For this day I have been waiting months. It almost felt like it was one of my friends (and not one of my role models) has published a book. What kind of book you may ask? A book that has the potential to transform lives through changing eating habits, inspiring to live a healthier, more active life, and giving a perspective on living differently. A vegan cookbook.
About the author:
I found Niomi through the YouTube platform about three years ago, but it was only in the last two years that I took real interest and became a true follower. There is something different about Niomi. To me, Niomi became my role model not only because of her great and light-hearted personality, but also her values and strength she portrays. Positivity and a great attitude to life is what I truly admire in people. There is something comforting about her videos, something true that I can’t necessarily point my finger on. It’s the feeling of being home (as cheesy as it sounds). It’s the comfort of not being judged by your life choices (e.g. the way we eat) but instead being slowly guided towards a life that is fulfilling and true to yourself.
On a side note, Niomi is also a law graduate and we both share the same birthday (!).
I now realise that cooking is not a waste of time at all. In fact, creating a meal from scratch using fresh and wholesome ingredients couldn’t be more rewarding.
As I have waited for this book with such anticipation, it was inevitable I was going to create expectations in regards to the content. But has it met or exceeded my expectations? First of all let’s state what they were.
Clear, colourful photography
This aspect of the book was crucial to me as I love all things visually appealing. What I was surprised by was the quality of the pages. I was expecting a glossy finish on them as a cookbook is used in the kitchen where spills are inevitable, however this was not the case. A little detail to me, and probably not a very important one, but it is something worth noting. The photography includes images of most recipes as well as shots of Niomi – whether it is shopping in a street market, writing lists, cooking or simply looking beautiful. It’s a great way to make the book feel more personal.
Recipes involving easy ingredients
If I am not mistaken, Niomi claimed her cookbook is different as it involves recipes which 1. are easy to make and 2. include ingredients all of us should know or have in the cupboard. The two recipes I have made so far were easy to to follow, however for a start I have chosen meals which didn’t include those.
By complicated I mean baobab, nutritional yeast etc. For the most part, the majority of ingredients are fruits and vegetables, with only some of them being super foods that tend to be less accessible in grocery stores.
You can go from having a shopping bag of vegetables to a mouth-watering meal that you have just created on your own in a matter of minutes.
To be completely honest, I haven’t reached out for many cookbooks in my life, and those that I had my hands on differed in structure. I was not expecting more than a quick, thank-you introduction and the recipes with relevant photography. To my surprise there are really interesting sections including very extensive introduction. Amongst others, Eat Smart includes the following sections:
- The plant-based lifestyle
- My inspiration
- Changing the way you eat
- Food cupboard staples
- Fresh staples
- Core equipment
- Sides + Snacks
The recipes are nicely categorized into sections, making it easy to choose something quickly without wasting your time. There is also a good mixture of savoury and sweet breakfasts, fulfilling your needs no matter of what you feel like that particular day!
The recipes are easy to read and instructions are numbered. As the meals are categorized into six core sections, the process of choosing what you’d like to prepare is faster rather than if those were not categorized.
The page format and size of the book itself is great. Not practical to carry in your handbag (if you’re like me, just in case you have a few minutes to spare) but a great size that allows for easy identification of the recipes and no flicking through to the next page while cooking as everything fits.
The measurements of the ingredients are usually measure of handfuls, teaspoons, cups etc which makes it amazingly easy to work with – and also personally encourages me to attempt the recipes.
All recipes include a nice headnote, which gives readers an idea of why this particular meal is included in the book. Niomi has used this section cleverly, a lot of times relating to herself when describing each recipe e.g. “When I was in Mauritius…”
The pages are not glossy! I realise this is me being particularly picky, but I have also struggled in pointing out the weaknesses of the book.
Some of the ingredients can be quite pricey and not up to everybody’s liking. These include the exotic super-foods such as chia seeds, baobab powder, maca powder and so on. Nonetheless, we should invest in our health, right?
All of the recipes include a measure of how many people each recipe serves, however I was disappointed when none of them indicate the amount of time the preparation will take. We all know how our schedules can be so tight!
This is in no way a diet, this is a lifestyle. It’s about respecting your body, listening to what it needs, because it will tell you.
Recipes I’ve tried:
I didn’t want to start off too ambitious, and therefore started off with trying two of the desserts. They were relatively easy to follow, didn’t involve any complicated or expensive ingredients and there was not a lot of room to mess anything up. I consider my energy balls a 95% success as instead of a teaspoon, I have added a TABLESPOON of vanilla extract. Could there be an improvement in the way the book is edited to prevent such mistakes? Maybe. Or maybe it only takes Karolina to pay more attention!
I have also made a Blueberry + Coconut flapjack, which was a complete success, wasn’t too sweet and was very quick to make!
Apron and bowl: Cath Kidston.
Eat Smart is now available to buy in WHSmith, Waterstones, ASDA, Amazon and major supermarkets and is already a Sunday Times Bestseller. Currently half price (£10!) so get your hands on it ASAP!
To end this book review, I would just like to note how much Niomi inspires me and brightens up my Sunday evenings on her YouTube channel. I’m feeling really grateful for getting to know her more and more online and seeing the success she works hard for.