The Medicinal Chef - Dale Pinnock
Quadrille - 2013
Photography: Martin Poole
The Medicinal Chef has some really tasty recipes and the ideas behind Pinnock's way of eating is both exciting and easy to use. The idea is not to replace medicine but to help the body, make you stronger and compliment any pharmacological medication. A balance of diet, lifestyle and medication rather than going for all-or-nothing.
Each recipe has a code at the top letting you know what it will benefit and this is cross-referenced in the conditions index at the back where you can find recipes to help with ailments. Strangely there's no mention of meat in the cookbook at all so it's unclear whether it is a personal choice or if it ties into Pinnock's food philosophy. Surprisingly there is also nothing about organic food and recipes use processed food such as stock cubes rather than having a homemade version.
There is a mixture of interesting twists on recipes that make them exciting and innovative but also rather a lot of very ordinary meals. It's great to know how they can benefit people but many recipes are really simple or are very familiar and ordinary.
The photography in The Medicinal Chef is excellent, well styled and makes the food look really tasty. The layout of the book is pretty easy to navigate no matter what you are looking for and the sections are clear although possibly some of the 'healthy snacks' belong in the 'sweet treats'. The notes at the beginning of each recipe are not in keeping with the open minded approach that the rest of the book takes but can easily be skipped over so you can get straight to the recipe.
The two best sections are the ingredients part at the beginning and the conditions section at the end of the book - these really tie the ideas behind The Medicinal Chef together and give a lot of ideas for creating your own recipes so you can incorporate the ideas into your everyday eating. It's suitable as an introduction to people unfamiliar with how to use food as a preventative measure and eating to help your body heal alongside conventional medicine but also as a regular cookbook for people who have been doing it for a while now.
A lot of the recipes in The Medicinal Chef are very expensive and while most of the ingredients are now quite easy to get hold of it would be a very expensive weekly shop were you to eat regular meals from the cookbook.
My favourite recipes were the Fennel and Celeriac Soup; Roast Beetroot Wedges with Avocado and Horseradish; Roasted Peppers with White Bean Mash; and Good-night Spiced Cherry Crumble.
It's great to see a cookbook full of recipes taking a holistic approach to health and showing how ingredients can benefit the body although it would have been better to see more alternatives to adapt the recipes.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of 'The Medicinal Chef' from Quadrille.