The Philadelphia Cookbook by Philadelphia UK

I was searching through our bookshelves while writing the bookcase tour post and I stumbled across this Philedelphia book which I realised I haven’t yet reviewed. I love cooking and having my own kitchen has made that so much easier. I’ve made a dozen of the recipes from this book many times, especially when I’ve had to make dinner for lots of people on a tight budget, so I thought I would share my favourites with you.

Everyone adores cool, creamy Philadelphia, and it’s not just for spreading in a bagel – it’s an incredibly versatile cooking ingredient. Here for the first time are 110 fabulous recipes from the Philly team, from Party bites, Breads and bagels, Soups and light lunches, to Salads, Pasta, Fish and seafood dishes, Chicken, Rice and Risotto, and of course lots of Sweet treats and Divine cheesecakes.

fullsizerender-39Every single recipe has a handy Top Tip, and there are easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for Philly novices and cooking experts alike. Packed with beautiful colour photography throughout, The Philadelphia Cookbook makes an invaluable addition to any kitchen.

I guess the main thing I’ve got to get across, probably like in every cookery book review is that this shouldn’t be another cookery book that just sits on your shelf. Since I got my tiny mitts on this book every time I’m lacking some inspiration it’s one of the first ones that I pick up. The book is split up into lots of sections including, soups, light lunches, breads & bagels, dinners, (including pasta, fish, rice, chicken and vegetables,) sweet treats and a separate section for cheesecakes if you’re into that thing.

So, how is it to use? The book is really easy to use and there are never too many ingredients. I always find that some cookery books have incredible looking dishes but they just have too many things going on. The most ingredient heavy recipe is the butternut, cauliflower and chickpea curry (which is delicious) and even that once you’ve bought the vegetables has mainly things you’ll find in your cupboard (such as chopped tomatoes, stock, olive oil etc.) The top tips are actually really good – some are a little obvious but it does explain some cooking styles (like sweating) or how to change up the dish for different tastes and the photographs are brilliant.

I think the book is really versatile – when I bought this I was a little suspicious about the bagels breads and the cheesecakes, there are the usual suspects (the classic smoked salmon bagel,) but other interesting combinations like roast vegetable and roast pumpkin bruschettas and also some fruit bagels (which don’t taste as odd as they sound,) are also included.

My favourites from the book include the thai green curry which has only a handful of ingredients fullsizerender-41and can be whipped up in only 15 minutes. The creamy mushroom risotto is also a goodun and although takes a bit of cooking tastes incredible and the baked sweet potatoes which are super healthy and also delicious. All have only a few number of ingredients and taste like they’re kinda difficult (but they’re super easy.) The desserts are also extensive and go beyond the sterotypical vanilla cheesecake including summer berry charlotte, a carrot cake and even a tiramisu.

I have to make a quick aside and mention that each of the recipes has a calorie and macro count. I realise for a lot of people that this probably isn’t important but, for me, and for anyone that is trying to keep an eye on their weight it is SUPER HELPFUL. Additionally, cream cheese tends to be pretty bad for you, but I find that a lot of the recipes, especially the soups are really reasonable.

So would I recommend this? Hella yes I would – although I guess if you don’t really like cream cheese it might not be for you? But if it is, then definitely invest in this book. I’m off to make a massive batch of creamy bean soup, I don’t know about you but that sounds amazing.

Linnnnnks

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Bon Bons to Yoga Pants by Katie Cross

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Helllllo readers, today’s review is really special because it comes from an author who sits very close to my heart. A lovely lady I have known since I first started blogging and when she asked if I would read this book, not a fantasy tale I jumped at the chance. It’s always really lovely to be asked to continue reviewing books for an author especially with such a jump in terms of genre. A lovely little review and a book you should go and get hold of a copy now. (yes, now)

Lexie Greene has always had such a pretty face.

Unfortunately, that’s where it seemed to stop. She’s grown up hearing her Mother constantly remind her that she needs to lose weight. And twenty-two-year-old Lexie knows she’s overweight.

With her younger sister’s wedding on the horizon and a crush to stalk on Facebook, Lexie’s had enough. She gives up her constant daydreams about food and joins a dieting group. As the pounds melt away at the gym, she finds that life on the other side of junk food isn’t what she thought.

Bon Bons to Yoga Pants is an inspirational hit about a girl coming to terms with herself, and her past, all while navigating a world of food and fitness.

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As the blurb suggests the book follows the utterly darling Lexie and her struggle with mother and sister over her weight. She knows they’re right she just doesn’t want to combat it, just yet. With a wedding coming up and the potential dating game about to step up a mark Lexie wants to shift those pounds. Joining a diet group and trying to stop herself dreaming of doughnuts we read along as Lexie struggles to come to terms with her eating, her family, her feelings of loss from the death of her father and her want to please Bradley it’s going to be a hard pill to swallow.

Gah, so many things in this book resonated with me. I’ve always been a little on the chubby side, dieting a little and then falling off the dieting wagon and I also have struggled with my family and their ‘fatist’ way. My Grandmother, whilst on the day of my graduation, stated ‘I don’t think you’ve put on a little bit of weight, I think you’ve put rather a lot of weight on,’ whilst passing me a mack-off chocolate cake. Soul destroying but I get it. I found Lexie utterly wonderful, she knows she a bit on the big side and it’s eating away at her confidence and her family aren’t helping in the slightest.

In terms of characters each are really well developed; Lexie is determined and strong willed but she’s also emotional, struggling with her identity and her grief. Rachelle is a confident best-friend and I thought her and Lexie contrasted wonderfully although I would have liked to have seen more of her. Supporting characters Mira, Pat and Bitsy are all really well developed to give the story more weight and Bradley sounds like the perfect mix between American lad and English gentleman. Gah dreamboat.

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The writing is strong and well-written as with everything I’ve read from Katie. There is enough description, dialogue and also character build up throughout out. I liked the interweaving of the stories although it would have been nice to see more into the lives of Rachelle and Lexie’s sister McKenzie. I know that this is a novella but I really wanted to see more into their stories. I thought the book as a whole was very good at helping quash the demons that sometimes tell us we’re not good enough. It feel very heart-warming but also self-loving which I thought was a lovely touch and ‘effing swan addition/movement and links were a brilliant thing to include.

My only wobble was I thought there could have been more struggles between Lexie and Bradley and their relationship and her striving to lose the weight. It did feel as though the stories was partly disconnected and could have been linked. At the start it really was linked to the worries Lexie hadabout meeting him but as the story continues for me it was a little too sweet?

Overall a lovely little tale to while away the afternoon; I thought the romance was a little sugary sweet but that’s just me and I often have these wobbles with more romance books but the characters are strong, Lexie was just brilliant and I want to read more from Miss Cross in this genre. Yes please very much.

Linnnnnks

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