugar but it was a delicious dessert.
So all in all I really like this book and think it’s great if you are after traditional family recipes that are converted to gluten and dairy free (oh and sugar free). These are the things that kids like to eat and they are aren’t too fussy. Be prepared to shop for some new ingredients but I think if you’re on a different diet or trying something new then that is expected.
And just a little note that the introduction does talk about not vaccinating your children. This did throw me a bit as it was first page of the introduction and not what I expect in a cookbook. I hadn’t read Kelly’s blog or facebook page but have since learnt more about her family. This is a hot topic that everyone has an opinion on. But I just wanted to let you know because if you do buy the book then I didn’t want you coming back to tell me that I didn’t mention it. So there. Mentioned it.