This is a lifestyle book with a major component of lovely recipes from the very talented Amber Rose. Her two co-authors, Sadie Frost and Holly Davidson, are sisters and have contributed the book’s sections devoted to meditation, yoga, beauty recipes and remedies, and exercise.
Yes, I suppose a “guy” cookbook reviewer might call this a “chick book” but I won’t. The beauty elements I will leave to my wife who has head start on beauty in our family. But, but, everything else in this book is equally important and enjoyable for all of us.
This book beautifully projects, in one volume, the things we hear about daily on how to improve our lives. We need to eat better, exercise better, and, yes, relax better. We do need to put down our cell phones, close our eyes, and just breathe. Here, in one consolidated book, that story is presented with intelligence and persuasiveness. The invitations to exercise and to meditate are not seemingly made by a screaming drill sergeant or a saffron-scented guru. These are simply experienced women who have mastered these skills, personally appreciated their value and are eager to share their benefits with you.
The first half of Nourish is about food, lovely food from Amber Rose. Amber is one of those English-looking women who can stroll through a country garden with a basket, return to the kitchen and assemble a feast that you will remember forever. Actually, she grew up in New Zealand but she still had that fruit and vegetable heritage that appears in recipes like:
Blood Orange, Pomegranate & Grapefruit Juice
Coconut & Banana Pancakes
Fennel Salad with Blood Oranges, Buffalo Mozzarella & Dill
Lemon & Sumac Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and & Black Olives
Roast Pumpkin, Gold Beat & Squash Salad with Garlic [Think Thanksgiving!]
Summery Pomegranate & Strawberry Cake
Recipe titles can often sound good but how good is the final dish? Let’s look at that last one, the Summery Pomegranate & Strawberry cake. Here’s the book’s beauty shot:
This is classic Amber Rose: an amalgam of flavors, colors, and textures. All presented in this enticing cake that is not simply slathered in frosting or whipped cream. Oh, sure, there is whipped cream on each layer but it’s the “just right” amount. And, the whipped cream is flavored with maple syrup and rose water and jam. So very Amber.
The cake itself is created with rose water and spelt flour for a different taste and texture. Lots of eggs: 4. No granulated sugar: a cup of maple syrup instead. This cake by itself will be a “different” and delicious experience. Add the berries, pomegranate and whipped cream and you have a dessert to remember. Just like all the recipes in this book.
[Why is the cake called “summery” when it has our winter pomegranates in it? Ah, Amber grew up in New Zealand and I guess they imported pomegranates in their summer months of December!]
Co-author Sadie Frost presents a gentle introduction to yoga practice. The section begins with that central pillar of yoga practice: breathing. If you’ve never considered the benefits, or known how to proceed, if you always consider “yoga” to be too foreign, then the few pages here on breathing, the types of yoga, and some very basic poses provide you an easy introduction worth your time. Sadie suggests a mere 20 minutes a day, plus ideally one 90 minute session a week. If you follow her ideas, if you test drive these practices, you may buy.
The final section of Nourish, by Holly Davidson, is not just about exercise but how to introduce exercise into your life. My wife and I are devoted gym fanatics — running a cooking school gives us little choice as we seek to balance our lives. For others, you may not be food-focused and not fans of the gym. The goal of Nourish is to change your attitude. Amber Rose demonstrates the power of food to please you, not just sate you, and to offer beauty in your life. In her section, Holly suggests that exercise can be equally important.
Before you can really switch to being an exercise devotee, Holly suggests you need to update your mindset, begin changing habits, and, most importantly, take off the pressure associated with “need to exercise.” It is a need to be sure, but it is really an opportunity to be physically and emotionally better and to enjoy life to a higher degree.
Holly provides a four-week program to take you from the couch to the gym floor. One week at a time, she eases you into the routines, using stretching, weights, and different postures from classic exercise routines, yoga, and Pilates. You don’t want to jump right into Week 4, but you’ll get there. And, as gym fanatic, I can almost guarantee that you will want to celebrate your progress. At that point, I would suggest a small but delicious piece of Amber Rose’s lovely cake.