Books & Literature

Cookbook Review: Joe’s Family Food, by Joe Wicks

With 100 healthy, tasty, simple recipes to feed the whole family, this book provides speedy suppers, celebrations and everything in between.

A good selection of nice meals that could be proudly shared with family and visitors alike.

Feature image credit: Rod Lewis

Joe Wick’s 10th book is an ode to family time. He’s known in the UK and on YouTube as The Body Coach, a cooking and fitness guru, but he says he “loves this (book) the most” because it brings his family together. He spends much of his brief introduction talking about quality family time and getting the kids involved in food preparation, even if only to add the fruit on top of a finished dish.

The 100 recipes offered in Joe’s Family Food are primarily to feed a family of four but are easily scalable. They’re broken into practical groupings such as Speedy Suppers, Bung It In The Oven, Meat Free, Cooking With Kids, and Celebrations. The pages are interspersed with big colourful photos of food and family by Andrew Burton. The bright colours bring a sense of joy to the tome while the multitude of pictures of Wicks with his wife and two young children drive home that base message of family time.

As he promises, the recipes generally aren’t complicated and the time to make them is very reasonable. Each recipe begins with a graphical representation of the prep time, cooking time, and number of serves. The latter information is often expanded with more precise details, for example “2 adults and 2 small kids”. Bonus cooking tips are scrawled in a handwritten font within the method and ingredient lists.

What’s most surprising about Joe’s Family Food is the variety of recipes that one wouldn’t normally associate with family fare. He’s a father of two young children, but his food choices are healthy and adult, not the expected trail of nut sundaes and disguised vegetables. Even his chapter on Cooking With Kids features a smoothie bowl, rice paper wraps with hoisin sauce, cashew cooking balls, and pear cranberry & ginger seeded granola. The rest of the book features the likes of Thai red curry, butternut & ricotta filo pie, various traybakes, seafood dishes, and chowder, not to mention tantalising desserts and snacks that one would expect on a restaurant menu.

The recipe instructions are easy but often written in long paragraphs, which does add a level of difficulty when returning to the page to find your place. There’s plenty of room on the pages for the layout to be more user friendly.

Overall however, there’s a good selection of nice meals that could be proudly shared with family and visitors alike. His push to introduce children to such adult meals from an early age is commendable. Healthy eating habits can be learned at an early age.

Super-simple Rosemary Lamb Stew (page 144)

This is one of the longer recipes, taking up to 2 hours to cook on the stovetop. For those short of time, it’s simple enough to adapt for pressure cooking despite the stew being made in separate stages that come together at the end. The steps are methodical and straight forward but do require patience. For this recipe, Wicks also recommends particular cuts of meat and side dishes, both of which are worth taking up. The result is a tasty stew that I’d like to explore more, but perhaps with a few more herbs and spices. Wicks keeps it simple for those who prefer blander food. That’s not to say this is a bland stew; it’s quite delicious. But for the time taken to cook it, my own tastebuds would be more appeased with a deeper blend of spices.

Beetroot and Blueberry Pancakes (page 196)

Beetroot in pancakes? Ummm… yes please! Who would have thought?! I’m not a pancake person. I hoe into them once every couple of years at most, but I think I have a new addiction. Taking just a couple of minutes to mix, and a few more to cook, these ridiculously easy pancakes are healthy-ish, at least until you add the maple syrup, cream, or ice cream (or all three!). The surprising ingredient list also includes flaxseeds and blueberries, and makes approximately 10. The batter can be frozen for another day if you don’t gobble them all up. Yeah, of course I had some left over. What are you saying?!

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Pan Macmillan Australia
Released: 26 October 2021
RRP: $44.99

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