Cook As You Are cookbook review

Cook as you are
Cook as You Are: Recipes for Real Life, Hungry Cooks, and Messy Kitchens by Ruby Tandoh
352 pages
publishes November 8th, 2022

A cookbook for the real world: a beautifully illustrated, inclusive, and inspiring collection of delectable and doable recipes for home cooks of all kinds that shows you don’t have to be an aspiring chef to make great food—or for cooking to be a delight. Just cook as you are.

From last-minute inspiration for feeding an entire family to satisfying meals for just one person, easy one-pot dinners to no-chop recipes, in these pages Ruby Tandoh shares a feast of homey, globally inspired dishes, such as Carrot, Lemon and Tahini Soup; Smoky Chicken, Okra and Chorizo Casserole; Gnocchi with Harissa Butter and Broccoli; Lightning-Quick Asparagus and Chili Linguine; Tofu and Greens with Hot and Sour Chili Sauce; Rosemary Baby Buns; and Lemon Mochi Squares.

A no-nonsense collection of more than 100 accessible, affordable, achievable—and, most importantly, delicious—recipes (plus countless variations), Cook As You Are is an essential resource for every taste, every kitchen, and every body.

“A celebration of people as much as delicious food. Ruby Tandoh writes with a cooks-first mind-set, curating a mouthwatering collection of recipes that are as inclusive as they are attainable.” —Vallery Lomas, author of Life Is What You Bake It, winner of The Great American Baking Show

This book is incredible. The beginning of the book notes for “bottled, canned, and frozen food swaps” and makes recommendations. There’s a section for “Cooking with limited energy or mobility” as well as an entire chapter for this: More food, less work. 

And I think that she follows up on this throughout the course of the book! Not only are there excellent recipes, but the book is spotted with illustrations that make the entire book feel cozy. Each chapter includes a list of books for further reading. COOK AS YOU ARE is about cooking as self-care, as art, as making something that feels like a chore into a something healing. COOK AS YOU ARE takes an experience that sometimes feels traumatizing and cracks it open into something else entirely, through essays and small illustrations and personal recommendations. Five stars. Full list of recipes available on my blog. Booksweet link here.

“If you’re blind, Deaf, or have any sensory impairment or difference (this can include some autistic people, or anyone who experiences sensory sensitivity or overload), cooking can require a diverse range of approaches, and you might need to rely more heavily on other sense or cooking aids. I’ve tried in this book to give you lots of different sensory cues rather than relying on just one sense. These sensory cues are paired with details about temperature and timings so that you can cook however suits you.” 

List of recipes:

Feed me now: dinner, plain and simple
“If you’ve slogged through another day of dreary work, these are dinners to enliven and nourish — something to look forward to.”
Pear couscous with anchovies, tomatoes and olives
Coconut, plantain and spinach curry with toasted cashews
Earthy, smoky lentil and beet stew
Fries with chaat masala, pickled onions and pomegranate
Carrot, lemon and tahini soup
Pasta with sauerkraut, carmelized onions and sour cream
Meatballs with basil, cream and mustard
Tinolang manok
Crisp brown lima beans with garlic yogurt and spiced tomato suace
Soba noodles with black beans and broccoli
Tomato and fennel risotto
Zucchini pearl barley bowls with sour cream and dill
Silky, smoky eggplant stew
Red lentil dal with lime
Back-of-the-net pasta
Tofu and greens with hot and sour chili sauce
Sundubu jjigae
Gnocchi with harissa butter and broccoli
Eden rice with black beans and plantain

More food, less work: Simple recipes for when you’re low on time or energy
“There are plenty of roasting-pan recipes here… giving you the freedom to stick dinner in the oven and free up your mind and hands.”
In-the-oven tomatoes and lima beans in a spiced coconut broth
Gnocchi with chili crisp sauce, capers and Parmesan
Roasted okra, green beans and paneer with green chutney and lime
Weeknight tomato and sardine pasta
Roasting-pan orzo with broccoli and mozzarella
Effortless cod in red lentil, tomato and lemongrass broth
Roast chicken thighs with spiced cauliflower, cranberries and herbs
Summer zucchini with halloumi and mint
Lightning-quick asparagus and chili linguine
Mushroom and gochujang udon noodles
15-minutes cream of tomato soup
Potato, caraway and sauerkraut soup
Pea green soup
Roasted five-spice carrots with brown butter and sesame
Bok choy with ginger and clementine
Cloud mash
10-minute zesty lemon and thyme pudding cake
Salted, malted, magic ice cream

