About plant-based cuisine. My favourite cookbooks.
Books and filmsFood
In my apartment, I have a collection of beautiful cookbooks dedicated to plant-based cuisine. In Poland, one of the most fashionable vegan cookbooks are “Jadłonomias” – written by a popular culinary blogger, Marta Dymek. These are two amazing books, full of gorgeous pictures and, more importantly, mouth-watering recipes, based mostly on local, seasonal food. I absolutely love both books and very often use them to look for some cooking inspiration. Unfortunately, as far as I know, these lovely books have not yet been translated into any other language. This is why, in today’s post I will be presenting other three of my favourite books, written by international authors and available in English. I hope this post will provide you with some ideas for meat-free and dairy-free meals, which (contrary to what many people think) can be really delicious, filling and healthy.
One of the three books I have decided to present today is strictly vegan, the other two – vegetarian, which means in some recipes they will mention dairy products but in most cases they can be easily replaced with popular substitutes.
“The Green Kitchen” Louise Vindahl and David Frenkiel
This is a book written by a Swedish-Danish couple living in Stockholm. Louise and David are also authors of the blog “Green Kitchen Stories“. Their book is probably my favourite source of culinary inspiration (next to both Jadłonomias, of course). Although “The Green Kitchen” has been created by a Swede and a Dane, it does not mean it includes exclusively Scandinavian recipes. It is rather a mix of recipes from all over the world, as the authors travel a lot.
In the introduction to their book, Louise and David present their pantry and their favourite, most frequently used ingredients (there’s a very long list of these). Then, they share some advice on children’s nutrition (they are parents of the little Elsa, plus Louise is a dietician). After that, we can find out how to make some base products, such as vegetable stock and homemade soy or oat milk. And finally – recipes. They are grouped into the following categories:
- Light Meals
- On The Go,
- Family Lunches
- Small Snacks
- Drinks and Sweets.
Recipes are illustrated with beautiful photos from the idyllic Scandinavia, which makes the book even more inspiring.
Recipes that I’ve tried so far:
- cabbage-leaf tacos with black beans, mango and cashew cream.
- beet bourguignon (a perfect dish for chilly evenings in autumn)
- super quick chocolate mousse (a great way to use up ripe, “ugly” bananas)
- cauliflower, red lentil and dried apricot dhal
- portobello and peach burgers
And a lot more! Let me tell you that none of the recipes has failed my expectations so far – they have all been delicious.
“Vegan recipes from the Middle East”, Parvin Razawi, Grub Street Publishing
Parvin Razawi is an author of Iranian origin, currently living in Austria. She writes a popular blog thx4cooking and works as editor in a magazine dedicated to sustainable living. I bought her book because it had been my dream to have a book with vegan recipes from the Middle East in my collection. I believe that the culinary art of this part of the world is – alongside Indian cuisine – one of the best sources of inspiration for those interested in plant-based cooking. What I value most the in gastronomy of the Middle East is freshness, lightness and simplicity. And these are exactly the words that best describe Parvin Razawi’s book. It is full of simple recipes, using seasonal vegetable and fruits, provided with a special character by some oriental spices. Very exotic and difficult to find spices are not a must, though! The most unusual ingredient I came across in this book was a seasoning called ras el hanout. However, as I found out later, it is simply a mix of some other spices and can be easily prepared at home.
In the introduction to the book, we will find some general information about ingredients typical for the cuisine of the Middle East. After that come the recipes, divided by country of their origin. We can find meals traditional for:
- Morocco and a lot more
In each chapter dedicated to a specific country or region you will read a few recipes for mezze (appetizers), side dishes, main courses and desserts. You will find out how to prepare such delicacies as:
- blanched spinach with soya yogurt,
- Persian New Year soup
- herb stew with beans
- almond cake with rose petals.
The book is full of beautiful illustrations. Size-wise it is also relatively small and light, so if you go on holiday and you’re planning to cook, you can easily take it with you.
Recipes that I’ve tried so far:
- chickpeas with spinach
- roasted almonds
- stuffed aubergines (called imam bayildi)
- pickled carrots
“Plenty more” Yotam Ottolenghi
This big and heavy recipe book contains as many as 150 recipes by Yotam Ottolenghi – a famous chef and owner of a network of London-based restaurants. Written by such an acclaimed master of gastronomy, the book contains mostly sophisticated recipes. The majority of recipes presented by Ottolenghi require a lot of time and unfortunately also a very long list of ingredients. Living in London, the great chef has access to exotic ingredients, as the city offers a huge variety of stores and markets specializing in different types of cusines: Indian, African, Arabic or Asian. However, in other countries (and especially in smaller towns) it might be much more difficult to find some less common ingredients. I have to say this is the reason I haven’t yet tried too many recipes from this book, but I definitely haven’t said my last word either!
I wouldn’t recommend this book to a fan of quick and simple cooking. I would rather say this is a must-have for those who like kitchen experiments and consider them as a good fun, rather than a loss of time. If you decide to reach for this heavy volume, your patience will definitely be rewarded. You will learn a lot of original and sophisticated taste combinations, discover uncommon ingredients and find dozen of ideas to delight your guests. Recipes are organized by cooking method (baked, simmered, tossed and a lot more)
Here are some examples of recipes to be found in the book:
- butternut squash with cardamom and nigella
- lentils with mushroom and preserved lemon ragout
- quinoa porridge with grilled tomatoes and garlic.
Recipes that I’ve tried:
- crushed puy lentils with tahini and cumin
- alphonso mango and curried chickpea salad