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LEON’s Baking & Puddings.

leon By: Claire Ptak & Henry Dimbleby
Octopus books, London, 2011

Leon is a London-based chain of fast food restaurants inspired in Mediterranean food founded by food writer and chef Allegra McEvedy, writer and chef Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent.
They’ve published a series of themed books, focused on breakfasts, drinks, vegetarian recipes, and so on.

This book is meant to be more than a coffee-table recipe book, it is beautifully illustrated and contains many great photographs but it’s also well written, with detailed instructions, nutritional information and many low fat, vegetarian and gluten free recipes.

 It is divided in two parts, the first is about everyday recipes such as breakfast bakes, bars, tea bakes and breads and the second focuses on themed celebration such as Easter, Mother’s day, Bonfire Night and Christmas.

The recipes are coded by “level of confidence”, and a series of icons to indicate if a recipe is low in saturated fats, contains good carbs, is wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, etc.

Apart from the odd baked Alaska most recipes are quite easy follow for the intermediate and advanced cook. I’ve baked a scaled down version of their blueberry cheesecake (made it for two); cooked the dried fruit compote; I’ve also baked their seeded loaf that’s under the name of “spelt bread & varistickersations”. It’s a great recipe, although in my case I decided to chop the mixed seeds slightly in the food processor to better incorporate them into the dough.

The book presents itself as a friendly companion to inspire people to prepare treats for friends and family. Most flavours are very straight forward, the presentations have a home-made approach which might encourage beginners to try and actually achieve the same results. And… it comes with stickers! 

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