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Book Review: Tiny Kitchen Feast by Natalie Rodriguez

By Leigh O’Connor.

Chef, Natalie Rodriguez is also a self-proclaimed poet, wife, dog Mum and full-time traveller from the USA. Growing up in her Puerto Rican grandmother’s kitchen, she has a natural affinity for cooking and now takes this on the road with her wife Abigail.

Three years and counting of cooking out of a van has resulted in her cookbook ‘Tiny Kitchen Feast’ – a collection of recipes from a travelling Chef, which are all plant-based and delicious.

As a trained Chef and ‘van-lifer’, Natalie shows us that cooking in a tiny kitchen can result in bold, dynamic and un-boring meals – life on the road doesn’t mean sacrificing good food.

Book Review: Tiny Kitchen Feast by Natalie Rodriguez
Alongside her delicious and flavourful recipes, Natalie shares the lessons she has learnt while cooking on the road. She and wife Abigail started an Instagram account and the YouTube channel ‘Let’s Play Ride and Seek’, which have more than 30K and 40K followers respectively, where they share jaw-dropping images of their travels as well as recipe reels.

How did she get the bug to go on the road? After attending the Culinary Institute of Charleston in 2013, Natalie quickly started a career as a Chef but after more than a decade of the food and beverage grind, she felt a relentless pull to travel and expand her humanity.

She and Abigail quit their jobs, sold all of their belongings and bought a van to travel around the US. After three years on the road, Natalie has cooked in just about every landscape you can think of from Baja and Mexico to Canada and Alaska.

Book Review: Tiny Kitchen Feast by Natalie Rodriguez
Her easy and accessible recipes are proof that wholesome food can be made by any cook, in almost any space. Try this recipe for loaded potato pancakes and tell us what you think!

"Potato pancakes are such a fun way to add to a brunch spread especially when you roll all the flavours of brunch into one pancake, as I’ve done here. If you are a fan of sweet and savoury brunch food and dare to be adventurous, these would be great topped with a sweet fruit compote or syrup, too,” Natalie explains.

Book Review: Tiny Kitchen Feast by Natalie Rodriguez
Albondigas guisadas is a personal favourite - these Puerto Rican-style no-meat meatballs pack in a lot of flavour, sofrito plays a big role in the flavour profile and you can do a lot with them. Whichever way you choose to enjoy them, they will become a fan favourite among your family and friends.

Pasta lovers will salivate over Natalie’s recipe for creamy butternut squash pasta with coconut bacon and gingersnap crumble.

"I thought of this recipe when I was selling holiday sites around my neighbourhood. Before taking off on the road, I would make a little extra money each year by making a small menu of sides that people could pick up, ready to go for dinner.”

Book Review: Tiny Kitchen Feast by Natalie Rodriguez
"I took Fall flavours and incorporated them into this creation, but it tastes good at any time of year. Pair this dish with a warm cider by the fire.”

This book is perfect for the home cook who is looking for bold and flavourful dishes but might not have a spacious kitchen. 

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