Many of my recipes have originated from the following cookbooks, which sit proudly in my kitchen cupboards, ready for the next time I fancy trying my hand at cooking something new and exciting. I'll often use the a recipe from these cookbooks for the first few times and then begin to swap and change parts to make it even healthier or more to my taste. It's an easy way of teaching yourself how to cook and build up the confidence to create your own recipes.
1. WeightWatchers Essential Cookbooks - Four great books in one pack!
This book is technically four books in one. It includes a book of spicy recipes (the source of inspiration for my Chicken Tikka Recipe), Pasta Recipes (where my Bolognese recipe and Italian Meatballs was first conceived), Family Meals and 30 Minute meals - think Jamie Oliver meets WeightWatchers! (which inspired my Cottage Pie.)
All four books can be bought separately (see below) and each book provides pictures, easy steps and nutritional information, including WeightWatchers Points. They taste great and run along the theme of 'healthy alternative ingredients', so think ditching added sugar and salt in favour of herbs and spices, using semi-skimmed milk instead of full fat, and using brown instead of white when it comes to bread. There's also an emphasis on portion control when it comes to pasta and meat.
Despite the title of this book, the book is filled with some pretty sophisticated dishes with impressively easy methods of making them. My lasagne, for instance is based on the method found in this book, modified over time to become healthier and lower in calories.
If you're very new to the kitchen, like I was, then student cookbooks are a brilliant way to introduce yourself to the cooking skill. This book is a little different to regular recipe books in that the measurements do not require equipment such as food scales and measuring cups. Instead it uses regular kitchen items like spoons and mugs!
3. Other good sources of recipes
For those who like to use their computers and iPads to source recipes, a good place to look for healthy tasty recipes is the BBC's Good Food Guide website. For magazines, look no further than the Healthy Food Guide which provides extensive information on the nutrition on the recipes designed by nutritionists.
Buy the books here (look how cheap they are!):