From winning her first Oscar at age 26 and sobbing through arguably one of the most cringe-worthy acceptance speeches in history, to a lifestyle media and publishing businesswoman, Gwyneth Paltrow has proved she defies categorization. Movie actress, TV star, author, health advocate, beauty mogul, website editor, mother, uncoupling extraordinaire… is there anything this woman can’t do?
With the launch of her new book, It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook, a follow-up to 2013’s It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great, we just had to give a few of the recipes a try. And, of course, share a couple with you too.
While the books have copped some slack (sure Gwyn, it’s all “easy” for you…) there’s no doubt there’s some merit to her method. And her journey from movie star to healthy home cook is a fascinating one.
Somewhere along the line, after her super-success in Emma, Sliding Doors, Shakespeare in Love, and her rise to tabloid gold thanks to high-profile relationships with Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, the actress broke away from the typical Hollywood script and began creating a life written by her own hand.
After marrying Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and having two children – daughter Apple, now 12, and son Moses, now 10 – Gwyneth began exploring a new lifestyle, one centered around a more holistic, balanced way of life. And so in 2008, GOOP was born: an online lifestyle newsletter to “nourish the inner aspect”. It was a rough start for GOOP – the super-expensive shopping options and out-there meal ideas alienated many initial readers and critics flourished. But, over the years, it’s defied its detractors and expanded to become a multi-million-dollar success, with over 3.5 million page views per month.
From GOOP came an organic skincare range and move then a move into the food industry. And that, it seems, is where her current passions lie. Now she’s co-authored her third cookbook (My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness is the other one – long titles must come with the cookbook territory…), which follow the same concepts of whole, healthy, organic eating. Only this time, it’s all easy.
It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook is packed with 125 recipes all with little or no sugar and a low-fat content, as well as loads of gluten-free options. This will come as no surprise to any Paltrow fans aware of her clean-living lifestyle. And for those non-fans, the bookcover of the star holding a crate of green veggies should be a dead giveaway…
You’ll be flicking through pages frantically until you’ve reach the lunchbox ideas section where Gwyneth’s inner supermum shines through. She shows us how to turn last nights’ dinner into acceptable work/school lunches you won’t be ashamed to pull out in font of colleagues. It’s actually really cool.
Here are two recipes from the book – Ginger Carrot Soup and Singapore Rice Noodles – to try this weekend. Delicious and nutritious, you can’t beat that.
GINGER CARROT SOUP
Gluten-free, serves 4
This ubiquitous combo has been around for ages, popping up at spas, restaurants, and even the canned soup aisle at the supermarket. I’ve had a million iterations of this soup, but our version, naturally sweet from slowly sautéed onion and bright with lots of fresh ginger, is particularly good (and easy!). Don’t bother peeling the carrots for this recipe – just give them a good scrub to remove any dirt.
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon garam masala
450g carrots, cut into pieces (about 2½ cups)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt, cover the pot, and sauté over low heat for about 20 minutes, until the onion is very soft and sweet.
Add the garlic and ginger, sauté for 1 minute, then add the cumin, coriander, and garam masala. Sauté for another minute, then add the carrots, stock, and another big pinch of salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for about 20 min- utes, or until the carrots are very tender.
Carefully transfer the soup in batches to a high-speed blender, or blend the soup directly in the pot with an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
SINGAPORE RICE NOODLES
Vegetarian, gluten-free, under 30 minutes, serves 4
These pan-fried noodles are gluten free, full of veggies, and kid-approved (my kids inhale this). The prep does take some time, but once you’re cooking, the dish comes together quickly, so be ready with all the ingredients. Add chicken, shrimp, or beef for a little extra protein, and if you don’t have a wok or a really big nonstick pan, use two smaller pans—these noodles don’t like to be crowded. Pan-frying noodles is not an exact science, so trust your instincts and add a couple more glugs of oil if things are looking dry or starting to stick.
100g thin rice noodles
4 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
½ cup finely chopped broccoli
½ cup chopped green beans
½ cup fresh or frozen peas
200g firm tofu, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon madras curry powder, or more to taste
1 large egg
¼ cup tamari
2 scallions, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt, if desired
Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 10 minutes or according to the package instructions.
Meanwhile, heat a wok or large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat and add
1 tablespoon each of the peanut and sesame oils. When the oils are hot but not smoking, add the onion and cook, untouched, for 1 minute to sear. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes more. Transfer the onion to a bowl.
Add the broccoli, green beans, peas, tofu, and another tablespoon of peanut oil to the pan. Sauté over high heat until the veggies are just cooked through and the tofu is beginning to brown (about 2 minutes); transfer the veggies and tofu to the bowl with the onion.
Add 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, the soaked and drained noodles, curry powder, and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and stir to combine. Make a hole in the middle of the noodles, add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil, and crack in the egg. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon and let scramble until almost cooked through, then mix in with the noodles.
Add the tamari, scallions, and cilantro and stir everything to combine. Taste for seasoning, add salt if necessary, and serve.
Words Talia Liolios