By Jane Baxter & John Vincent
(Octopus Publishing, $19.99)
Everyone is making healthy choices these days … Leon, the naturally fast food restaurants in London, was created to make it easy for everyone to eat well. Taste (a good balance of flavours), texture (ranging from crunchy to chewy to smooth) and architecture (eating with your eyes) are the guiding points to make the best salads you’ve ever eaten. The recipes use Leon’s five principles: food must taste fantastic, be remarkably good for you, make you feel good after you eat it, be kind to the planet and be affordable. The book is divided into sections: Classics, Naturally Fast, Lunchbox, Food For Friends and Food For Family. Use the Salad Storecupboard list for “sexing up any basic salad.” Preppy Prepping suggests having sturdy toolkit items (use your hands as the ultimate tool for delicate tossing but not for serving), a really sharp knife, a good vegetable peeler, a pestle and mortar, a steamer and a spiralizer, too.
The authors started Leon intending to share their recipes and ideas. Most recipes serve two except the Family Choices recipes, which serve four. Various codes are listed (WF, GF, DF for wheat, gluten or dairy free, V vegetarian and VE vegan). Also included are prep and cook times, a tip (“We find the perfect time for 2 medium boiled eggs is 6-7 minutes.”), and a dazzling color photograph. Descriptions like “blitzing the ingredients,” “nans love it,” ” bowl of goodness,” “Fattoush Salad won’t make you fat,” “shake it in a jammer,” “whatever takes your fancy” and “Tuck’n!” suggest you’ll be the envy of your desk cluster at the office on either side of the pond.
The international array of salad recipes includes a BKT (a take on a BLT using kale), Tempeh & Toasted Tortilla, Kosambari (southern Indian celebratory pulse salad) Paella Deli (a taste of Spain), Indonesian Greens, Sardinian Israeli Fregola & Chorizo, Mediterranean delights, and Chinese Wellbeing salad that boasts seaweed and shiitaki mushrooms used medicinally for centuries in East India and is from their popular restaurant choices. Check out the pages for Crunchy Things and Add-Ons (deep-fried pasta) and eighteen dressing recipes like Leon Tamari & Sesame. This fantastic array of salads is sure to please with courgette or aubergine bowls of goodness ahead, or zucchini and eggplant if you prefer!