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North London Mums get cooking

Do you find cooking interesting, healthy and varied child and family friendly meals a challenge? If your hand is waving wildly in the air (mine is) then new recipes, and recipe books which hit the mark are always a find. North London Mums is on a mission to dig out recipes and recipe books which fit the bill and this week we review Double Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.

If you are wondering who Jessica Seinfeld is then- then cast your mind back to the wonderful Seinfeld series (mistakenly buried in late night UK schedules)  and then think wife to Jerry.

Jessica's book Double Delicious is all about delicious and healthy meals for the family- its tag line is "Good, simple food for busy, complicated lives". It follows from her New York Times best seller Deceptively Delicious. Jessica describes this book as the result of a food adventure- a search for healthy options, fresh and rich ingredients and delicious flavour.  This North London Mum definitely shares this "adventure" so I was intrigued to explore the book.

The book is written with input of a nutritional expert, Joy Bauer, who has vetted all the recipes to ensure they are low in fat and sodium and also nutritionally rich. There is also the review panel of Jessica's husband, Jerry, and her 3 children- it's interesting to see the interests and quirks of family members reflected in the anecdotes around the recipes- since we all know that everyone has their own tastes.

The important thing to get about Deceptively Delicious is that a key element of the dishes is vegetable purees. This is Jessica's secret key to adding flavour and nutrition to many of her dishes. If you've been through the puree phase with your children then you will be only too familiar with purees (or indeed looking for a way to use up a frieezer of ice cube purees)- and I must admit that I was slightly hesitant to return to them- but they really are a clever way to drive flavour to recipes and once I started it became very natural to add them to recipes (and they do taste great).  The book also focuses on the use of whole grains and generally healthy shopping (such as substituting low fat buttermilk for whole milk).

The book is simply organised into breakfast, mealtimes and desserts. As someone who collects recipe books and then gets lost in choosing and the making the recipes, this book is a real find. Each recipe is simple, has a great photo, and clearly sets out prep time, number of portions and key nutritional elements.  And what's more there are some really great recipes for family meals each with a healthy twist- we love (so far!) the Maple Spiced Muffins, Teriyaki Chicken and Sesame Beef with Broccoli and Pasta with Pea Pesto. I'm working up to the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie. On the whole the recipes are very simple to make - although as this is a US book you will need to convert US cups to metric and may need to be flexible about some ingredients.

It's extremely refreshing at the end of the day to be able to pick up a reliable cook book and produce something that you know the family are likely to eat!

You can buy the book on Amazon, and a portion of the Proceeds go to Baby Buggy, a charity founded by Jessica to provide clothing and equipment to New York's families in need.

Have you got any great family friendly recipe books or recipes you would like to recommend? Do let us know!

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