' This book has been a long time in the making. What began as a little seed of an idea many years ago has evolved and developed into a collection of recipes that I couldn't be more excited about sharing. Gone are the old stand-bys long associated with vegetarian food. In their place are fresh, modern recipes that broaden the appeal of meat-free cuisine, giving vegetarians lots of new ideas and tempting even the most adamant meat-eater with adventurous, irresistible flavours.'
Flicking through the pages of New Vegetarian Kitchen when it first arrived (as you do), and well before reading the introduction from author, Nicola Graimes, above, I had already decided that this was a very special book.
Ms Graimes is an award-winning cookery writer, author of more than twenty books, and former editor of Vegetarian Living magazine. She says she didn't want this book to be 'classified as a vegetarian book', more 'a celebration of the ingredients that [she loves] from fresh produce', such as fruit and vegetables, herbs, spices and pulses, grains, nuts, cheese and eggs'.
The book is subtitled raw/grill/fry/steam/simmer/bake and highlights these six core techniques needed to create outstanding meals. Despite being a meat eater, I've flagged numerous pages featuring recipes that I'm keen to try. Vietnamese Tofu and Mango Salad Cups (P. 29/Raw) for example would be the perfect way to make the most of seasonal mangoes and my home grown lettuces and cucumber. And who'd have imagined combining sweet frozen grapes with a creamy Caramel, Chocolate and Maple Semifreddo (P. 41/Raw). I've road tested the Watermelon and Vodka Crush with Pomegranate (P. 45/Raw) and can report that it's outstanding... a real keeper. I have blogged my take on the recipe and can report that it is a cracker.
A Warm Halloumi, Asparagus and Broad Bean Salad with Chipotle Dressing (P. 58/Grill) is on my list to taste test, as I love the thought of a smoky chilli marinade and dressing. With the abundance of Summer produce, the quick and simple Warm Courgette, Marjoram and Lemon Salad (P. 111/Fry) is another winner. Mango Sushi (P. 143/Steam) is fresh mango macerated in a sweet ginger syrup... I can almost taste the accompanying coconut rice. Bhel Puru on Poppadom Crisps (P. 160/Simmer) is an Indian inspired salad comprising new potatoes, chickpeas, chillies, onions and tomatoes with a tamarind and yoghurt dressing. And in the Bake category, I am finding it hard to decide whether I should first cook the Black Olive Farinata Spinach Tzatziki (P. 198) or go with the dessert and try the Pineapple and Coconut Souffles (P. 237).
Truth be told, this is one of the most interesting and exciting vegetarian cookery books that I've seen in ages. And when my man drools over the pages and asks 'Which recipe are you going to cook for me?' then I know the author has compiled a great collection of recipes!
New Vegetarian Kitchen by Nicola Graimes $29.99 (bargain!), Simon & Schuster (Duncan Baird Publishers). Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia and Nicola Graimes for giving me the opportunity to review and road test this title.
Cookbook reviews and interviews with food writers and chefs.