Going back to winter last year on a cold Monday morning, sitting around the table having our weekly meeting and talking about the festive season approaching, we got onto the idea of doing a Christmas menu. This led to talks and daydreams of having our very own Lucy Bee Cookbook, which we soon realised required a lot of time and so decided to put it on hold.
Fast forward a couple of months to a detox in full swing and the January blues not so bad, I began flicking through my emails with a green tea in hand, only to come across an email from a book publisher called Quadrille. After reading the email over a couple of times with Petrina, we soon replied saying we would love to meet up with them and explore this further. (When we got this email we thought it was spam!!)
On the train into London, Petrina and I were telling each other not to get too excited - we really didn’t know what to expect. We were sitting in Quadrille’s head office, with new titles on display all around us, and were greeted by Diana (Head of Special Sales) who took us into the meeting room where we also met Lisa (Commissioning Editor) and Inez (International Sales).
They explained how they had been following us on social media and were big fans of Lucy Bee Coconut Oil, so wanted to do a book with us. We couldn’t believe it!
We left with huge smiles and on the walk back to the station did an odd celebratory dance! The plan was to swing by Borough Market for a juice but we spotted the Shard and one thing led to another and before we knew it, we were on the top floor looking out over London with a cocktail in hand, making calls to everyone in the office to tell them the good news.
We did joke that if it didn’t actually end up going through would we be able to get a refund on our drinks?
We had 8 weeks to get all of our recipes sent over to Quadrille, so this meant the whole team had to get their cooking hats on and get creative in the kitchen.
This was challenging at times, as none of us are trained chefs. Making up new recipes, using old family favourites, endless recipe testing and ensuring they were good enough to be in the Lucy Bee Cookbook. It was a lot of hard work, stress, and as I mentioned above, eating, but the end result was really satisfying.
Our main guidelines for the recipes were that they should include Lucy Bee Coconut Oil; were gluten free (as I am a coeliac); and use natural ingredients, as close to nature as possible.
We grow our own vegetables at home and like to eat in season and in the book we wanted to have a variety of ingredients that were suitable for all year round. So, the general idea was clean, easy recipes that were easy to make and not too much of a ‘faff’.
Looking over our final recipes was a great feeling, with a real mixture of ideas that will suit everyone. Our chapters in the book included:
• The Introduction- a chapter on our favourite kitchen gadgets plus some tips on using Lucy Bee for beauty, such as a body scrub
• A Breakfast and Brunch chapter- we love to get creative with breakfast so here we have recipes such as Smoked Haddock and Horseradish Muffins and Coconut Granola
• Lunch Recipes - these consist of easy to prepare ideas such as Quinoa Sushi and gluten free Chicken Fingers
• Quick Supper’s - one of my favourites in here is Chicken Breast with Olive, Sage and Walnut or Salt and Pepper Squid
• Slow cooks - perfect for lazy Sundays and includes things like Tarragon Roast Chicken and a Lentil & Vegetable Moussaka
• Vegetable and Sides - spicing up your plate with some ideas such as our Sweet Potato Nachos or Roast Potatoes
• Soups and Salads - perfect for quick lunches such as Carrot and Coconut Soup or Halloumi Salad
• Desserts - we all deserve a treat every now and then so try out our Blackberry and Lemon Sauce Pudding or a delicious Raspberry and Cacao Crumble
• Cakes and Cookies - you can have great fun in the kitchen making these delicious masterpieces, eg. our Polenta and Lemon Cake or Raw Brownies
• Lucy’s Larder - this includes more recipes, sauces, dips, dressings, stocks, seed mixes, jams and also a section on the nutritional information of the most used ingredients in the book. We are not nutritionists so this is the general knowledge you will find online but I always love reading the benefits of the food I am eating!
In April, the deliveryman arrived with box upon box of props for the photoshoot. I have never seen anything like it! We had three big tables full of props with the most beautiful cutlery, plates and vases to use for that week’s photos and then another delivery of fresh props for the second week.
Next, the crew of girls turned up and it was a room of excited chaos. I soon realised the amount of work that goes into the shooting of a book. The crew consisted of:
• Two food stylists at all times. Their job was to cook and style the food to not only test the recipes but so the dishes looked beautiful for the photos. It was my first time watching someone uses tweezers to place pieces of pepper and parsley onto a dish and use water sprays to make the food look hydrated and glossy. Thank you again to Emily, Jenna and Poppy for all your work in the kitchen making the food look delicious. I feel here is a good time to add that I got to assist the whole shoot and also got to eat ALL the food that was made over those two weeks. I was a very happy lady and in need of the gym after week two!
• The photographers, Ria and Hannah. They both worked so hard to make the photos beautiful. Using special tips and tricks, like using leafs to get the perfect lighting for a photo. We were really lucky with the weather and it was two weeks of sunshine. I would go into more detail on the tips and tricks for perfect lighting but I am worried these are top-secret!!
• The ladies of Quadrille who assisted, Lisa, Katherine (the art director who had done an amazing job of designing the layout for each shot ahead of any food even being cooked) and Emily. It was great working alongside you all throughout this.
• Props - Holly did an amazing job at making sure the right prop was in the photo. We even had beautiful fresh flowers for the second week where we shot all the desserts and tasty treats. (This is why I needed to head to the gym come the second week!)
It was great fun and we all learnt so much from the girls, seeing how much work really does go into a book!!
I have never wished away the summer before and never thought there would be a time I would, but I must admit, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the first copy of the book after sending off the final edits for the last time.
When a book was eventually sent to us, it was so surreal – to actually touch and hold the finished thing!. All the hard work had paid off and we are so, so happy with the outcome of it. It still seems a bit of a daydream and I can’t actually believe we have a book coming out. I am not sure when it will properly sink in!
Now that we’d got the book printed, we wanted to share it with the world, so our next priority was the Press Book Launch.
We held a Breakfast Event at The Good Housekeeping Kitchen just off Oxford Street. The whole team was there - family and friends all ready to offer a hand to help.
We had the best day meeting journalists and bloggers. They were greeted with food from the book, hand massages and manicures using Lucy Bee. We also did cooking demonstrations of the Quinoa Pancakes and our Paella.
It went really well and we received lots of positive feedback. I actually had 'event blues' the day after!
I also had my first ever phone interview with The Times, which came out last week. I actually have a slight phobia of phone calls so this was a very big deal for me but after having a great chat with Richard I felt really happy and excited for what’s to come.
I haven’t got the full list of where we will be stocked but at this moment I know you can buy the book from Amazon, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Whole Foods, Urban Outfitters, Selfridges, WH Smith. Waterstones, Nature's Healthbox and Asda.
The book is also available in Australia and New Zealand from all good book stores or through our publishers Hardie Grant Australia !!!
I can’t wait to hear what you all think of it and I’m looking forward to hearing what recipes you try and what your favourites are. Mine change daily!!
About Lucy Bee Limited
Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and eating close to nature with additive free products for health.
Members of the Lucy Bee team are not medically trained and can only offer their best advice. Any information provided by us is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
Please note you should always refer your health queries to a qualified medical practitioner.
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Hi, I’m Lucy, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog and would love to hear your feedback. You can get in touch with me on Instagram or Twitter anytime, where I love hearing your thoughts and sharing your tips for healthy living.