I would normally avoid any cookbook with the word "healthy" on the cover, but then I noticed that Yotam Ottolenghi wrote the blurb. Ottolenghi is the author of several excellent books, including Jerusalem, Plenty and Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, in which he gives recipes that are healthy (mostly, anyway) but he doesn't make that their selling point.
A Change of Appetite is by Diana Henry, the award-winning journalist who has a cooking column in The Sunday Telegraph and has written several other cookbooks, including Cook Simple, A Bird in the Hand and Salt Sugar Smoke.
In the introduction, Henry writes, "We angst about food all the time … and yet there is clearly something very wrong with the Western diet. Rates of obesity and type-2 diabetes are soaring; heart disease and cancer are commonplace … I gradually realised that friends weren't asking me for recipes for cakes any longer, but for advice on what to do with a tuna steak and how to cook quinoa … My biggest problem was thinking about food in terms of 'healthy' or 'unhealthy'. I can't think of meals as sets of nutrients. The term 'healthy' does negative things to me (in fact, I struggled with whether to put the word on the front of this book). It makes me think of miserable, beige food …
"I settled on two terms that I liked and would guide me. First, I was going to eat food that was 'accidentally healthy'. It had to be delicious, healthiness was a bonus. Second, I was going to practice 'considered eating' … I would think about what I was consuming, but I wasn't going to be slavish … Deprivation is not on the menu."
Many of the recipes are inspired by the Mediterranean and Middle East, where the food is delicious and "accidentally healthy", but Henry also writes about Japanese, Vietnamese and Indian dishes.
The chapters are divided by season, and recipes include Peruvian chicken soup; crab with chilli and garlic; Sicilian artichoke and broad bean salad with saffron dressing; salad of smoked anchovies, green beans and egg; pollo alla diavola with green beans and Sicilian breadcrumbs; warm duck salad with plum-ginger dressing and sesame; and beef carpaccio with beluga lentils, horseradish and buttermilk.