I have done it! I have finally finished developing all the recipes for the Hungry Healthy Happy book, they have been handed in to my editor and we are now ready to start shooting them. I could say that it was an easy process, but that would be a lie. Testing 120 recipes over a relatively short space of time is really tough at times, but it is so worth it all in the end.
Here is a little look at some of the recipes you will see in the book…..Mediterranean Cod Bake, Healthy Banana Bread with Strawberry Jam, Mexican Lettuce Cups, Stuffed Aubergine, Healthy Cheesecake, Quinoa Sushi, Chocolate Nut Balls, Wholewheat Bread and Cherry Granola.
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I have learnt a lot in the process of creating and triple testing 120 new recipes. I have learnt the stuff that you would expect, such as time management and organisation, but there were many other things that I learnt that I thought I would share. I would have loved to have seen a behind the scenes look at making a cook book before I started, so this is for anyone that would love their own book, or for those of you that are just interested in what I have been up to.
You will spill stuff. A LOT.
I kind of expected this. I knew I was going to be rushed at times and that there would be a lot going on and add that to the fact that I am the clumsiest person you will ever meet. But I don’t think I was prepared for just how much stuff I would spill. I should have hired someone to follow me round the kitchen wiping things up.
You will also drop stuff. A LOT.
It’s not just spilling stuff, it is dropping and breaking stuff. Smashed plates and glasses, dropping pans that scare your cats so much that they will hide under the bed for the next 4 hours, and dropping things on your feet so you get a massive bruise. I dropped my entire pot of spices and had to buy them all again :(
You will accidentally put plastic wrap from a tomato pack on a baking tray and put it in the oven until it melts and stinks the whole kitchen out.
I have no idea how this happened and I didn’t even stop the question it. I think the fact that I didn’t injure myself seriously, or anyone else, in the process is pretty much a win.
Your handwriting will become almost ineligible.
My handwriting could be confused as that of a 5 year old at the best of times, but it got worse during this process. I was quickly writing things down, crossing them out as I made changes and making up my own short-hand that someone would need a language degree to figure out. Only ever using a computer means that I don’t need to write usually, so this was a shock to my hand.
You will become a bit delusional.
Towards the end of it all, I think I was becoming a bit delusional. I was only getting a few hours sleep a night, I didn’t see much outside of my kitchen and human interaction was at a minimum. On the final day of development, I ended up getting out 3 of the same bowl, because I needed a bowl. I kept saying to myself “I need a bowl” and then looked at the counter and there were 3 there.
You will regret asking your husband to help.
This isn’t to say that Dave wasn’t helpful, he was REALLY helpful, but I ended up snapping at him. Sorry Dave. I hope the endless food made up for it.
Music is essential.
I think that music is essential for every day life anyway, but it is even more essential when making a book. I found that System Of A Down made especially good dancing around the kitchen whilst waiting for things to cook music.
The washing up will seem endless.
Ever get that feeling anyway? Try making 15 dishes in one day and see what the washing up looks like. My whole kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it most of the time. I started out with good intentions and cleaning up as I went along, but I wasn’t the best at staying committed with that.
Everything will feel like it is going wrong.
But then your cat will come in to the kitchen and make everything seem a little better. Whether it is hiding in a box, making a weird noise, or just rubbing up against my leg. It always lightened the mood.
You will forget something vital, that turns out not to be so vital.
I forgot to put something “vital” into a baked dish and it turned out perfect anyway, meaning that the ingredient wasn’t so vital after all. It turns out that baking isn’t so much of an exact science.
Don’t let your chocoholic husband be involved with making any of the chocolate recipes.
There will be less ingredients than you started with by the time you get round to using them. But he did make a very god taste tester. But he does provide some entertainment value.
The small things will make you laugh.
I cut into a pepper to find that it looked like what I thought was a one eyed scary pirate pepper. I did have a little giggle to myself.
You will become very creative.
And not just with the recipes. My hands were so covered in food at one point that I had to turn the timer on my phone off with my nose. It took a few attempts.
You will get confused by your oven.
I accidentally put the grill on, instead of my oven, to bake bread and only realised after 20 minutes. I had to start all over again. I might have got a little bit angry with myself.
The are never enough tea towels.
You will get through many, many tea towels. Mopping up spillages, washing up and some of them will go missing and then you will find one in the freezer 2 days later. I didn’t put it in there. I am sure.
You will try to make an effort with your appearance, and there will be no point.
I thought it was about time to make an effort, put something else on apart from pyjamas or gym clothes and actually straighten my hair. It turns out there is no point because I will just become covered in flour and my hair will end up looking a mess anyway.
This week I am in the studio to start shooting the first 20 recipes (excited) and when they are all finished, in June, I will post another behind the scenes post on the photography and styling process – so look out for that.