World Vegetarian Cookbook

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The best recipe I’ve tried this year, plus a tasty side and a speedy supper

Published November 10, 2014 by Storm

Whoops! It’s been a month since I’ve written about the recipes I’m trying. I only skipped trying a new recipe one week of that month and that was my birthday week. I ate out a couple of times that week and had a delicious lunch in the café of The Ashmolean, if you’re in Oxford give it a try.

The best recipe of the year (so far)

In Vegetarian Cooking Through The Year I found myself thumbing beyond autumn and into winter, there I found this delicious Almond Roast. I’m a little shocked at realising that it is my favourite of the dishes I’ve tried so far this year; I have a love hate relationship with nut roasts, Dad makes a fantastic one (and I do have his recipe) but the mention of nut roasts always pulls up the unpleasant memory of those dry packet ones you mixed with water and cooked in the microwave, cloying, over-salted, and generally yuck. Anyway, I pushed past my initial aversion and I’m really glad I did.

This recipe combines almonds and mushrooms, two foods I can never get enough of. I did ignore the celery stick in the ingredients list, the one vegetable I strongly dislike, and I used a red onion for it’s delicate sweetness while I suspect the recipe intended white as it didn’t specify. My only pause for thought was how to halve the quantities, the method suggested making a half sized roast in a 1lb loaf tin or a full-size one in a 20cm ring tin; not that my maths is bad but how do you halve three eggs? My solution was to use two smaller eggs and not add the splash of water. Other than that minor mathematical challenge this roast was a doddle to make. I liked this so much I made it again last week and even the firmly carnivorous Railway Modeller found it palatable in place of stuffing with his roast dinner.

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

5 out of 5, plus a bonus point, for tastiness.

Also, something which is unheard of from me as I always complain recipes don’t go as far as they say they will, I got more portions out of this than the recipe suggests!

A speedy supper

Wanting something quick and easy to cook after a late shift, I decided to try the Mushroom Stroganoff recipe from the pages of The World Vegetarian Cookbook. Fry, or sauté if we’re being precise, some onion with some theoretical celery, then add some mushrooms and sauté a bit longer; herbs and stock follow, with some yoghurt at the last minute. The recipe reckoned on 30 minutes for preparation and cooking but I’m pretty sure I shaved it down to 15. Obviously, I skipped the celery, choosing to replace it with garlic which is a zillion times tastier!

5 out of 5 for ease of making.

4 out of 5 for tastiness.

And a tasty side

Already decided on making the Almond Roast again, which feeds me for most of a week, I decided that last week’s new recipe should be an accompaniment to it. A few dishes caught my eye but most were similar to things I make without referring to a recipe or didn’t quite lend themselves to working with both my main roast and The Railway Modeller’s pie. In the end it was a new, to me, method of cooking new potatoes which I decided to try. The Greens Cookbook gave the technique for New Potatoes and Garlic Baked in Parchment. As the oven was going to be in use anyway making maximum use of it’s capacity seemed a sensible idea. Also, roast garlic cloves are far nicer than they have any right to be and I was definitely interested to know if baked garlic cloves were as tasty.

This is a great way to cook new potatoes. I think we both enjoyed these; though the Railway Modeller declined to try his garlic cloves, giving them all to me. Garlic cooked like this is almost as good as roasted but it doesn’t quite have that fabulous texture, needing scraping out of it’s skin instead of sucking out. Jerusalem artichokes are freshly onto the shelves at work this week so I’m thinking of trying those cooked with this technique.

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

5 out of 5 for tastiness (there’s not really a lot that could go wrong with new potatoes and garlic).

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De-lurking the lentils

Published October 10, 2014 by Storm

There’s been a bag of red lentils languishing at the back of my cupboard for months, ever since my disastrous attempt at Baked Rice. I’ve used countless (well two or three) bags of puy lentils over the course of the year but those red lentils were in danger of becoming long term lurkers. This week I decided that they needed to leave the cupboard and find their way into the pot.

