It gives me a huge amount of pleasure to review Prepped by Vanessa Kimbell, as I have been in my own small way involved with the book for the last six months, firstly as a recipe tester and then very soon after as a friend of the author.
Even if Vanessa were not my friend I would still be singing Prepped’s praises and shouting from the rooftops. Prepped is a fantastic new concept – make double of a recipe or component and use it in another dish, for example a soup base also becomes a pie filling. Every recipe is linked to another.
This linked cooking allows you to save time and to produce wonderful food with far less effort. Being a busy mother of 3 with a demanding job Vanessa started to link her cooking and then realised it would be an excellent concept for a book and so gave up her job to write Prepped.
Vanessa is a trained chef with an alchemist’s skill for mixing basic flavours into something heavenly. The book is visually stunning, with over 200 colour photos with a full page photo for each recipe. Each recipe is introduced by Vanessa, her words of passion and enthusiasm spill off the page enticing you to make the dish immediately. Most recipes come with some of Vanessa’s tips, which help you on your way, vary the dish or save even more time. The one overriding word to describe this book is “happy”, everything is a celebration, from the pink cover, photos, flavours and Vanessa’s words. This is a book for people who love to cook, love food, love to eat and enjoy life.
The book is organised into 11 chapters by flavours which are listed seasonally, starting off with the elderflower of late spring, moving to rhubarb, lavender and lemon. Summer is packed with vanilla, tomato & plum. Then autumn and winter are represented with caraway, chocolate, cardamom and orange & clove.
The elderflower chapter starts with a recipe for homemade syrup which is then used in cocktails, salad dressing, puddings, a delicious baked trout, macarons and cupcakes.
In the rhubarb chapter there is a recipe for rhubarb and mackerel pate (which also doubles as a pasta sauce) a flavour pairing that I would have never thought of, but instantly realise will be insanely delicious. The 100 mph rhubarb and cardamom cake can be thrown together ready for the oven in a mere 6 minutes, perfect for time pressed cooks with unexpected guests.
The book abounds with delicious pairings, a spicy vanilla and mango pork, a modern twist on the traditional plum crumble by adding cardamom. Very simple, but adding another layer of delicious flavour.
I cannot wait to try the savoury chocolate biscuits with some Cheddar, and my love for meringue has me salivating at the chocolate & almond Pavlova cake.
Rarely do I want to want to cook more than one or two recipes from a cookbook. I imagine I will be making nearly everything in Prepped over the coming year.
Bravo Vanessa! I am thrilled for you at how wonderful your book is, and am so delighted for my small part in it, for meeting you and for what I know will be a lifelong friendship that has come from Prepped.
Thank you to Vanessa for my copy of Prepped, and for asking me to recipe test for her.
Prepped is published & printed in the UK by Spring Hill, RRP £20.00
Come back tomorrow for the baked trout with elderflower and chilli recipe that I tested for the book, and for a chance to win a copy!
Fuss Free Rating ****
Read Vanessa’s story of writing Prepped here.