I have to admit I was skeptical.
The reviews of Gwyneth’s first book were…well, not great. Her recipes that claimed to be easy, were NOT…and I think she had unrealistic expectations of what normal people have in their kitchens.
THIS book, however, promised easy recipes that can be made quickly. So I figured I would give it a go. I mean, why not? In my day to day life, I try not to judge people, so I put all my criticisms aside and picked a couple of recipes to guinea pig on some friends (because why try out new things alone? I wanted real and honest opinions!).
I picked her falafel recipe. Looked healthy and fairly easy as everything goes into a food processor. Plus they’re baked. So you can bake a LOT of them all at one time. I’m a big fan of batch cooking, or cooking for a crowd so this was a plus for me.
Chick peas, cilantro, cumin, the usual stuff…and greek yogurt. Now I’m going to tell you…this was a wet dough. Even making the falafel into bals was difficult and you had to wet your hands so it didn’t stick, making the dough even…wetter.
The instructions said to flip the falafels halfway through baking in the oven. That was not happening. These little balls were pretty stuck to the parchment paper and if I did flip them, it would be a mess. Outlook: Not good.
But a funny thing happened. Once the baking time was over and I let them cool for a few minutes, they firmed up! I still had to be gentle with them but I could pick them up and put them in a bowl. Amazing!
If you’re a fan of falafel (and why wouldn’t you be-they’re awesome), I have to say-these are actually really delicious! I had some friends that were pleasantly surprised, and others that ate seconds and thirds.
Well done, Gwyneth, well done. I will totally be making these again.
What else did I try?
This one was easy because it’s summer and I had an abundance of corn. She has a recipe in her book for “Corn with lime butter”…it was a no-brainer. Plus it was the page opposite the falafel, so I felt like it was meant to be.
It tastes exactly as you would assume. Like butter with lime zest in it…and a little chili powder for some kick. But nothing special. I wouldn’t switch my regular plain ol’ butter for this one. If you’re looking to switch up your corn toppings, I would go for this chipotle maple one instead.
So, one win, one ehhhhhhhh….not great. But there are a bunch of recipes in this book that I really do want to try…and others that are not so exciting (Hello avocado toast? Been there, done that).
Ultimately, if you want some recipes that are easy to prepare, with some delicious flavours, this book isn’t bad! The pictures are beautiful and it’s a great book to have for dinner inspiration. Some of the ingredients are not found in the day-to-day kitchen but if you’re looking to expand your pantry, this book could take you there. Although it also might take all the money out of your wallet.
I don’t know if it’s ALL easy Gwyneth, but I would say this cookbook is a great follow-up to her first, with some ideas that us “regular folk” can make…maybe alongside the Hollywood crowd.