As regular readers will know, I am a great fan of this series of books from Apple Press. Always attractive and practical, these small and chunky volumes offer recipes on a single topic… 500 times!
Now, I must confess my carnivore leanings right away. I have no vegan missionary zeal and I probably would never take that dietary path myself. Having said that, I can sympathise with those who have ethical or health issues and feel that this is the way to go. But vegan ingredients constitute real food and we all, even if we don’t know it, eat vegan food from time to time. Much vegetarian food is vegan. Many dishes that we meat-eaters regularly prepare just happen to be vegan. It’s a way of culinary life that takes some thought but it is indeed healthy, and here one is presented with hundreds of recipes to help.
OK, so a vegan will be a stranger to a British fried breakfast, but 500 Vegan Dishes offers some suggestions that will tempt die-hard traditionalists away from bangers and bacon. Oaty Apple Pancakes are economic and will be a hit with the whole family. Maple syrup is vegan so a liberal libation is sweet and philosophically correct …delicious as well.
Orange Marmalade Bran Muffins are a real time-saver as well as an easy and palatable method of getting that much-needed fibre. These are sweet and tangy and the mixture can keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge in an air-tight container. Nothing nicer than baked goods warm from the oven and these can be cooking while you’re making a pot of tea. A lovely recipe for those weekends when you have guests staying. You’ll look like a proper domestic goddess, or god.
There is a wealth of Indian recipes in this volume. No surprise when you consider that so many Indians are vegetarian. Samosas can be vegan and here we find a simple and traditional filling of onions, potatoes and other vegetables wrapped in filo pastry. Spiced Chickpeas are another Sub-continental suggestion. Simple but smart when served with drinks.
Hummus with Dukkah is North African and delicious as a starter or snack. We are all familiar with hummus, it’s sold in every supermarket but it’s easy to make at home, and the dukkah spice mix does add an exotic kick – it’s good sprinkled over any kind of salad or vegetable dip.
Winter approaches and the gloomy weather reflects the economic climate. We want warming and comforting dishes that don’t cost a fortune. Winter Vegetable Bake fits the culinary bill admirably. Root vegetables are cooked in a herby tomato-laced stock, but the scone topping is the element that will make this a family favourite. In the US this style of dish would be called a cobbler after the fashion of laying the scone rounds over the top of the casserole. You can change the veggies for those favoured by your particular dining crowd.
500 Vegan Dishes has its focus on a strict regime, but those foods available to a vegan are many, varied and delicious. This might not be the first choice as a gift for a meat eater but it will be welcomed by vegetarians in general and those of us who just appreciate good food.
500 Vegan Dishes
Author: Deborah Gray
Published by: Apple Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018