The sub-title of The Greens Cookbook is Extraordinary Vegetarian Cuisine. It is considered by many to be a classic and now it’s back in print and in the UK. This is going to be a treat for any serious cook, be they vegetarian or not, and any cookbook collector.
It has the air of a no-nonsense cookbook. It doesn’t have glossy pictures so it’s a matter of exercising one of our intellectual faculties. It’s called reading. But once the shock of the new approach is absorbed then you’ll realise that this book has much to offer in the form of recipes… and they are, after all, the reason for your purchase of this book in the first place.
Yes, you might well have a pile of vegetarian cookbooks, but there is something a little different about this volume. The recipes are original, individual and inspired. Some of them might at first seem a bit daunting to the novice chef but it’s only cooking, after all. Just follow the recipe, lay out the ingredients before you start, and enjoy the process.
Many veggie cookbooks seem attractive because the recipes use few ingredients; dishes in those books might depend upon artful assembly rather than culinary skills. The Greens Cookbook is a real cookery book with some recipes that require cooking techniques rather than vegetable carving. Some of the recipes here might seem to have a lengthy catalogue of ingredients, but those spices and herbs add depth of flavour to the resulting dish. In short, there are recipes to suit every skill level.
An example of a simple but versatile recipe is Herb Cream Cheese. Just a little stirring and the spread is complete, but then add some vegetables and it morphs into Red Onion, Tomato, and Herb Cream Cheese. So few ingredients to enable you to present some homemade summer sandwich fillings or toppers for canapés. The Chilli Butter from this volume is another easy and quick preparation to help create stylish nibbles for drinks, or melt over grilled meat to impress your dinner party guests.
An economic and canny dish is Savoury Bread Pudding. Think savoury bread-and-butter pudding with its souffléd slices of bread, rather than the traditional now-rare British bread pudding (which was my grandmother’s signature dish and set like a rather doughy brick). This recipe can be adapted to use up your leftovers.
The Greens Cookbook offers temptations for skilled cooks and achievable challenges to the less experienced. It’s a book to inspire, but massage the recipes to make them your own and you could find that this tome is the one adorned with yellow sticky tags and pencil notes written in the margins. A despicable habit but the sign of a well-loved kitchen friend.
The Greens Cookbook
Author: Deborah Madison
Published by: Grub Street
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018