I was excited to trial and review ‘Smorgasbowl’ by Caryn Carruthers as the principle behind the book was something that really appeals to me, particularly as someone who is always striving to fit more vegetables into my everyday diet! The notion of the four pillars was an interesting one, the idea that each bowl needed to be balanced with taste/flavour, nutrition, texture and temperate in order for you to have the most positive experience with that particular recipe. Initially the prospect of ensuring success was a little daunting however the book was well presented and clear. I found that the instruction around the construction of the bowl made it feel possible to experiment. I also really enjoyed the personal elements that Carruthers added to the write ups preceding the recipes. Phrases such as ‘hangry’ and ‘eating-the-same-thing-for-dinner rut’ were completely relatable, whilst concise tips about the ingredients and when best to have them were fully appreciated.
We experimented with several bowls from the book however particular highlights were the ‘Apple-chickpea and Kale Salad from the ‘Great Smorgasbowl Examples.’ This was such a flavoursome dish, sometimes it is tricky to incorporate kale into dishes however this provided ideas on how to incorporate into a main meal. This was a success within the household and I found that I had some left over which was a nice bonus the following day. This was one of the first dishes I made and so having the beautiful images of the example bowls that accompany the book were really helpful as it broke down the separate components, I found quickly I was able to substitute or add additional ingredients which added further variety and experimentation.
The ‘Banana-tahini chia pudding with peanut butter chocolate sauce’ was another recipe which was absolutely delicious! Carruthers asks the question at the start of this recipe, ‘where is the line between breakfast and dessert anyway?’ and this was so true! I actually had this bowl for pudding but was immediately struck with the thought that it would be a great dish to start the day with, providing such variety in nutrition, this is a bowl I will look to incorporate at least once a week into my meal plans.
Lastly the ‘Crab, bacon and roll bowl with asparagus and herbed butter’ was such a nutritional dish and really quick to make. My five-year-old and I had a lovely time assembling the bowl and it provided a really valuable opportunity for us to discuss the importance of a varied and balanced diet. It even resulted him in trying crab for the first ever time. Hopefully having such a variety of ingredients readily available in the preparation of these dishes will enable him to be brave and try new tastes and textures too!
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a way into incorporating nutritional balance, more taste and variety into their weekly diet. What is not to like!
Thank you to @literallypr for my copy of this book