Hidden in plain sight: Making great use of kitchen staples
“You don’t need to cook with ’special’ ingredients to make good food.”
One-pan smashed potatoes with lemony sardines and pesto
Goes-with-everything groundnut soup
Omo tuo
Chili-stewed greens with black-eyed peas
Yaji-spiced celery root with garlic greens and bulgur wheat
No-waste whole cauliflower and macaroni cheese
Beets with lentils, halloumi and clementine
Fish sticks with Japanese curry and rice
Homemade curry roux
Roasted carrots with chickpeas, garlic yogurt and herbs
Buttered miso linguine with leeks
Baked semolina with mushroom and mozzarella
Whatever-you’ve-god fried rice
Charred brussels sprouts with stay and crushed peanuts
Pea, mint, and chili toast  with crispy paneer
Seeded rye cake with demerara crust
Orange, olive oil and black pepper cake
Pantry brownies
Lemon mochi squares
Spiced apple pudding with brown sugar crisp
Creamy mango and ginger pudding pots

Wild appetites: Food for every mood, craving and occasion
“I don’t think cooking needs to be a trauma like this. With that in mind, these special occasion recipes — for everything from hangover breakfasts to Hanukkah, midsummer feasts and birthdays — are ones that will excite your guests without exhausting you.”
Kimchi and potato hash
Potato latkes
Green plantain, coconut and chili rosti
Watermelon with peanuts, sumac and lime
Smoky chicken, okra and chorizo casserole
Jollof rice
Harissa, spinach and ricotta cannelloni with toasted hazelnuts
Chicken, brown butter and mushroom pie
Aligot
Sausage and potato stew with rosemary dumplings
Cacio e pepe lasgna
Crepes with mushroom, ricotta and thyme
Sour cream vanilla cake
Marbled chocolate and almond cake
Molten chocolate, olive oil and rosemary cookie pie
Salted chocolate chunk cookies, three ways
Peach cobbler with golden cornmeal crust
Wildflower honey cheesecake
Midnight chocolate tart with coconut and sea salt

Normal perfect moments: How to snack in style
“But, as I’ve tested and retested these recipes, I’ve found myself buoyed by them in ways that go beyond just their nutritional content: when I go to the effort of making these good, small things, I feel very clearly that I’ve cared for myself.”
Galaxy granola
Cinnamon apple oven pancake
Cheese kimchi cornbread muffins
Sizzling chipotle tuna fritters
Herb-packed zucchini farinata
Lemony green lentil soup
Stuffed flatbreads, three ways
-Spinach and feta filling
-Cumin-spiced potato filling
-Mumbai chili cheese filling
Kelewele
Yorkshire puddings for every occasion
Oven fries with shito mayo
Green apple salad with toasted seeds
(Super)malt loaf
Puff-puff
Fruit jumble crumble bars
Peanut cookie dough bites
Salted honeyscotch sauce
Clementine hot chocolate
Fiery ginger cordial

For the love of it: Recipes to linger over
“And yet sometimes — on a long, lazy weekend, or if the kids have gone to grandma’s for the day — an opportunity arises for us to see cooking in a differen light.”
Jewel salad
Basil and egusi pesto
Twarog
Pierogi ruskie
Sauerkraut, potato and black pepper pierogi filling
Hearty lentil ragu
Slow-simmered herby lima beans
Pickled watermelon rind
Dill-pickled cherry tomatoes
Roti canai
Rosemary baby buns
Pretzel sandwich loaf
Franzbrotchen
Fried apple pie bites
Turon
Nkate brittle, caramom and salted milk ice cream
Rosy rhubarb jam
Salted passion fruit, pineapple and coconut curd

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