A Year In My Real Food Kitchen by Emma Galloway
Review by Kylie Thompson
Rating: 4 stars
In a world where the foods we want are readily available year round, it’s hard to remember that the fruit and vegetables we eat are actually seasonal. Though they can be purchased through the year, oftentimes those year-round staples have been imported, their freshness questionable.
Eating seasonally sounds like an odd choice when you can get the foods you want whenever you want them, but at its heart the idea is focused on eating the freshest and best tasting foods, rather than overpaying for foodstuffs far older than we’d like to believe.
Surprisingly, it’s less about denying yourself foods than it is about taking the chance to savour the flavours of the foods we often take for granted.
If you’re a fan of food blogs, you’ll probably know the name ‘My Darling Lemon Thyme’, the award winning blog by Emma Galloway. Galloway has won a legion of fans with her simple, powerful ideology: fresh is best, and flavour is king. Rather than making do with sub-par ingredients, Galloway focuses on what foods are easiest to find, and at their best, at each season, and plans her meals accordingly. If you’re a fan of Galloway’s fresh, flavourful cooking style, you’ll love her book, ‘A Year In My Real Food Kitchen’.
This isn’t your typical cookbook, where the recipes are grouped by main ingredient or the mealtime they’re best suited to. Instead, it’s a seasonal exploration of what’s best at any time of year. For cooks not used to working with seasonal fare, it’s an easy to use format letting you flick through to the relevant season and explore the range of options available.
In ‘A Year In My Real Food Kitchen’, Galloway has created a feast of gluten free, vegetarian delights to make ‘meatless Monday’ a lot easier to attempt. For those with visions of wilted lettuce and more quinoa than they can tolerate, there’s good news. This isn’t just a bunch of dull salads, nor an ode to the ancient grains. Instead, Galloway has done everything possible to show that ‘vegetarian’ and ‘gluten free’ don’t have to be code for boring dross that tastes like cardboard.
It can be a hard sell to convince carnivores to forego the meat, or a gluten fan to try going without for a meal. There’s an automatic sense of worry for these kinds of recipes, an assumption that they’re a fast track to disappointment and a trip to the nearest drive-through. And yet, these are the sort of recipes that even the biggest carnivore can’t help but be tempted by- foods rich in flavour that don’t take an age to prepare. Even without the stunning photography and styling, these are the sort of recipes that are sure to be hits with the family.
‘A Year In My Real Food Kitchen’ isn’t about five minute wonder meals, but neither is it a confusing series of intricate recipes better suited to a Masterchef™ Pressure Test. Instead, Galloway has compiled recipes that are simple to intermediate, perfect for anyone who enjoys spending time in the kitchen learning new techniques, or perfecting their craft. The steps are simple to follow, and easy enough to achieve without a lot of fuss or prior training.
Galloway’s focus on gluten free cooking was honed by the realisation her children were gluten intolerant, which is useful to know if your own kids have issues with gluten: these recipes have actually passed the finicky eater test. Given how hard it can be to find truly gluten free options, ‘A Year In My Real Food Kitchen’ looks set to be a much-loved addition to the cookbook collection for quite a few families.There are savoury options, but for those with a sweet tooth in the family, Galloway has made sure to include some indulgent looking treats. Healthy eating, thankfully, doesn’t mean giving up all the chocolate.
If the idea of sneaking additional healthy stuff into your baking sits poorly, then it might not be your dream cookbook. But if you’re willing to give a chance to some new recipe interpretations, you’re probably going to love Galloway’s efforts.
‘A Year In My Real Food Kitchen’ is published by Harper Collins, and is available through the publisher’s website, and at leading bookstores nationwide.