I?m really not sure when Sally Butcher found the time to write this follow up to Persia in Peckham ? between three blogs, an active twitter and facebook presence and running a shop, she has also somehow found the time to write two cookbooks. It makes one feel positively exhausted and/or completely inadequate.
Veggiestan is a big book ? 263 pages ? with ten chapters of vegetarian recipes: bread and pastry; herbs and salads; dairy and eggs; soup; legumes and pulses; vegetables; cooking with fruit; saucing, pickling and preserving; and desserts, and when flicking through pretty much everything looks like an interesting dish worth trying. For example, Palestinian upside-down rice, the swooning imam, smoky aubergine dip, baked stuffed quinces, to name four, but really pulling out ones that look particularly interesting is supremely difficult. Basically, they all look good!
Recipes aren?t confined to one part of the Middle East: as Sally says in her introduction, Veggiestan isn?t a real place, and the food is an amalgam from across the region.While there are plenty of photos, not every dish is accompanied by a picture. And the traumas of deciding which recipes to leave in and which to leave out have been alleviated by the Veggiestan blog, which has plenty of further recipes to try.
This is a really enticing book: beautifully written, and the flavour combinations and dishes look both delicious and out of the norm for us. It?s found a rare place on our bookshelf: I?m sure it will be a book that we reference frequently.
Fuss Free Rating
Veggiestan by Sally Butcher: ****
Veggiestan is published by Pavilion, cover price ?25
The Vegetarian Pantry by Chloe Coker and Jane Montgomery
A second vegetarian book recently received is The Vegetarian Pantry, by Chloe Coker and Jane Montgomery,an ideal book for those who are looking to expand their repetori of vegetable dishes. I particularly like the look of potato and celeriac rosti with spinach and mushrooms and a poached egg, french toast stuffed with bananas, breadcrumbed halloumi goujons, winter salad of pearl barley, mushrooms and walnuts, carrot and leek tarte tatin, homemade baked beans, and rhubarb, orange and vanilla fool with shortbread cookies.
Like most books from the Ryland Peter?s stable it is beautifully put together and photographed and is very visual.? However, it must be said that the recipes are good, but not ground-breakingly innovative. For many vegetarians, or those who have long championed vegetable variety in their food, this book is probably insufficiently novel. However, for those who are starting to increase their variety, or setting up their own vegetarian kitchen for the first time it?s worth picking up.
Fuss Free Rating
The Vegetarian Pantry by Chloe Coker and Jane Montgomery: ***
The Vegetarian Pantry is published by Ryland Peters & Small, cover price ?16.99
Fuss Free Flavours received a complimentary copies of both books for review. All opinions are our own, we were not required to write a positive review