Vegetarian Cookery Books - 5 of the Best
Sadly there is still some way to go in restaurants and hotels in the UK before vegetarian dishes are taken seriously by chefs and menu planners. Take a look at the Christmas's offerings already being publicised by some of the main hotel chains for this coming festive season. What's on offer for vegetarians on Christmas Day, whilst meat-eaters tuck into a turkey or a duck roast? The answer on a dozen or so menus I have already seen is a Nut Roast or a Red Pepper and Asparagus Quiche! And what's more, it's at the same price as the four course 'meat package'. It's about time our UK chefs 'upped their game' with some new and inspiring vegetarian dishes.
The most inspiring Vegetarian Cookbook I have come across over the last few years is ''Terre A Terre - the Vegetarian Cookbook'' by Amanda Powley with Philip Taylor (£20), and I blogged about it on 24th October 2013 under the title 'THE Vegetarian Cookbook'. My opinion hasn't changed, despite the recent outpouring of new publications on vegetarian cooking. It seems all the big name chefs want to get in on the increasing interest in vegetarian food, so lets hope this rubs off on our down-town hotel and restaurant chefs! Nevertheless, despite all these recent publications filling bookshops like Waterstones and Foyles (or The Works, if you want it cheaper), I would suggest that readers are cautious about which book they buy, otherwise its more variations on the nut roast!
I've picked, what I think are 5 of the best Vegetarian Cookbooks on offer, but see what you think!
'River Cottage Veg Everyday' by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingshall (£20)
This book is ideal for those who want to try more veg dishes but are not yet ready to abandon all meat. Hugh helps readers get their head around squash and fennel lasagne and halloumi kebabs. We have a proliferation of courgettes and marrows in our allotment at the moment, and last week's midweek menu of courgette and stilton soup followed by marrow lasagne got its inspiration from this great little book. It celebrates putting vegetables at the centre of the table.
'Leon: Fast Vegetarian' by Jane Baxter and Henry Dimbley (£17)
This is the ninth cookbook from the team behind the fast-food chain Leon. Fast Vegetarian is as bright and as colourful as all the other publications and is packed with simple, fresh (and child friendly) ingredients. The book is usefully divide into main meals, 'star turns', small dishes and sides. 'Star turns' are for those special occasions, but I also liked the section entitled, 'supporting cast' which gives readers some great ideas for lunch-boxes for work or school.
'Plenty' by Yotam Ottolenghi (£20.80
This book is already a classic that any self-respecting vegetarian has to have on their kitchen book shelf. The recipes are inspired by Ottolenghi's Mediterranean background. Don't be put off by the boring cover, as inside you will find well balanced and hearty food that makes you think that this cannot be a vegetarian cookbook - isn't that exactly as it should be?
'Vegetarian' by Alice Hart (£11.99)
The colourful ingredients and mouth-watering photography make this an impossible book to read without wanting to try the recipes. A very useful feature is the 'Menu Ideas' section at the back of the book, which takes all the stress out of meal-planning. There are curated collections of recipes to suit many different occasions.
'A Modern Way To Eat' by Anna Jones (£17)
Anna Jones is Jamie Oliver's former apprentice (I don't know whether this is good thing or a bad thing) but nevertheless, she has got vegetarian cooking spot on. The book is colourful, creative, health conscious without being health-obsessed and not a stodgy pasta bake in sight!