We caught up with Diana Henry to chat diets, Japanese food and get the low down on her stunning new cookbook A change of Appetite.
Click here for Diana’s awesome Japanese chicken and smashed cucumber salad
Calorie counting is a disaster’ laughed Diana Henry, ‘faddy diets just don’t work, and I have done them all. Most women say that their life has been a battle between ice burg lettuce and chocolate cake and that they would like to make peace. Eating good food should be a matter of course and that is what I have done, a collection of recipes that are really good for you and won’t leave you feeling deprived.’
Talking about A change of Appetite, her fabulous new cookbook with a collection of recipes carefully researched to be healthy, perfectly executed to keep you satisfied and made to look utterly, utterly beautiful. It is the cookbook we have all been waiting for, the one you can reach for anytime, love everything and not regret what you ate afterwards.
‘This is one of the hardest books I have ever had to write. The research nearly killed me. I was so frightened about saying the wrong thing, I had to get to grips with it properly.’ Talking about the principles of eating the right foods, Diana set to learning about calories and what sugar actually meant for the body.
Her months of careful research have been translated in to the recipes in her book, and several carefully planed sections that explain the pitfalls of these buzz words without scaremongering or sounding dull.
Diana Henry A change of Appetite is so on the money. It’s exactly how we should be eating. It is what we can eat, rather than what we can’t – in her words ‘it’s better to say – look you can have this and it’s bloody delicious.’
She used lots of fresh, colourful food, made at the right time, from countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Burma, where the food tends to be naturally healthy. She picked up on different principles of food. ‘A 1/3 of the pleasure from food comes visually, before you even sit down to eat. That was the biggest Eastern influence I took away. I don’t want to sounds too Californian, but I went to some Japanese restaurants and there was a sort of zen-ness about how they approached their food. Texture was so important, the different cooking methods in one meal and colour. It’s great to be aware of all this stuff.’
A particularly divine Japanese ginger and garlic chicken dish, roasted until sticky and served with a cooling smashed cucumber salad says it all. ‘This is my favourite dish in the book and it’s where people should start. It’s the ultimate dish where you will not lose out; the flavours contract, the chicken is hot and spicy and the cucumber cold. I put my cucumber right at the back so that it is almost frozen, and oh my god the icy shards with that hot chicken is bloody amazing’ We could not have put it better ourselves.
A Change of Appetite by Diana Henry, published by Mitchell Beazley, £25 octopusbooks.co.uk
Image of Diana Henry by Chris Terry/ Getty