At the recent BritMumsLive event in Central London I had the chance to hear Ella Woodward speak about her journey from Haribo junkie to Queen of Kale. A diagnosis of POTS in her early twenties, there is no doubt that she suffered a blow, but her journey since then has been one that most people my age could only dream of. What will one do in their thirties if one has already written the fastest selling cookbook of all time in their twenties?
As I cruise swiftly towards my forties, leaving behind a decade filled with changing nappies, sleepless nights and living off leftover kids’ food, my attention has shifted towards my appalling diet, and the chance to make changes that will allow me to enjoy the grandchildren I one day hope to have. So the opportunity to review Deliciously Ella, the aforementioned cook book, and to find my inner Deliciously Ella, was one I jumped at.
I have plenty of friends who are gluten intolerant, or Paleo, or who only eat natural sugars, so the book was not beyond the realms of my experience or comfort. Happily I owned a few of the devices recommended by Ella for achieving her recipes, and I was particulalry taken by the news that her recipes were quick to make and easy too. Both essential descriptive terms in my house.
Alas I got off to a rocky start. Despite following instructions my recipes bore little resemblence to the images in the book. They lacked the texture described. The jam was too runny and the almond butter too thick, the baked beans were plain awful according to DH. Everything I made was just a little too far from the mark to make me confidence, and as BritMumsLive approached I panicked that I would have nothing good to say to the personage in person when I met her.
Then everything changed. I took the time to make Cashew Cream (nuts need soaking for eight hours) for the Mexican Bowl. And I had my first success. I ate two bowls. Then two more for lunch the next day. I was off the mark, full of flavour and I knew that it was just a skip and jump until I was choosing kale over chocolate and learning to embrace Quinoa.
I have deduced that perhaps I started with the wrong recipes or the wrong approach. When I asked her, Ella said that jumping in with both feet would end in disappointment. Rather I should aim to bring the veg to the centre of the plate- focus the flavour and interest on them, with meat or other protein as a side. Switch the thinking. And she’s right. Which might explain why her second cook book is due out next year. When I turn 40.