The Book of Vegetarian Cooking

All posts tagged The Book of Vegetarian Cooking

Cheating coconutty curry

Published November 25, 2014 by Storm

I’ve been so busy having adventures that I nearly forgot to write about the recipe I tried last week. A far more interesting, I hope, post about my adventures will follow just as soon as I can whittle down my choice of photographs to illustrate it. In the meantime I give you…

Mushroom curry

This particular recipe is from The Book of Vegetarian Cooking. It’s very easy but I’m pretty sure it’s not very authentic. Aside from the button mushrooms, which are briefly fried whole, all the ingredients, onions included, are pur√©ed raw to make the sauce; the sauce is then poured over the mushrooms and the lot is heated through for about ten minutes.

At first taste I wasn’t keen but by the end of my meal I felt the dish had potential. My biggest dislike was that the sauce, which should have had a mildly spiced, creamy coconut flavour tasted strongly of raw onions; I like raw onions in salad but the flavour was too strong and overpowering for this curry.

The simplicity of this means I may try it again but I’ll be deviating a bit from the recipe as written. The most significant change I’ll make will be to cut the onion into wedges and fry it with the mushrooms, hopefully giving a sweeter, more subtle flavour. I’m also likely to use a mix of mushrooms as button mushrooms alone are a bit boring.

5 out of 5 for clear instructions and ease of cooking.

3 out of 5 for flavour.

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A Nutty Bowl of Soup

Published July 18, 2014 by Storm

Having used all of my frozen soup supply I decided it was time I tried another soup. I wanted to try something different, something I would have minimal preconceptions about, and something that wasn’t going to be too heavy given current heat and humidity. I also wanted a soup that had a reasonable protein content as I was going to be eating it as a main meal rather than as a starter. I hadn’t used The Book of Vegetarian Cooking for a while, so I decided to look at it’s soup section first; I didn’t need to look any further, there were two interesting¬†sounding options on the very first page.

Fennel and walnut soup

I considered making watercress and almond soup but, on reading through both recipes, decided on the fennel and walnut, The recipe book recommended serving it with sage derby puffs but, since I can’t think of a good sheep or goat’s alternative to sage derby and I’m having a lot of fun with a new bread maker, I opted for a rustic French style bread instead.

This was a really simple soup to make. The challenge was in the way the recipe is written, as the instructions for the sage derby puffs and the instructions for the soup are interwoven; personally I’d have written it out in four paragraphs, rather than the two used in the book, to make it easier for a less confident chef to follow. I probably shouldn’t complain, my soup making went without a hitch and the end result was delicious. This is a delicate, slightly earthy soup with almost a mushroomy hint to the flavour.

The recipe suggests it makes four to six portions, I’m assuming they must mean as a starter. I got two portions eating this as a main course which I followed with a portion of gooseberry crumble. I’m about to make another batch to put in the freezer.

4 out of 5 for ease of making (it would have got five if better written).

5 out of 5 for flavour.

Washing up must be in season!

Published June 27, 2014 by Storm

English berries and an unexpected avocado

This week I was planning to try a Turkish dish I’ve not made before, Imam Bayildi, I was even considering making my own pitta bread to enjoy with it. My plans changed when I got to the fruit aisle in the local shop and saw some lovely, large punnets of English gooseberries. I wasn’t expecting to see gooseberries for another couple of weeks but there they were and, to make them even more tempting, they were marked down to half price. I knew I’d seen a gooseberry ice-cream recipe in The Book of Vegetarian Cooking, so changed my plans and bought what I thought I would need to make ice-cream. I almost guessed what I would need correctly, there was just one ingredient I hadn’t expected… an avocado. I’m sure I could have come up with my own gooseberry ice-cream recipe without an avocado but in the spirit of my challenge I went back to the shop to buy the unexpected before creating the largest pile of washing up I’ve ever known one dish create.

2 saucepans, 1 blender, 1 sieve, 4 bowls, 1 fork, 1 whisk, 1 spoon and an ice-cream maker

Actually I only used one saucepan, because I rinsed it out between cooking the gooseberries and making the syrup, but even so there was a lot to wash up at the end. If I’d read this recipe through before getting excited about gooseberries I might not have chosen to make it.

I expected to need to cook the gooseberries first and then set them aside to cool but the rest of the method was a little different to my expectations. When I’ve made ice-cream containing egg yolks in the past I’ve always beaten the egg yolk and sugar together and then poured heated cream into them before returning it to the heat, as you would to make an egg custard; this recipe had me making a syrup and whisking it into the beaten egg yolks with the, separately whipped, cream being added right at the end. Beating eggs, then beating eggs and syrup, mashing avocado, then whipping cream, I certainly had aching arms by the time I poured the mix into the ice-cream maker; this is the most physically demanding recipe I have tried making this year, if not ever.

Was it worth the effort?

The finished ice-cream was (is, I still have a little left) delicious, I won’t be following this recipe again though. For a start, why the avocado? The note about the recipe claims that the avocado is there for the texture of the ice-cream; the texture was not discernibly different from what I think I would have achieved with my usual egg-custard based ice-cream, so if I want a rich gooseberry ice-cream in future I’ll be going back to familiar methods. If I want a lighter ice-cream, which in summer I might, I’ll try making gooseberry fool and putting it in the ice-cream maker. Either of my preferred techniques would create less washing up and cause less of an ache in my arms than this week’s recipe gave me.

2 out of 5 for technique – this was fiddly for the sake of being fiddly (I don’t need something to have been hard work to view it as a treat).

5 out of 5 for flavour- I can’t fault the finished dish.

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