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So Delish! (Styling and photography: Jane Yee)
So Delish! (Styling and photography: Jane Yee)

OPINIONKaiJuly 7, 2020

Grazing boards and frozen grapes: A review of Simone Anderson’s cookbook

So Delish! (Styling and photography: Jane Yee)
So Delish! (Styling and photography: Jane Yee)

If you’ve ever wondered what influencers have to offer to the world, look no further than Simone Anderson’s new recipe book So Delish!, which will revolutionise the way you put things on plates and in freezers.

You know what I’m tired of? Professional cooks publishing cookbooks. Boring. If I ever fancy making coconut tamarind prawns, seared duck breast with plum sauce or butternut pumpkin velouté with curry roasted scallops, I know that the likes of Annabel, Nadia and Josh have me covered. It’s the same old story – career cook pens a recipe book and we all use it to make delicious meals. Change the record already. 

What about those times when I just want to freeze some fruit, or crisp up some wraps? Who can tell me how to execute these culinary delights?

Thankfully, our very own super-influencer Simone Anderson has bravely stepped up to the platter with her recently released cookbook So Delish!

On the outside, So Delish! looks like any other recipe book. The cover features Simone standing at the kitchen counter, a grazing board of fresh fruit, veges, crackers and dairy products laid out before her. The blurb on the back says Simone is known as “the platter queen” and, look, I’m not sure who else was in the running for that title, but anyone who has the audacity to put whole cos lettuce leaves and raw cauliflower florets out for guests is definitely revolutionary. 

A word of warning: if you’re not into vegetables, this might not be the book for you. As a mum of three, when it comes to preparing meals I can hide veges as if they’re charity donation receipts. Simone, however, puts mother nature’s finest front and centre in most of her recipes. 

A cursory flip through So Delish! reveals much of what you’d expect; glossy full-page photos of delectable dishes like chicken poké bowl, grilled masala fish with pineapple salsa and parmesan, ricotta and eggplant involtini. So far so cookbook-y. Yawning with the predictability of it all, I was ready to close this chapter on So Delish! and send it off to the cookbook graveyard that is my hallway shelves. Then something caught my eye. A recipe so unique it couldn’t be ignored.

Frozen grapes!

Friends, let me tell you about frozen grapes. Simone has dedicated two entire pages of her book to these icy morsels. She doesn’t trust me to get grapes from the fruit bowl to the ice box without incident, and after my recent encounter with a loose lid on a container of freezer-bound soup, quite frankly, neither do I. 

The frozen grapes ingredients list is brief, requiring just one bunch of red or green grapes or – and this is where it gets jazzy – a mix of both. Honestly, slow the fuck down. 

Legend has it, Simone shared this “hack” on her Instagram stories and the people, they loved it. Thanks to Simone, there are more grapes being tossed into freezers than there are Google searches about adrenochrome

The recipe blurb is three paragraphs long and clarifies that “this is not exactly a recipe – or even something that needs explaining”. And yet here we are. The method itself? A svelte 30 words in length.

It’s hard to tell you much about this recipe without sharing the whole damn thing and it’s important to give credit where it’s due. So to be clear, the following is the brainchild of Simone Anderson, influencer and now recipe developer extraordinaire:

Line a large oven tray with baking paper.

Spread the grapes out into a single layer on the prepared tray. Pop in the freezer and wait until frozen before eating. 

Of course you’d have to make sure your freezer can accommodate an entire baking tray, which may mean buying a new fridge-freezer, but I think we can agree it’s worth the outlay. 

Your mind is blown, I know, and the good news is it doesn’t stop there. So Delish! also has entire recipes dedicated to crisping store-bought tortillas in the oven, cutting up fruit and putting it on a plate and microwaving popcorn in a bag. If you’re after something a little more retro, Simone can guide you through piercing cubes of fruit and cheese to create an old school orange hedgehog.

The writing in So Delish! is as inspiring as the recipes. The introduction outlines how Simone dropped a whopping 92kg by changing her exercise and food habits after being disappointed at hitting 169kg in 2014. She explains she needed to find a way of eating that involved “no quick fixes and no limiting of food groups”.

It appears to have worked. Simone seems happy and radiant! I am miserable and dull! Perhaps I need to take a lettuce leaf out of her book and whip my mind and body into shape by including platters and an F45 sponsorship in my diet? Funnily enough, Simone doesn’t mention anywhere in So Delish! the fact she had bariatric surgery, which might have had a little bit more to do with losing all that weight than platters and frozen grapes. I guess it’s hard to remember these tiny details when you’re super busy putting store-bought food on chopping boards.

In the blurb for her zucchini frittata, I learnt Simone doesn’t like using the word “moist” and tries to avoid doing so wherever possible. Except for when she’s writing about zucchini frittata, apparently.

In her recipe for bunless burgers, Simone swaps out evil bready buns for lettuce leaves and writes “you honestly won’t even notice the difference”. That’s a bold call, I can usually tell a lettuce leaf from a bread roll. Mind you, I can’t tell the difference between Simone’s sponsored content and genuine endorsements, so perhaps I’m the one with the problem?

And just like that I’m doubting myself, which puts me in the perfect position to be influenced. Well played Simone, well played. 

Keep going!