I got excited when I first found out that Yvette Van Boven was releasing a new cookbook in the US. I had the pleasure of meeting her about a year ago during her book tour for Home Made Christmas. She and her husband Oof are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I really believe that her endearing personality comes across in her cookbooks: in the little recipe sketch drawings, and in the little stories she writes. I often skip recipe introduction when I flip through a cookbook, but I won’t skip hers.
The latest book (available Oct. 15th) by Van Boven is “Home Made In The Oven: Truly Easy, Comforting Recipes For Baking, Broiling, And Roasting.” There’s over 80 recipes, I believe, all meant to be cooked in the oven. The book is simply broken down by:
- Fish and Meat
Each of these sections have recipes that are categorized by month, but don’t assume there’s an equal amount of recipes for each month. There are five January recipes in the Vegetables chapter, and nothing for July or August. To be fair, those are hot months in the Northern Hemisphere and therefore turning on the oven is the last thing anyone wants to do. The reality is there are only three July recipes and one August recipe in the whole book.
Each recipe comes with a sketch of how to make it, and a little photo in the top right hand corner. And I do mean little. Without grabbing a ruler, I estimate the photos are a little more than an inch by an inch and a half. The sketches are cute, and the recipes are fairly simple and straightforward (that does not equate to boring).
Here are the recipes that I’m most interested in making:
- Sweet potato and spinach gratin
- Leftover focaccia
- Cupboard cannelloni
- Smoky butternut squash and papaya salad
- Oven asparagus with cashew cream
- Stuffed autumn portobellos
- Comforting meatballs (I’ve never seen a beef meatball with shrimp in it before)
- Salmon, fennel and lemon with spinach miso-mayo
- Apple almond crumble
- Clementine yogurt cake
- Almond apple cake
- Baked apples with blueberries
- Royal carrot cake muesli bars
- Peach scone pie
- Blackberry ricotta cake
- Yogurt cake with lemon and ginger
- Chocolate nut cake
For now though, I made the veggie filo pie (which is technically a May recipe even though it’s currently October – but it’s fine! There’s nothing very seasonal in this dish). I’ve never bothered making a filo pie on my own before so recipe testing seemed as good a time as any. It has leeks, garlic, spinach, chickpeas, egg, ricotta, nutmeg, smoked paprika, and crumbled feta. You make the filling, pile some filo dough strategically in a pan, and then bake.
It was so easy to make! It’s not unhealthy either, since Van Boven’s point to this dish is to eat more vegetables.
It seems pretty easy to customize. Since I have some leftover ingredients, I plan on making a second time this weekend. But I’m tempted to change the spices. While I love nutmeg and smoked paprika, I felt like nutmeg was the dominant flavor. I have an overwhelming urge to try curry powder or ras el hanout? I haven’t decided yet. (Your comments will be considered if you have other ideas.)
In general, the whole book is very approachable. I can’t really think of a recipe in it that’s too intimidating. If you’re picky about high quality glossy cookbook photos, then maybe this book isn’t for you, but I think everyone else will enjoy it through and through.
Disclaimer – I kindly received this book from Abrams for this review. I’m not getting paid for this post. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own.