Banana, Blueberry and Pecan Pancakes; Dosa-Spiced Potato Cakes with Quick Cucumber Pickle, Coriander and Orange-Scented Buckwheat; Strawberry Poppy Seed Crisp – the tempting list of recipes in Anna Jones’s A Modern Way to Eat is plentiful.
Schooled by Jamie Oliver earlier in her career, there is a clarity and simplicity to Jones’s recipes, reminiscent of the Naked Chef’s output. All of the more than 200 recipes in this hardcover book seem achievable and undaunting, but are still inspirational and fresh.
My favourite part of this cookbook is that it doesn’t just present the reader with finite, inflexible recipes; it aims to teach people the hows and whys of cooking well. Peppered throughout the book are double pages dedicated to the innumerable possibilities of creating a dish. For example, one soup: 1000 variations. Jones shows you how to go from a base layer, through to choosing herbs, the featured veggies, the back-up flavours and finishing touches. For some, this may be comfortable territory – for others, it will make spending time in the kitchen so much more appealing.
The first recipe we tried from the book was Proper Chilli. I wasn’t expecting to be blown away; it had lentils, beans, veggies – I mean, a chilli’s a chilli, right? But the result was fantastic. The depth of flavour and the texture made it tempting to go back for seconds and thirds. I don’t want to say it was life-changing, but I don’t think I’ll be cooking any other chilli recipes than this one anytime soon.
Twice since getting this cookbook we’ve made the Pan-Dressed Noodles with Crunchy Cabbage and Crispy Tofu. This is a quick midweek dinner with soba noodles – the fast pickled cabbage is a new favourite. We’ve also tried the Dosa-Spiced Potato Cakes with Quick Cucumber Pickle, which were so easy to prepare leading to a very beautiful, tasty meal (see our Instagram snap at right).
Vegans will be happy with the recipes, too, with nearly half of them being suitable for a vegan diet, and plenty of gluten-free options, too. Although Jones is clear about her interest in healthy food, the food belies any health-conscious motivations; it’s stunning, indulgent and incidentally healthy.
We look forward to reading her newest cookbook, A Modern Way to Cook.