Not a statement of how my cooking has changed here, but the title of a new book from Amy Chaplin, an apparently well known Australian chef specialising in vegetarian and vegan food. Well, given MGG has gone pescetarian again, this was good timing for a test.
There are good chapters on store cupboard items, although there are still some items that I needed to look up, that get either a bit lost in translation, or are maybe more familiar if you have been cooking in this way for some time.
We were doing okay with our first recipe, wholewheat udon noodle salad with sautéed Peppers, sweetcorn and sesame marinade. Well, we were until I got to tamari in the ingredient list, which actually turned out to be a kind of soy sauce, so very substitutable. I loved the colours in this dish, given the variety of peppers in it.
I lacked black sesame seeds, but had the white ones, which toasted up nicely. Generally it felt a very healthy dinner, perfect for warmer nights as it can be served at room temperature. We were too hungry, and it still worked pretty much straight out the pan. It suggested it could be served with braised tempeh, but given my previous disasters with tofu, we went for pan fried halloumi with it.
Overall, got a big thumbs up from us, and I would happily make this again. I can’t say that every dish grabbed me in the same way, but then it’s not entirely my way of cooking.
Again, I wanted to test how good the baking recipes were, not just the cooking, and tried the blackberry cornmeal muffins. I substituted blueberries for the blackberries, but these came out really well. They are not like a coffee shop muffin, in that they are not that sweet, but great for a healthier snack. They’ve got chia seeds in them for a bit of crunch, and are made using spelt flour so a bit more substantial.
I would say this is a great book for someone who has a real interest in this style of cooking, with lots of variety and some beautiful fresh flavours. I doubt it will earn shelf space here for very long, but definitely got ten out of ten for the two recipes we tried. Published by Jacqui Small, this is currently £25 at Waterstones with free delivery. Definitely one to get delivered, it’s a substantial book.