Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Celebrations. A year of gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo recipes for every occasion.
As an avid follower of Danielle Walker and her blog “Against all Grain” I have been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Celebrations and feasting on the recipes within. On receiving my copy I knew that my excitement was justified and I hadn’t been let down!
Celebrations is a beautifully presented cookbook featuring paleo, gluten-free and grain-free recipes. The gorgeous photography complements the recipes perfectly which are clearly explained and lovingly prepared. This is a fantastic third edition to the Danielle Walker cookbooks and is a must have for those who follow a gluten-free, grain-free or dairy-free diet.
What I LOVE #1
In developing this cookbook, Danielle Walker has solved a problem that many of us who follow restricted diets face on a regular basis – the inability to enjoy the next party or special event because we can’t eat a bloody thing on the menu! Danielle dishes up recipe after recipe of delicious snacks, starters, mains and desserts designed specifically for enjoying nearly every special occasion throughout the year. This book is perfect for those who currently (or seek to) follow a paleo diet, have dietary restrictions, or cook for others with dietary restrictions.
The recipes are categorised according to occasion (clever, very clever). But don’t be concerned about putting the book down and not being able to find the recipe you wanted if you forget which celebration it belongs to – Danielle has also provided a recipe index at the back of the book which follows a more conventional structure so that you can easily locate your recipe according to “Breakfast”, “Starters”, “Mains” etc.
What I LOVE #2
Danielle provides tips and tricks throughout the book on making meals ahead of time and storing them in the pantry, fridge or freezer. This is perfect if you are planning a large event and have a number of dishes to organise. It’s also helpful if you like to cook up a batch of meals on the weekend for the week ahead. Danielle also provides information on using alternative ingredients, as well as the best ingredients to use in various recipes, a bonus for readers who are not accustomed to paleo cooking.
What I LOVE #3
Danielle has incorporated a “Special Diets Index” at the back of the book. While the book is already filled with recipes that are gluten, grain and dairy free, Danielle utilises this index to identify recipes that are also egg-free, nut-free, nightshade free, and SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet). She has clearly done her homework as to the diets followed by her readers and she takes every effort to accommodate them.
What Could be Better
My one main concern in all of Danielle’s books is that she frequently uses palm shortening in her baking recipes. This is not an ingredient that is readily accessible in Australia and therefore may put some readers off-side. Baking is often one of the hardest things to get right if you follow a paleo diet, and therefore, the ingredients list should be both easy to source and easy to use. In some recipes Danielle recommends an alternative, such as butter, however this is not consistent.
Taste and Test – Recipe #1 – Cupids Arrow Pancakes (pgs 68-69)
Pancakes are one of the hardest things to make when it comes to a Paleo diet as you simply don’t have the luxury of the gluten binding the ingredients together. I’ve tried a number of grain-free recipes that haven’t worked so was very excited to try this one. And I have to tell you – this is the best recipe for grain-free pancakes I’ve ever tried! It’s extremely quick to prepare, doesn’t require much equipment and the ingredients are readily accessible. The pancakes cook VERY well and are easy to manoeuvre once poured onto the frypan. They taste delicious served with fresh fruits and a drizzle of maple. While this particular recipe was served slightly differently in the book so as to suit the theme of Valentines Day, I couldn’t resist eating them just as they were. This is a must try if you love pancakes.
…this is the best recipe for grain-free pancakes I’ve ever tried!
Taste and Test – Recipe #2 – Sweet and Sour Meatballs (pgs50-51)
This recipe was a hit in our house with both my husband and two-year-old gobbling it up! It was particularly easy to make and the ingredients are generally well known and accessible (apart from perhaps coconut aminos which is a soy sauce alternative which has become particularly popular in the world of paleo cooking world in recent years). The taste was a perfect mix of sweet and sour, although was very tomato heavy. The meal itself is very simple and was perfect on its own with some quinoa, however it could easily incorporate extras such as capsicum, snow peas or some juicy pineapple! Something to try for next time!
Taste and Test – Recipe #3 – Thumbprint Cookies (pgs 302-303)
I very much wanted to give one of Danielle’s gorgeous looking cakes a try, however, I didn’t have a reason to make a full sized cake. I chose instead the Thumbprint Cookies in the hope that my two-year-old would enjoy them after a day at childcare. Little did I realise that he wouldn’t be the only one to enjoy them, with Hubby tucking into one as soon as he saw them. Rather than using jam, I topped them off with some of my own Paleo Lemon Butter (coming!) and they worked a treat. They were super easy to make and took very little prep and oven time. I suspect they will become a regular in our house!
Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Celebrations is a gorgeous book that is well worth the buy! The recipes are wholesome and delicious and provide you with the tools to create perfect meals for those special occasions, whether you are cooking for yourself, for friends and family or specifically for those with dietary restrictions.
Find it at your local bookstore or on Amazon at: