Appetite for Reduction

This weekend I decided to test drive Isa’s Appetite for Reduction which was brand spanking new on my book shelf. The title of this book alone deserves points for awesomeness; Appetite for Reduction is possibly the most wicked-cool title for a weight loss cookbook ever.

Yep, it is a weight loss cookbook.

Now, normally I would not even consider buying a cookbook that focuses on weight loss. I prefer to rebel against the concept of ‘weight loss’ cookbooks. Just as I prefer to rebel against the repugnant ideal that society holds up to woman about what they should look like and how they should relate to food.

However, Appetite for Reduction won me over in two respects and that is why it sits on my book shelf. First of all, Isa sticks up for the everyday girl against the nausea inducing mass produced (and sadly mass consumed) stupidity that gets fed to women by society about their bodies and their weight. Secondly, it’s Isa and her recipes are just brilliant. Even my traditional ‘Kiwi bloke’ Dad enjoys her recipes. Her success is an impressive feat, given that the traditional Kiwi bloke’s idea of a meal centres around meat and dairy with maybe a bit of veg on the side. The recipes in Appetite for Reduction are just as mouth-watering as those in her other books and there are plenty of comfort food dishes (think: soups, stews, curries) to keep me busy and well fed. There’s also a decent section on salads which I may brave later (I’m not a big salad eater). In the end I made three recipes from this book: OMG Oven Baked Onion Rings, Cranberry-Cashew Biryani and 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma.

This weekend was the final weekend of the Six Nations which meant three rugby matches back-to-back on Saturday afternoon and evening. Good times. All this rugby (and associated sofa sitting) gave me an excellent opportunity to try out the OMG Oven Baked Onion Rings. I’m normally a bit iffy about onion rings. Possibly because I was only introduced to them rather late in life and via a reference to them in Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady which was not the best first impression. Regardless, I thought I’d give them a go – if for no other reason than to see if they were truly deserving of being called OMG. Verdict? Yes they are worthy of that title. Despite my poor batter/breading ability, they were a success and I would recommend making them. My only personal adjustment to the recipe would be a little less salt.

For dinner I settled on the combination of Cranberry-Cashew Biryani and 2nd Avenue Vegetable Korma. The korma was a safe choice as I really like korma’s spice blend and this recipe uses coconut milk (I adore pretty much anything made with coconut milk). Despite over cooking the vegetables (my bad) it was a good curry and definitely a ‘make that again’ recipe. There was also the bonus of left over coconut milk that gave me all the reason I need to make Chocolate Coconut Pudding (which I also made in this post). This desert is a favourite of mine from VWAV and is stupidly simple to make requiring only milk, arrowroot powder, sugar and cocoa powder. Well, that’s all I use. The actual recipe also uses vanilla essence but I have a habit of forgetting to add it, luckily the final result doesn’t suffer for its absence.

The biryani was a bit more of a gamble on my part. I’m a bit suspicious about rice with fruit in it. This is one of my food eccentricities: in my head rice = savoury and fruit = sweet. As a result I don’t usually do a combination of the two (rice pudding is a no-no for me). But… this recipe was lovely. It probably helped that I love dried cranberries so it was a fairly safe way to get me to eat a fruit/rice combination. It also looks gorgeous – tomato coloured rice studded with diced carrot, pale cashews, emerald peas and vivid cranberry.

Sadly that is the only photo from the night’s cooking as my camera and the kitchen’s lighting are not the best of friends. However, you get the impression – it’s a very pretty dish. The only thing I would do differently in this recipe next time I make it would be to wash the rice before hand as the final result was rice that was a bit too squishy for my liking – I prefer my long grain rice to retain some independence and not clump like risotto or sushi rice. But that’s the only thing I’d do differently.

Overall Appetite for Reduction performed excellently on its first outing and I’m looking forward to making more of its recipes. Who knows, maybe Isa might even be able to convert me to becoming a salad eater…

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