Lighten Up by Jill Dupleix

Lately, I have had to dive in this book a lot, summer holidays are approaching, and I will no doubt spend time among beautifully shaped, slim human beings parading in their swimming costumes so if I don't want to pack a burqa and a nun outfit, for good measure, I needed to do a bit of research, et voila........

“Lighten Up” by Jill Dupleix is part of a genre: “Healthy Approach To Cooking.” You will not need me to tell you that the “HATCH” books emerge in the spring from the depth of winter’s extra layers. They spring up on shelves and in booksellers’ windows with an ostentation attitude which can be dispiriting. What an awful thought that of another load of diet food cookbooks, but this is not the case of Jill Dupleix’s latest book.

Jill Dupleix was named cookery writer in 2005, and she was the Times Cook for six years; in 2008 she won the Guild of Food Writers Award for work on healthy eating, so she knows what she writes about and when she shows us how to LIGHTEN UP our cooking, she makes sure that our taste-buds will be satisfied.

This books offers a gently lifestyle change without the rigours and the bullying tactics of some other “healthy diets.” Recipes do not include deep frying nor cream, of course, but the taste is never compromised.

Attracted by the mouthwatering photography, I tried and tasted “Zucchin crostini.” Jill Dupleix is also a food stylist and chef at Soho’s Quo Vadis and it shows.

Believe it or not, I had never poached an egg before this recipe. Why? I thought it was too complicated. Not with this book. Each recipe has an easy to follow step-by-step layout. The end product was a lovely meal: layers of prosciutto, shavings of buttery courgettes, topped by a perfect poached egg, the “lot” piled on a sliced of grilled sourdough, a delight.

In this book, you will find lots of recipes to try from breakfast to dessert. Have a go at Lemon Yogurt Cupcakes.

Published by Quadrille


Makes 10

125g/4oz butter, softened
125g/4oz caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
1tbsp finely grated lemon zest
2tbsp lemon juice
180g/6oz plain flour
1tsp baking powder
200ml/7fl oz natural yogurt
4tbsp icing sugar
A dash of lemon juice
100g/31/2oz mixed berries
1tbsp lemon zest

HEAT the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
SET 10 paper muffin cases in a large muffin tray.
BEAT the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
ADD the egg yolks one at a time, beating well.
BEAT in the lemon zest and juice.
SIFT the flour and baking powder together.
FOLD into the cake mixture, alternating with the yogurt.
WHISK the egg whites in a clean bowl to firm peaks.
FOLD into the mixture.
FILL the paper cases. BAKE for 30 minutes.
COOL on a wire rack.
MIX the icing sugar with lemon juice thicken.
SPREAD on top of the cakes, add a berry or two or some lemon zest, and leave to set.

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