The World Vegetarian Cookbook offered an option to use all my leftover lentils and the Herbed Lentil Stew I chose to make only required me to buy one ingredient, fresh spinach, everything else was already in my kitchen. This was really easy to make and, while cooking took around an hour and a half, preparation took next to know time; it would have taken longer if I’d needed to chop the coriander and crush the garlic but I was cheating a little and using them in ready prepared form. I skipped using the potatoes, the instructions regarding them were vague to say the least and once I got to the mention of them it sounded like I should have cooked them along with the lentils ahead of adding them to the spinach and onion mix. The recipe was also a little muddled on what it’s ingredients should be; the ingredients list stated cayenne pepper, which I used, but the method stated black pepper and made no mention of cayenne. 

Despite not being as well written as it could have been the stew itself turned out reasonably well. It was certainly filling and was tasty enough, though it wasn’t as good reheated as it was cooked fresh. Not something I’ll be in a rush to cook again but not something I’d rule out either.

3 out of 5 for ease of cooking and clarity of instructions (if it wasn’t so easy it would be scoring less).

3 out of 5 for tastiness.

A Taste of Turkey

Published July 12, 2014 by Storm

Imam Bayildi

I found last week’s new recipe (I’m a bit late writing about it) nestled in the page of The World Vegetarian Cookbook. I like aubergines, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve eaten in our local Turkish restaurant, I thought I should give this dish a try. For some reason I thought it would be fiddly to make, it wasn’t; I confess I made my life easier by not bothering to peel my tomatoes but, despite the recipe calling for peeled tomatoes, it doesn’t look like they were peeled for the illustration of the finished dish in the book.

Simple made special by spice

Basically Imam Bayildi is aubergine stuffed with aubergine, onion, tomato and a few pine kernels. It doesn’t sound the fullest flavoured of dishes but a bit of allspice lifts it from nice but uninspiring to delicious. The aubergine shell had a delicate flavour, mild with a hint of olive oil, while the stuffing was rich and fruity. I polished off two portions and would happily have eaten more but I’d halved the quantities given in the recipe so didn’t have more to eat. I will definitely be making this again and next time I’ll be making the full four portion version, maybe even more. The recipe book suggests Imam Bayildi can also be eaten cold so leftovers won’t be a problem.

4 out of 5 for ease of making.

5 out of 5 for flavour.

A guest cat

This pretty lady is the reason I missed a week and am late writing about this week’s recipe.

IMG_0576

More about her next Sunday!

Coconutty Beans

Published May 31, 2014 by Storm

This week saw me trying a recipe for a side dish rather than a main. I had some mildly spiced chickpea burgers to try, bought not home-made, and I fancied an interesting accompaniment for them.  This was to be a purely self indulgent meal, I was cooking the Railway Modeller one of his favourites and felt I should do something nice for myself while I was about it. I’d happily eat locally grown asparagus every day while it’s in season but my budget might end up a little stretched if I did, and I’d already indulged in asparagus this week, so I looked to the other green crops arriving at work and was spoilt for choice on the bean front. The french beans at the moment are some of the longest I’ve ever seen and absolutely flawless so I chose a recipe to take advantage of them.

Long Beans in Coconut Milk

I remembered having seen this recipe when I was flicking through The World Vegetarian Cookbook and thought it might be just the dish I was looking for this week. Yes, the burgers were evidently inspired by Indian cookery while the bean recipe is Thai inspired but isn’t fusion cookery supposed to be all the rage?

I had to miss out the galangal as getting to the one shop in town which would sell it isn’t really practical on a work day but the beans certainly didn’t taste like they were lacking anything; chilli and lemongrass gave a nice, subtle seasoning and the coconut milk gave them a richness I don’t normally associate with green beans. I cooked half a pound of beans and ate the lot!

My beans did go well with the burgers, though I’m not convinced I’d bother with the burgers themselves again. The one lesson I would take from this first attempt at the recipe would be to chop the lemongrass much finer next time as I found it a bit tough and woody. I’m not sure what I’d choose to serve the beans with next time; I’ll have to keep in mind finding a partner dish for them when I’m browsing my recipe books for future cookery experiments.

5 out of 5 for ease of cooking

4 out of 5 for flavour

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