Andrew Gonsalves reviews Michelin starred pastry chef Marisa Churchill’s guide to cooking guilt free treats
We all like cake, don’t we? Be honest, though we bang on about our 5-a day habit and make a point of checking in at the gym and telling Facebook, Twitter and the ENTIRE WORLD, all we really want is a big fat slice of Victoria sponge.
Now this poses something of a problem, see no one likes a fatty, and this goes double for the gays. In a scene obsessed with killer abs and buns of steel, gorging oneself on half a cheesecake in one sitting (don’t look at us like you haven’t) is something of a faux pas.
So it seems Marisa Churchill was thinking of the gays when she wrote Sweet & Skinny, a selection of 100 recipes for guilt-free goodies.
Former Food Network chef Marisa has used her skills as a pastry chef, honed in a Michelin starred restaurant in San Francisco, to create a range of recipes that run the gamut from Boston cream pie (150 calories a slice) to papaya mint popsicles (90 calories each), each looking, in the photographs at least, like little tastes of Heaven.
These recipes really are quite accessible. Most of the concoctions are laid out over one side of the book, rather than being recipes that go on for pages. This makes is easier for someone who’s pathologically afraid of cooking, to summon up the confidence to attempt one of the creations in the book.
Now this is an American book by an American author, and it shows. There are measures in cups and references to US foods peppered throughout, and it’s slightly irritating that these haven’t been changed for the British print run, but this is no real barrier to creating the treats in the book.
Most of the recipes do not require any expensive or hard-to-source ingredients, and none of the foods featured in the book will break the bank, and while it would be cheaper to pick up some of Mr Kipling’s finest we doubt highly that they’d be as good (less bad) for you, and eating them certainly wouldn’t bring that satisfaction that comes from eating something prepared at home.
Sweet & Skinny is available to buy through Amazon