I’ve been waiting awhile to write a post — Instagram is great but it’s not for writers. Since deciding to move my small blog from Tumblr to WordPress I’ve been waiting for a moment to write something that felt important to me. Well, something exciting is happening – Emma Galloway’s My Darling Lemon Thyme cookbook is having its North American release today! I’m not a blogger by any means but I really have so much to say about this book that I thought it best to write a review for it. I think the first thing that struck me about her book was the lack of labels – vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian — just real food. This lack of labelling, I think, helps people to just see the delicious recipes between the pages without getting hung up on what diet you need to have. The recipes are adaptable and forgiving. If you want to make your own tomato sauce there’s a recipe for that but if you use store-bought that’s fine too.
I think one of the things I appreciated most about her cookbook were the personal stories about each recipe. I thought of Emma’s dad creating muesli in his kitchen, as I stood in my kitchen making her Tahini, Orange, + Coconut Toasted Muesli – I too waited until the evening when it was quiet and the baby was in bed. She so lovingly imparts her kitchen knowledge – I find that her cookbook never leaves the kitchen counter because I’m always referencing (great section on stocking a pantry) or cooking from it. I live in a big-ish city (in Atlantic Canada) and I’ve had no problems finding ingredients (here’s a hint: check out places like Marshall’s or HomeSense for things like quinoa flakes, chia, dried fruits, gluten-free flours, etc. Not an endorsement, just a helpful tip.)
For anyone who follows Emma’s blog or Instagram, you may be struck by her humble and genuine approach to life and cooking. I really appreciate her ability to connect with her readers – the first time I posted a photo of a dish I prepared from her cookbook I was surprised when she took the time to like and comment on the photo. Since that first Instagram photo, I’ve posted an additional photos of recipes I’ve prepared from her cookbook (check out #mydarlinglemonthymese if you’re curious about what I’ve made so far. I created the hashtag so that people could see what types of recipes could be made from her cookbook. Some of my most popular Instagram photos have been of her recipes – take the Quinoa-Lemon Anzac Biscuits or the Chai Cheesecake w/ Earl Grey Fig Sauce for instance).
Some recipes I’ve made several times, such as her Tomato + Basil Sauce – it may seem like a given to some but I’d never made (or thought about making) my own tomato sauce. It always seemed just as easy to buy a jar at the grocery store. I’ll let you in on a secret: even making such a simple recipe left me feeling so empowered (as an aside I recently saw a Ted Talk given by Sarah Britton where she speaks to this feeling of empowerment when embarking on a journey to better health). I think there are these moments when I feel so in control of my own health and nutrition, and finding great recipes and cooking techniques surely helps this.
Before writing this review I started to think about which recipes are my favourites but it’s almost impossible to choose. Even looking at the photo of the Honey Mustard Miso Dressing leaves my mouth watering. I mean, it’s miso! What can I say? I’m addicted. One family fav is the Lentil Spaghetti – on nights when we’re running to swimming lessons or just plain beat, I love to pull some of the Tomato + Basil Sauce from the freezer and make this dish. It’s ultimate in comfort food – filling and so delicious.
Some of her recipes seem challenging – take the recipe for Savoury Pastry. Pastry seems like something serious, trained bakers make. I was overjoyed when I made it and used it for the Harissa Pumpkin +Feta Tart and it turned out (albeit a little “rustic”). Harissa was new to me, I wasn’t worried though! There’s a recipe for Harissa Sauce too.
I think to celebrate the cookbook’s release we’ll have some Quinoa Crepes – these have a wonderfully nutty flavor and are perfect any time of day. Sometimes I’ll top them with the Orange Maple Sauce (also from the book) or just with some fresh fruit. Such a wonderful cookbook — excellent job Emma!