I think I've said this before, but this year really does seem to be the year of the cookbook! (Next week I have another amazing one to talk about too!). So many cookbooks have been released, and so many more are in the works.... especially in the food blogging world! It's fair to say that I loooove a good cookbook. Some I love for their recipes, others for their layout and photos, while others I love more for the overall tone and voice behind the book. But it's a very good day indeed, when a cookbook achieves all of these things.
Earlier this year I connected with a lovely girl by the name of Amy Chaplin on Instagram, after she mentioned something about working on her own cookbook. In all honesty I didn't know much about Amy, her blog, or her back story at that stage, so I didn't have any preconceived expectations when she contacted me to see if I'd like to share a recipe from her debut cookbook on here. What I did know however, was that she created beautiful vegetarian (+ often vegan) dishes and her flavour combinations were totally in line with my own (might have something to do with the fact she grew up here in Australia in a vegetarian hippy family, like my own!).
It's pretty safe to say that Amy's book At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen is straight-up amazing. Unlike so many of the other cookbooks released recently, this book has depth, substance, is full to the brim with gorgeous real food recipes, stunning photos and a ridiculous amount of knowledge that only comes from years of experience and truly living the wholefood life. I wasn't kidding when I mentioned on Instagram that it's quickly become one of my top 5 cookbooks, of all time.
vanilla chia pudding
I have a similar chia pudding recipe in my own cookbook, which we eat regularly, but I love the idea of pumping up the flavour with both the vanilla bean (or paste) and vanilla extract in this super creamy cashew-based pudding. I've printed the recipe below as it appears in Amy's book, but you'll see I've also added a few notes for alternatives at the bottom as well.
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 vanilla bean
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 2-6 hours in filtered water
4 cups filtered water, divided
7 medjool dates, pitted
pinch sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons coconut butter or extra virgin coconut oil
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
fresh berries, to serve
Place chia seeds into a medium bowl. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds with the tip of a small knife, and add them to an upright blender. Place the vanilla pod in bowl with chia seeds; set aside.
Drain and rinse cashews, and add to blender with 3 cups filtered water, dates, salt, cinnamon, coconut butter and vanilla extract. Blend on highest speed until completely smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into bowl with chia seeds along with remaining 1 cup water, and whisk thoroughly. (Alternatively, if you have a large blender with a 6-cup capacity, you can blend in all the water at once). Let mixture sit for 10 minutes, whisking a couple of times to prevent chia seeds from clumping. Place in the fridge for 1 1/2-2 hours or until completely chilled. Remove and compost the vanilla pod before serving. Divide into bowls, and serve chilled topped with berries. Store and leftover pudding in a jar in the fridge for up to five days.
Emma's notes: I omitted the vanilla bean and used 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste instead. I used 1/2 cup dried dates in place of the medjool, and soaked them overnight in cold filtered water at the same time as I soaked the cashews.
Recipe from At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin, © 2014 by Amy Chaplin. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA. www.roostbooks.com
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book courtesy of Roost Books. However, I only share things on here that I truly believe in. All thoughts are my own.