Book Review Secret Ingredient by Sally Bee

by Joanne on July 27, 2010

Sally Bee, the “busy Bee” as she describes herself.  A healthy 30 something lady who suffered 3 major heart attacks.  Sally Bee tells a short version of her story that inspired the book. The “Secret Ingredient”. 

What IS that ingredient?  Increased physical activity. What are the other ingredients that allowed this determined gal to beat the odds?  Learn about the Five “F’s” and “the rainbow”.  This book is about eating good food and living healthy.  She marks the recipes with “everyday” or “treat”.  The everyday recipes are ones to incorporate into your daily diet.  The recipes marked “treat” should be limited to once a week or every two weeks. 

Here is just a sample of the wonderful recipes I found in Sally’s book.

Italian-Style Courgettes, page 25



  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peel and crush
  • 4 –5 medium courgettes (zucchini) sliced
  • 2/3 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • chopped flat leaf parsley, to garnish

Heat oil in large pan and fry onion and garlic over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

Add the zucchini slices and fry another 4 minutes or until you see some browning on the surface of the zucchini slices. Stir frequently.

Stir in the stock, oregano, black pepper and simmer gently for 8 – 10 minutes, until most liquid has evaporated.  Spoon into a dish, sprinkle with chopped parsley and enjoy.


Sicilian Tomatoes, page 31 and posted on July 13th


Italian Blushing Pasta, page 43 and posted as a pre race meal. Delicious!


Fish in a Bag, page 84.

  • 7 oz haddock
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 crushed garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 fresh sage leaves (or use 1/2 tsp ground)
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or just white wine)
  • fresh ground pepper


Preheat oven to 300 F.  Place fish on a large thick piece of foil and drizzle over the lemon and olive oil.

Place all other ingredients on top of the fish, wrap it up to seal securely.  Bake for 20 –25 minutes until cooked through.  DELISH!



Healthy Spring Vegetable Risotto, page 44 

Sally says this dish can be eaten everyday. It tastes divine and is an energy boosting dish.


  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 1/2 oz asparagus  tips
  • 3 1/2 oz carrots, cut length wise in half
  • 2 cups fresh peas (or a bag of frozen)
  • 4 1/2 cups fava beans (I didn’t put beans in the dish)
    • *I added1/2 an onion chopped.
    • *I added 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 baby leeks, thin sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups risotto rice (Arborio)
  • 1 TBS fresh pesto sauce – or store bought
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts


Bring stock to a boil then reduce heat and add asparagus, carrots, peas and beans (if using). Simmer for 5 minutes, until tender.

Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep stock simmering.

Heat oil in large pan and sauté leeks and onion for 2 minutes on medium heat. Stir in rice.

Add 3 TBS of the hot stock and cook until absorbed.   Add more stock, a little at a time and stir regularly until mixture is soupy and rice is tender.  It takes about 20 – 30 minutes.

Stir in spinach, pesto, pepper.  Add other vegetables which you set aside and cook until warmed through. Top with toasted pine nuts.


Because we didn’t have the beans as protein in the dish, we had soy veggie patties on the side.


I also made the Chicken Casserole for Ted on page 54.  He oohed and ahhed.  Another recipe success by Sally Bee.


All recipes are easy and result in an amazingly delicious meal.  This is an A-Class book that I’m holding onto.

Make sure to check Sally’s site for recipes and a book of your own.

Have you picked up any really good cookbooks lately?


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    • At 2010.07.27 16:03, Monet said:

      Joanne…what a great batch of recipes. I loved all the fresh vegetables in each dish. Did she have the heart attacks because she was living an unhealthy lifestyle? I know that food and diet plays such an important role in staying healthy, but sometimes genetics and other factors can overpower our own life choices.

      • At 2010.07.27 16:50, Joanne said:

        She lived a healthy lifestyle before the heart attacks. Exercise and food wise. It’s just one of those things you never know. She explains that certain foods cause an imbalance and her recipes incorporate all natural, low salt ingredients that will work for most people.

        • At 2010.07.27 23:21, j said:

          Amazing story. I’ve got to check out her book. I love to read about how people have changed their lives for the better through better eating and exercise.

          These recipes look so delicious, I will have to try some of them for our family. Thanks for sharing!

          • At 2010.07.28 01:32, Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear said:

            Fish in the bag sounds amazing – I must try it! the cookbook must be REALLY great 🙂

            • At 2010.07.28 10:12, Joanne said:

              I really like the book. It is a MUST TRY also….
              Message from Sally herself:

              “Hi Joanne,
              Wow, what a lovely write up – thank you so much. The dishes you made look lovely, I’ll put a link up on my website to your blog.
              Many many thanks, I’m very grateful. My precious book is just launching in the US and I wasn’t sure how it would be received – so thanks again x

              Sally Bee

              • At 2010.07.28 09:46, kalli@fitandfortysomething said:

                gosh this sounds like a great cookbook. never heard of it. especially like the everyday and treat thing…..these recipes look so delicious too!

                • At 2010.07.28 10:13, Joanne said:

                  That was a great feature about the book.

                  • At 2010.07.28 12:00, Lindsay said:

                    The sicilian tomatoes are right up my alley. The markings on the recipes are great. I think a lot of people can’t distinguish between a treat and a regular meal. I’m one of those people on certain days!

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