Eat Beautiful: Cooking Your Way to Great Skin with Wendy Rowe

The British makeup artist’s new cookbook will keep your complexion glowing from the inside out…

There’s been a boom in beauty-focused cookbooks. The latest volume you’ll want to crack open and get out the mixing bowls for: Eat Beautiful: Food and Recipes to Nourish Your Skin from the Inside Out, from the influential British makeup artist Wendy Rowe. With a client list that includes Nicole Kidman, Cameron Diaz and Sienna Miller (who penned the introduction to this cookbook), Rowe has an appealing down-to-earth approach to skincare, focused on the premise that taking care of your body helps everything else function at its best. Products matter and “skincare is important, of course,” says Rowe, “but eating a range of good-quality, skin-friendly foods — seasonal and organically produced when possible — will provide the best foundation.” Doing this, she says, “ensures your skin has a healthy glow.”

The book includes more than 70 recipes, all of which are organized by season to emphasize local ingredients at their nutrient-rich peak and boost your complexion. (Of course, you can cook out of season but personally I like how this narrowed the options — staring at 70 recipes and wondering where to begin can be daunting for a home cook). There’s also DIY recipes for homemade masks, scrubs, mists and cleansers, plus Rowe’s “golden rules” to great skin (no raw foods after 4pm, don’t be scared of good fats) and a pantry list for what she always stock in her kitchen and bathroom medicine cabinet (tiger balm!).

Unlike other holistic guidebooks that require you to spend hours in the kitchen or seek out impossible-to-find ingredients, Rowe gets that we’re all busy and have lives to get back to. Each chapter begins with a quick overview of the season and the key beauty foods to look for: for instance, collagen-promoting pomegranate, iron-packed spinach to fight free radicals, circulation-stimulating chili. Then, she gives you a range of inviting recipes that incorporate these super foods.

Flipping through the fall chapter, I was inspired to unearth my food processor (first time in forever!) and whip up the No-Cook Walnut Brownies, partly based on the name alone. Not having to turn on the stove? I’m in. Walnuts, according to Rowe, are one of the riches plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids to soften and plump skin, and produce an anti-inflammatory effect, which can calm “angry” skin conditions like acne, she advises. The entire recipe has only four ingredients: pitted dates, which I had to soak in warm water for a few minutes, raw walnut pieces, raw cacao (I got mine from Trader’s Joes) and vanilla extract.

The only tricky part is converting certain measurements into more everyday terms, when you don’t have a scale. For example, “five ounces pitted dates” is about 12 dates. After blending everything in the food processor, I added a little extra water, as Wendy instructs, since I like my brownies moist. Then I scooped the batter into a square pan. A word to the wise: the batter will be really sticky. I used wax paper and pressed it into place. Next you cover and refrigerate for two hours. Then you have the most delicious brownies you have ever tasted. And zero added sugar. I fed these to my kids and they went wild — in a good way.

Some other tips: I might experiment freezing the brownies, since they have more of a nougat-y texture than that of a cake-y brownie. (If you like frozen chocolate bars you’ll understand.) Plus, you can keep a batch frozen for up to two weeks — anytime you need a skin boost. The bottom line: as far snacks or desserts go, I’d rather eat something that supports my skin and enhances my complexion with natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants rather than packaged chemicals. Who’s ready for another batch?

No-Cook Walnut Brownies Recipe

Makes 16 brownies.

Ingredients

5 oz pitted dates
10 oz raw walnut pieces
1/4 cup raw cacao (or cocoa) powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Cover the dates in warm water and leave to soak for 10 minutes to soften. In a food processor, blend the walnuts and cacao powder until the nuts are finely ground. Drain the soaked dates, squeeze out any excess water and add to the food processor with the vanilla extract. Process until the mixture sticks together and forms a ball, adding up to 2 tablespoons of water, if desired, for moister brownies. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and press the brownie mixture into the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or until set. Cut the mixture into 16 squares to serve. 

+ Get yourself a copy of Eat Beautiful here!

Photos by Julie O’Boyle.

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