"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a dessert-addict in the possession of a new kitchen gadget, must be in want of a cake.”
– Jane Austen.
(Probably… If she cooked).
Unlike Miss Pride and Prejudice, I’m not a ‘gadget girl’.
For example, I have used the same type of pen since I was 15. It costs 15c, it writes in just one colour and its major design feature is its lid (as in, it has one).
So you might understand how giddy I am now that I have a new set of fancy-pants electronic kitchen scales! I’m like the proverbial kid in a candy store. And I’m weighing everything in sight. Everything.
Until recently, the most precise I have ever been with ingredient weights is to the nearest 100g. In the game of baking, the rules are harsh and unforgiving when broken. For this reason, I am more skilled in the art of ‘enjoying’ the baked goods, than ‘creating’ them.
I have a new toy. It’s white. It weighs things. And it fits in a very small bag (should you want to bake in transit). But most importantly, it helps to narrow my skill-gap between ‘enjoying’ and ‘creating’ a good cake. All I needed now was a recipe.
Introducing Jude Blereau. This smart cookie has managed to find the perfect sweet spot between food to feed the body, and food to feed the soul. Her book ‘Wholefood’ is not new by any means, but it easily sits in my ‘Top 5’ of all cookbooks.
Blereau is not afraid to promote full cream dairy, pad Thai and chicken fajitas in a wholesomely nutritious diet. For that, I tip my hat to her. Blereau’s recipes cover hearty porridges, sauces, vegie dishes, meat pies and cakes, which would have even the most health-skeptic non-believer reaching for seconds.
Blereau has taken the baton from health purists, and is driving nutrition-cuisine in a more exciting, honest, and accessible direction, celebrating ‘food that has the ability to heal, nourish and delight’. At the heart of all of her recipes, Blereau makes her point clear that the meals we create are only as good as the ingredients that go into them. Her passion for well-sourced, unprocessed and hand-crafted meals is genuinely contagious, encouraging anyone who steps into the kitchen to ‘care about what you eat: absolutely insist that it be delicious and true; and never, ever except anything less’.
A quick read through Blereau’s work, and everything you thought you knew (and hated) about ‘healthy’ food is forgotten, and replaced with a message that is far more important – when it comes to food, you get out what you put in.
Blereau’s sentiments are genuine and never preachy, and leave you with the feeling that just by reading the recipes, you are already one step closer to better food. Her photography is suitably stylish, yet scarce.
Today I tackled her banana cake. Not quite bread, not quite cake, this recipe is deceptively good for you. There is no added sugar, very little fat and is choc-a-block with fruit, nuts, wholemeal grain, yoghurt, and yum. It is both soft and dense and is best enjoyed by the slice with a bit of butter and a cup of tea.
You will love it: if you like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, have a predisposition for wholegrains, or can name more than 4 ‘superfoods’.
You might not love it: if you’re more of a ‘microwave dinner’ kind of person.
You must try: the Chicken Jambalaya
‘Wholefood’ by Jude Blereau is available in all good bookshops and online.