9781849494656CutTheCarbs

It really happened. It seems like a bit of a blur, but yet, there it is, in living colour. (And soon, if you fancy, it can be yours too). The book has a cover. It’s on Amazon. And Book Depository. And it has a release date July 3 (though you can pre order it from now).

While A Suitcase and a Spatula was a dream to write and a fantasy to research, this second book is much more real. It’s the food that we eat when we’re at home.

It’s the food that helped me gain back my health after some slippery and sad years in my twenties. It’s the food that I cook for The Hungry One, which allows us to indulge while we’re away and not end up the size of houses. And it’s the food that let me look once again like myself after I had Will last year (casual aside, it appears not every woman sheds pounds while breastfeeding. While I put on a very standard amount of weight having him, in my quest to feed him I chubbed on, helped along by some medication, biscuits, toast, macaroni and muffins. That short foray into easy, lazy, comfort food rendered me the heaviest I had been in nine years). Which was unfortunate as it also coincided with the month before we shot the book. Which also included a portrait shot of me, extolling the virtues of living a lean, low/slow carb life. Oh, the irony.

Luckily a solution was at hand.

Furiously testing and re testing recipes with Will strapped to my chest, for that month (and the few after) the only food I ate was the food from this book. Breakfast was chai spiced quinoa porridge, almond blueberry pancakes, black forest slow carb granola, chia bircher muesli or lentil, feta, mint and pistachio omelettes. Lunch was kale caesar, cauliflower cous cous with almonds and mint or roast bloody mary tomato soup and dinner was just as often peach pulled pork, piri piri chicken with black beans and tomatoes or tandoori salmon with spiced lentils. There were a few lighter desserts slipped in to help when spirits were flagging; yoghurt panna cottas with cinnamon poached pears, or a slice of clementine tarta di santiago. Along with a little bit of graded exercise, the weight came off and I had more energy than I had in a long time.

photo

Not seen, an eleven week old baby Will, giggling under the table.

The central thesis of the book is around low GI/ slow carbohydrate foods. It’s born of the notion that there are better things to be basing our meals on than the nutrient sparse white carbs- in particular I’m talking about the big four; bread, potato, pasta and white rice. It makes heroes out of unsung pulses like black beans and lentils, leans on chickpea flour and ground almonds in baking and shines a light on seeds like quinoa and chia (though it doesn’t insist that you go out and stock your cupboard with a whole range of ingredients you’ve never heard of and can’t easily spell). It’s food that will leave you fuller, longer, chocked with vegetables, nuts, proteins and spices. There are bright salads and sturdy braises, quick fixes and celebratory feasts. There are also some great comfort food treats, made a little lighter.

I’m proud of this book. I’m thrilled with the photos that Chris Chen did. I love the textures and the beautiful Sydney light that slants through the look and feel. I love that there are still extended headers to recipes, giving context and some tips and tricks. There’s a good lick of travel-escapism, with dishes collected from our jaunts to Malta, Madrid, Istanbul, Bangkok and Lisbon, among others. I like that there’s a solid mix of options for vegetarians, the gluten intolerant and those who want to be able to feed a six foot three fellow a slow carb supper without them asking ‘what’s for main course?’.

And I hope you like it too.

Cut the Carbs! is published by Quadrille and is available on July 3- though you can pre order it now.

To see a little of the process of shooting the book, read about it here.