Initial Review of Deliciously Ella

My scribbled notes on the hummus recipe

My scribbled notes on the hummus recipe

I wrote a few days ago about the new cookery book I purchased, Deliciously Ella, and how I hope it will help me solve the problem of being perpetually tired. I don’t do diets and I am definitely not a foodie: these things should be taken into consideration when reading the following!

These are my initial thoughts on Ella’s book

1. As I first noted, it is like a text book rather than a recipe book – I’m taking ideas away rather than following specific recipes, especially for things like smoothies. It’s hard to find recipes because the way it is laid out by ingredient type, but that does help with learning more about the ingredients. So far I’ve tried things I wouldn’t have before in my smoothies, like spinach, cucumber, and beetroot juice (and will definitely skip on the latter!). Amazingly, even though they turn the juice green, spinach and spirula (or the 7-superfood variety I’m using) don’t really alter the taste.

2. The ingredients are VERY expensive. Even if you don’t go for organic or the best you can buy, buckwheat flour is four times the cost of normal flour and hazelnuts and almonds prohibitively expensive in the quantities most recipes require. Maple syrup (the pure stuff) is £5 for 300ml and the recipes often call for a mug (or three) of the stuff. Medjool dates, ditto. Tahini and chickpeas weren’t too expensive and neither was apple cider so, unsurprisingly, the only recipe I’ve tried so far was hummus. Which brings me on to point three.

3. You need to already be a foodie, or at least be able to beg/borrow/buy some equipment. I have a blender, which I pulled out the back of the cupboard from my singleton days, so that’s great for smoothies, but it wasn’t up to making hummus. You need a food processor for that. Thankfully my hand blender managed a reasonable job as I don’t own a food processor. I love the look of courgette spaghetti but can’t find a spiralizer with decent reviews for less than £20 and I’ve spent a fortune already. Oh and the spiralizer isn’t mentioned in the list of equipment you need, but magically appears in the courgette recipe which was rather annoying.

4. The recipes don’t give much of a clue about the quantities you’re making, and seem to use stacks of (expensive) ingredients. If you’re hoping to swap cookies and cakes for the healthy sort, expect to pay a lot more for the luxury. I haven’t tried any of the yummy looking things yet because I can’t justify the expense (see above about maple syrup and Medjool dates). I halved the recipe for hummus and it made enough for three or four snacks.

5. I bought the book because the sweet recipes sounded appealing in the radio interview I heard. Who wouldn’t love healthy cakes and cookies? However, based on the ingredients, I’m not sure I agree with ‘healthy’. They might not be full of refined sugar and gluten, but nuts and avocados and maple syrup are pretty fattening products in the quantities suggested. I’d also be vaguely interested in the calorie content, but I realise that’s a long way from the ethos of the book. I guess I’m just used to calorie counting. I’d like to know if I’ve used a whole day’s calories in a dinner of avocado and hummus, even if it is good for me.

6. The recipes are a bit repetitive. There are lots that include coconut (which I don’t especially like) and avocado (which I love but is full of calories and difficult to buy ripe). I also found there weren’t many meal replacements. Lots of things I can nibble on during the day, but for the cost of the ingredients I need something to replace the evening meat-based meal that hubbie might eat.

7. On a positive note, however, the book is encouraging. There are great quotes littered throughout and I do feel it is about empowering you to not be afraid of food. I would never have put spinach in a smoothie and now I have it every day.

8. Also the recipes also only call for a few main ingredients, even if they are pricey. I’ve invested £30 in some of the core products, which I’m waiting to arrive by post, as even Waitrose don’t stock raw cacao powder or Miso paste. I am excited about trying some of the recipes and I may visit the blog to see if there are some that are more straightforward.

9. I feel better. I want to eat more things with spinach in and fewer bags of crisps and packets of cookies. For me that’s HUGE. But money is a worry and so my target now will be to find a few recipes that aren’t too expensive (and fattening) and to explore other recipe books that might be more suited to our lifestyle.

10. There are some ways to cheat. I have bought lazy garlic and lazy ginger, which might not be the same as the real thing but more cost effective (and easier for a non-foodie like me). I buy raw juice or at least not-from-concentrate juice (fruit and veg) as a base for my smoothies so I don’t need a juicer and I don’t need to buy more ingredients. I also follow Ella’s suggestion and make extra smoothie and keep it in a glass jar in the fridge. Plus I go to the ‘out of date’ section in the supermarket for fruit and veg – if it’s going in a smoothie it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit battered.

All in all I’m glad I bought the book. I’m sure my body is glad too, or it will be when I’ve got through the detox headache. The doctors called today and all eleven (!?!) of the blood tests my doctor put through came back normal: I don’t have glandular fever, my thyroid is fine, I’m not anaemic. So the tiredness is just laziness, rubbish food and being a parent. If Ella’s book helps me to change that, then it was worth every penny!

9 thoughts on “Initial Review of Deliciously Ella

  1. It’s been a while since I’ve kept up with the blogs I’m following, and of all days to look at yours! This was a great review. I’d never heard of this book before, but I’m always interested in cookbooks that focus on eating healthier. Yes, spinach is one of those things you can add that doesn’t affect the taste. Kale, on the other hand…seriously though, even though it makes the smoothie a touch bitter, I’ve found I like the taste. Same for collard greens. Haven’t tried mustard greens yet, but I imagine they’ll add a spicy kick.

    Glad to hear your health is good and that the dietary changes are helping. Are you drinking plenty of water? I’ve found that helps during the rough spots.

    • Thank you. Yes I’m trying to drink lots of water, especially as the detox is giving me a hangover, but on top of all the smoothies and fruit teas I’m struggling to take on extra liquid! At least I’m not drinking as much tea and coffee now though. I don’t like kale so I’m not quite ready to add it to a smoothie but happy to try something different. I liked the cucumber!

  2. I’m sure you’re tiredness is not down to laziness! I can relate to you buying the ‘out of date’ stuff – I do it all the time! (but unfortunately it’s often yellow-stickered cakes or bread that tempt me …)

    • Haha yes the cakes are tempting too and I’m a sucker for fresh white bread. That’s why a gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free diet has always terrified me. What I didn’t realise was that, by eating all this fresh fruit and veg, I don’t actually crave cakes so much. Astounding! I still feel rotten, but maybe I just have to give it time. It feels like laziness when I can’t get out of bed or face vacuuming the house or cleaning the kitchen floor, but maybe it is something else…

  3. This is a great review! I recently bought “Plenty More” and wasn’t able to try a single recipe as most of the ingredients are either a) too expensive or b) not available in supermarkets and have to be bought from specialist shops!

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  5. Great review! At first when I started eating this way I found it more expensive but now I have all my staples & buy in bulk I actually find my weekly spend is less.
    When I could out gluten, dairy, meat, fish & refined sugar it took about 3 months before I really noticed the benefits so stick with it. I hope you feel more energised soon 🙂 x

    • Thank you! It will probably take longer than that for me as I’m not consciously cutting out any of those things, just cutting down – particularly on the refined sugar and wheat. That said, I’m still finishing my kids’ toast and having cereal for breakfast most days. Still, I really hope it’s a case of every little helps. Surely having 7 portions of fruit and veg a day instead of 2 or 3 is good, even if most of it is sugary fruit! 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

  6. Pingback: Yummy Ella Crumble | writermummy

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