Book Review: The Perfect Blend, by Tess Masters

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The Perfect Blend, gluten-free and vegan, 100 bender recipes to energize & revitalize by Tess Masters is a plan-ahead recipe book that has some excellent tips and recipes.

On the down side, it has huge, often expensive ingredient lists, unrealistic time frames for everyday use (it took me over two hours to make an average tasting dip) and, whilst is beautifully presented with clearly defined chapters and enticing photographs, the amount of ingredients that you adjust to taste makes getting each recipe to suit somewhat of a trial-and-error activity. Even the make-and-drink-immediately items require you to soak ingredients well before making the recipe.

There is an interesting disclaimer at the beginning of the book that should be considered by the reader. It says: “To the extent that this book refers to holistic therapies we note that they are not evidence based therapies or remedies and are not proven to provide any medical benefit.” Some of the tips and information throughout the book do however recommend certain ingredients for medical benefit. Each recipe does come with nutritional facts per serving for those keeping an eye on these things

This book also assumes that the reader is a devotee and has other books by the same author, for instance, many recipes call for soaked nuts, you are directed to page 171 for information on soaking and are advised, “for soaking times, see The Blender Girl cookbook.”. Luckily, I had an idea as to what to do and soaked overnight.

I chose three recipes to make as examples of the range available. There are many others with each chapter focussing on particular emphasises in food or their effects. I chose Can’t beet this dip from Chapter Three – Detox, a Classic Cheesecake from Chapter Four – Protein, and French Toast with Caramelized Bananas from Chapter Twelve – Feed the Soul.

Can’t beet this dip

This makes a very thick paste which is better used as a spread rather than a dip. It has a pleasant yet average flavour to it when made to instructions, even when adding extra garlic and chili as advised. If I were to make this again, I would seriously tweak the flavours. The need to peel and cube 600g of raw beetroots and then roast for just over an hour before making the dip is another reason why this will not become one of my readily used recipes. It does however make a statement on the table with its deep red colour.

Classic Cheesecake

Not exactly cheesecake but a nice vanilla cashew dessert. This recipe has a date and almond crust and requires you to soak cashews then freeze overnight before serving. Adding the lemon zest to the dessert is a must as it brings out the cashew and date flavours. I used a silicon pie tin to make this dessert and enjoyed it, but due to the expense and the time it takes, I will only be revisiting this recipe for special occasions when entertaining vegan friends (it cost $15 for the cashews alone in this recipe).

French Toast with Caramelized Bananas

A lovely breakfast treat, quite quick to make and very tasty. This is simple and would be enjoyed by anyone, no matter what their dietary preferences were. It would be cheaper, of course, if not using gluten-free bread.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

Rating out of 10:  4

Released by: Penguin Australia
Release Date: January 2017
RRP: $35.00 paperback, $16.99 eBook

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Frustrating

It has huge, often expensive ingredient lists and unrealistic time frames for everyday use. This book also assumes that the reader has other books by the same author because some instructions refer you to another of her books instead of providing the information you need in this tome.

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