Lighten Up – Light, fresh, modern, healthy food is what the book says. You’ll therefore be expecting food that will probably leave you feeling faint in an hour and a half, will cost an arm and a leg from a trendy market specialising in sprouty things, and healthy might mean something beige and full of fibre. Trust me, this is lovely food that just happens to do you good.
Jill Dupleix is a tall, attractive Australian who has oft graced our TV screens on such shows as Good Food Live. She was The Times Cook for six years and writes for Sunday Times Style and Delicious magazine. She has won the Miriam Polunin award for Work on Healthy Eating from the Guild of Food Writers in 2008.
Lighten Up is a glossy, full-colour, striking volume with some of the best food photography around, by Petrina Tinslay. The text is large and bold which gives an overall impression of gutsy style. The recipes are clear and easy to follow and you will, dear reader, want to follow these recipes.
This book isn’t just a cookbook. It’s about life style and encouraging some of us to make subtle and painless changes. Jill doesn’t preach nor does she take the moral high ground. She has firsthand experience of eating and drinking, and of both those things getting out of hand. Lighten Up offers support for people who live in the real world with all its constraints of time and money.
The food is gorgeous. Jill starts with breakfast and you won’t feel short-changed. Crunchy Granola is a winner and it’s made in advance so there is no excuse for skipping the most important meal of the day. Breakfast Burrito is a special treat for the weekend or guests. It has smoked salmon and avocado for the topping so this will keep you going till lunch… or have this for brunch.
There are plenty of warming soups and lots of salads for when the snow stops, and there is a chapter of Spicy Food. Singapore Chilli Prawns are delicious and a fresh take on Singapore’s national dish of Chilli Crab. This is a bit more affordable and less terrifying for the novice cook. Chicken Satay is another spicy and traditional temptation and it couldn’t be easier.
There are lots of fruity, sweet things to delight the dessert lover. Persian Rice Pud, Red Wine and Berry Soup, and my favourite Very Berry Puds. Don’t think you will have a feeling of hollow self-sacrifice after one of these.
Lighten Up is for all of us who are reluctant to break bad eating habits. This isn’t about being cruel to be kind, it’s about food that will naturally do you good… and about making better choices. Your body will thank both you and Jill. Great value for money.
Author: Jill Dupleix
Published: Quadrille Publishing
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018