What's not to love about the latest pint-sized books from healthy fast food chain? This beautiful compact series of four hardbacks feature a selection of recipes from the popular large Leon cookbooks. Choose from Breakfast & Brunch; Brownies, Bars & Muffins; Smoothies, Juices & Cocktails and Soups Salads & Snacks.
Much like choosing a favourite child, it is an impossible task, so you're best to have all four in your kitchen - you will use them all. That's the things with Leon cookbooks, the recipes aren't about spending hours in the kitchen, but more about bringing family and friends together with simple, gutsy, happy food. The recipes are familiar, comforting and failsafe - they are recipes you'll find yourself turning to time and time again.
I cook a lot. Sometimes I will tackle complex and challenging dishes, but more often than not I just need a little inspiration for everyday, quick and easy, good-for-you food. That is what these little books do so well. Take the Breakfast & Brunch book and their recipe for Porridge. OK, I might not need to be told how to make a bowl of porridge, but the list of suggested porridge toppers are all the inspiration you need to take your oats to another level. I love the recipe for Saturday Pancakes - the perfect way to start the weekend. Again, the recipe comes with tips for toppings - caramelized apple & cream; blueberries, sliced banana & agave syrup or a decadent chocolate, banana & agave syrup. I'm currently working through all three.
Brownies, Bars & Muffins is the perfect little baking book - and it's got some healthy bakes in there too. The Better Brownie recipe is a must if you've never tried it before, as are Nana Goy's Cranberry Flapjacks. Other gems in this book are the guilt-free Sugar-free Vanilla Cupcakes and the Bar of Good Things - both perfect for kids (and adults) lunch boxes. There is a recipe for Tommi's More-Fruit-Than-Cake Cake, which I am keen to try - with ingredients such as spelt flour, honey, cloves, cinnamon, dried figs and red wine, it seems the perfect cake to bake now that we are in Autumn, don't you think?
Smoothies, Juices & Cocktails covers every kind of thirst quencher you might desire. There are oh-so-good-for-you smoothies, including Energy Booster Smoothie, a delicious Almond Smoothie and seasonal classics like the Blackberry Power Smoothie. You'll find recipes for coolers for the summer and warmers for the winter such as Hot Chocolate 5 Ways, which will no doubt become a cocoa-and-milk-splattered page in my recipe book in the coming months.
Finally, Soups Salads & Snacks certainly earns its keep on my bookshelf. It's great for a bit of lunchtime inspiration. I always seem to plan ahead when it comes to dinners, but never for lunch. There are some great Soups, such as Roasted Pumpkin Soup with a Zing which will cheer up any dull autumn days and for when a sandwich just won't cut-the-mustard, there is Things on Toast - a page full of inventive and tasty ways to jazz up a humble slice of toast.
All in all, the Little Leons collection would appeal to both experienced and novice cooks, young and old (I've recently bought them as gifts for kids parties). I like to think of this series as the culinary equivalent of a 'greatest hits album' - a compilation of recipes that you'll never tire of.
Images from top: Little Leon Cookbook Series | Porridge | Saturday Pancakes |Nana Goy's Cranberry Flapjacks | Energy Booster Smoothie | Hot Chocolate 5 Ways | Pumpkin Soup with a Zing | Things on Toast.
Little LEONS: Smoothies, Juices and Cocktails by Henry Dimbleby, Kaye Plunkett-Hogge, John Vincent and Claire Ptak, published by Conran Octopus, £6.99 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk)
Little LEONS: Breakfast & Brunch by Henry Dimbleby, Kaye Plunkett-Hogge, John Vincent and Claire Ptak, published by Conran Octopus, £6.99 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk)
Little LEONS: Brownies, Bars & Muffins by Henry Dimbleby, Kaye Plunkett-Hogge, John Vincent and Claire Ptak, published by Conran Octopus, £6.99 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk)
Little LEONS: Soups, Salads & Snacks by Henry Dimbleby, Kaye Plunkett-Hogge, John Vincent and Claire Ptak, published by Conran Octopus, £6.99 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk)