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Healthy Recipes

Great Recipe Books - A Review by Jane Thurnell-Read

I love the Revive Café series of cookbooks. I first encountered them when staying with friends in New Zealand. Every meal was delicious and, when I asked about the recipe, I was told it came from one or other of the Revive Café cookbooks, so I decided I had to buy them, so I could make these delightful meals when I got home.Jeremy Dixon has a healthy food haven in Auckland, New Zealand - the Revive Cafe. Healthy food often brings the image of worthy food rather than scintillating food with carefully balanced flavours. But Jeremy has managed to produce some amazing recipes that also happen to be healthy and good for you. It’s a plant-based recipe book that allows you to eat well.


Jeremy says:

My mission in life is to help educate people to cook and eat healthier foods. The benefits of healthy eating just in terms of vitality and energy are significant, not to mention the lowered risks of developing long-term disease.


Each recipe book is divided up into sections such as:

Hotpots and Stir Fries
Main Meals
Flavour Boosters
Sweet Things


cover of cookbook 3


There’s also a Step By Step section in each books which shows you how to combine different ingredients in many different ways. So for example in the first cookbook there are instructions to make  a stir fry with a choice of bases, veges, grains, flavours, protein and garnish, giving 59,400,000 different combinations.

Many plant-based or vegan recipes use a lot of wheat; many vegetarian recipes are heavy on the cheese, but these books offer lots of delights that just happen not to have meat, eggs, dairy or wheat in them. You don’t notice their absence because you are so busy enjoying the delightful combinations of flavours and textures.

The photographs that accompany each recipe make me want to try them all immediately. I defy you to pick up one of these books and not want to get cooking - or at the very least show them to someone who is willing to cook for you.

I’m looking forward to trying more of the recipes – the pizzas in book 3 look great; I think I’d enjoy the balsamic lentil and roasted beetroot salad from book 1, and also the beefless burgers in Book 2; I’ve also tried and loved the Revive aioli; I’m curious about the golden omelette in book 3, no eggs – it’s made from tofu. I love the better-than-icecream also in book 3 – and I do love it more than icecream.

I’d like to share one recipe with you from book 3. My New Zealand friend, who introduced me to these books, suggested I should make it after someone made it for her. Don’t be put off by the ingredients – everyone I’ve given this to has loved it:

Black Almond Fudge

1 cup dates
1 cup boiling water
1 x 400 g can black beans, drained, or 2 cups of cooked black beans
1 ripe banana
Half cup carob powder (I used cocoa powder instead)
Half cup rolled oats
Half cup ground almonds
2 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons of honey
Half cup of slivered almonds
I teaspoon of fresh chilli or chilli flakes (optional)

Soak the dates in the boiling water for around 5 minutes to soften. Drain.
Put all ingredients except the slivered almonds in a  food processor and process until a thick lump bounces around your machine.
Add the slivered almonds, mix, but do not blend as you want them to stay as they are
Use a baking tray around 15 x 25 cm ( 6 x 10 inches). Line with baking paper.
Spoon in the mixture, flattening with a spoon.
Bake at 180 degrees centigrade (350 Fahrenheit) for 30 minutes.
Cut into squares using a sharp knife.


I hope you enjoy this recipe. Do buy the books and try the other recipes. You can get information on the books from the author's website.


Jane Thurnell-Read Copyright 2014