The latest cookbooks reviewed by the Vegetarian Society.
Book reviews – July
Author: Meera Sodha
Publisher: Fig Tree
Readers may be familiar with Meera Sodha from her New Vegan column in the Guardian newspaper. In East, Meera brings to the table an eclectic mix of vegetarian recipes from countries including India, Korea, Burma and China.
Recipes range from the minimalist ‘Breakfast at Shuko’s’ – basically udon noodles bound in egg yolks and flavoured with nori and soy sauce, to the more involved purple sprouting broccoli pad Thai where many ingredients must be combined to produce intricate tastes and textures.
There were a few recipes that left me curious as to whether they would work or not – miso chocolate brownies being a good example! Each recipe comes with its own simplistic top-down photo of the finished dish to inspire you. I enjoy reading books like this that draw influences from several countries as it means you will never be left stuck for ideas.
BISH BASH BOSH!
Author: Henry Firth & Ian Theasby
Publisher: Harper Collins
If you’ve heard of the BOSH! team already, then you’ll know you can expect great food photography and fantastic recipes from their latest book. This is one of those books you’ll use time and time again because the recipes are inspiring, and also offer day-to-day practicality. There’s little here that will make you have to find obscure ingredients.
If you’re stuck for ideas, you needn’t be! This book offers everything from burgers and pizza to fiery curries and fresh salads. Although it’s packed with a lot of healthy and colourful recipes, my eye was caught by the Wild West Wings made from oyster mushrooms and deep-fried. It’s comfort food that goes perfectly with their spicy De La Seoul Chilli Sauce.
The BOSH team have been hailed as “the vegan Jamie Olivers” by The Times and the quality of this book certainly makes it clear to see why.
Author: Ben Lebus
Publisher: Pavilion Books Group Ltd.
Ben Lebus, founder of the (usually meaty) MOB Kitchen, has gone a vegetarian route for this, his second recipe book in the MOB range. In his introduction, Ben mentions his reasons for creating a vegetarian version of the first book, and talks about the importance of cutting down on meat intake for the sake of our environment. He wants people to change their eating habits and wants people to get excited about veggie food.
All of the recipes in MOB Veggie are made with fresh ingredients and cost less than £10 to feed at least four people. Every dish is beautifully photographed to show off their deliciousness! The chapters range from fuss-free cooking to fakeaways, for
healthier and cheaper alternatives to your favourite fast foods. Each recipe comes with a Spotify code and is linked to a specific song or playlist on Spotify, so “music is at the heart of the experience” while cooking.
The Curry Guy Veggie
Author: Dan Toombs
Publisher: Quadrille Publishing
Dan Toombs (aka The Curry Guy) is back with his third book, featuring more than 100 vegetarian Indian dishes. These detailed recipes are focused on simplicity and are designed to be just like your takeaway favourites – only cheaper, quicker and tastier! Every recipe is helpfully labelled to let you know whether they are vegan, gluten-free or take less than 30 minutes to make.
All of the delicious ingredients Dan uses can be easily found in the supermarket and online. As well as familiar favourites like vegetable korma and aubergine balti, the street food chapter is perfect for making your own paneer and party food. He has even developed an exciting collection of Indian-inspired desserts for anyone with a sweet tooth (the apple pie samosas are a particularly delicious take on a classic!)
Vegan Mock Meat Revolution
Author: Jackie Kearney
Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small
‘Vegan Mock Meat Revolution’ is the third cookbook from award-winning author and MasterChef champion Jackie Kearney, which introduces the reader to the world of vegan mock meat.
The thought of creating meat replacements can seem quite daunting, which is where ‘Vegan Mock Meat Revolution’ comes in. The book is structured to give a base of meat replacement recipes, then further dishes to use them in.
As a fan of katsu curry, I made Jackie’s version. Once I wrapped my head around the structure of the meal (that I was essentially making two recipes, the mock chicken and the katsu curry), getting started was pretty easy. The katsu recipe and others have quite lengthy ingredient lists, however, most of them are spices which I managed to find easily in the supermarket.
The dish wasn’t super quick to make, but the time spent was completely worth it. I was really impressed with the end result, both the quality of the mock meat and the depth of flavour in the curry. My finished dish could’ve given any restaurant a run for its money, if I do say so myself!
Show Up For Salad
Author: Terry Hope Romero
Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books
ISBN: ISBN: 978-0738218519
Following the vastly successful Veganomicon and Salad Samurai, Terry Hope Romero is back with Show Up For Salad. Her second cookbook is dedicated to turning your fridge into your very own salad bar! It provides handy tips for preparing and storing dressings, vegetables and croutons so they’re ready to go come mealtime.
For the salad novice there are tips for reviving less-than-fresh leafy greens and a thorough list of useful tools that make chopping less of a chore. She also includes a comprehensive ‘pantry’ list and an introduction to growing ‘micro-greens’ (think baby spinach and alfalfa) in your own kitchen.
Romero describes tasty and flavourful salad toppings as her ‘specialty’ and there is no shortage of protein-rich options in her most recent collection, from familiar protein heroes like marinated seitan to the more creative beet prosciutto. All her recipes take salad from side dish to the star of the show.
From the creator of Real + Vibrant comes Plant Power Bowls, the recipe book with nutritious, tasty and plant-based bowls for each season.
Sapana Chandra has designed these recipes to be naturally energising. After finding that cooking with fresh ingredients greatly improved her own health, she has made the focus of this book about health and wellness.
The author says all the recipes are balanced, healthy and use seasonal fruits and vegetables, while looking vibrant and delicious. There is even a chapter in the book dedicated to ‘Basic How-To Recipes’, including a recipe for hummus and guides to cooking and preparing grains and lentils for your bowls.
Boost your health kick by trying a Plant Power Bowl no matter the season or mood you’re in.
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