31 October 2012

Viva le Veg!

This blog is long overdue since the supperclub evening when we enjoyed a veggie feast created from the recipes within this book was many months ago now. I offer only one excuse for this lapse, the other 20,000 words I wrote to complete my MSc. However buoyed up by a lovely lunchtime date with the man himself at the University of Bristol (see picture) and the fact that he answered my question with such passion, I feel the need to share our thoughts on the book from that evening and give you some insight about his latest book.

If you saw the accompanying TV series you will know that the man famed for connecting us with the reality of animal husbandry and a deep respect for life and death on the farm, gave up eating meat in order to fully embrace writing this book. The purpose of this self imposed vegetarianism being to crush his own prejudices about meals without meat being somehow inferior and dull. In fact he explains that being able to ditch meat as the main attraction on the plate can lead to a different style of eating, more akin to mezze or tapas where flavourful little dishes can be combined. This informal style of mix and match eating was certainly evident at our meeting and as the grand daughter of a Covent Garden porter I know my granddad  would be amazed if he could see the many ingenious ways we have found to use the humble vegetable.

On the night we enjoyed-
North African squash and chickpea stew, Celery orange and pecan salad, Asian inspiried coleslaw, Herby peanutty noodly salad, Aubergine parmigiana, Courgette and sultana tealoaf, Beetroot and sultana tealoaf,

About the book......

Design and layout
We loved the photography, vegetable illustrations and fonts, the chapters were intriguing and helped to guide meal planning.

Recipes (general remarks)
Overall we found them very easy to follow. Beware the quantities are sometimes very large though.  As it says in the title, it provided many “everyday” recipes that would be easy for work night suppers as well as a few more time consuming weekend dishes. It’s also a good reference book if you are wondering what to do with strange vegetable box items.

Recipes tried and tested
Chilli’s stuffed with beans, Pasta with greens garlic and chilli, Leek and cheese toastie, Cauliflower with toasted seeds, DIY ‘pot’ noodles, Root frittata, Spicy merguez chips, garlicky minty mushy peas, Cauliflower pakoras with tamarind raita, Sweetcorn fritters with coriander or mint raita, Sweet potato and peanut gratin, Pasta with new potatoes green beans and pesto.

 This is a great book if you want to either create more interesting vegetable dishes or if like Hugh and many others, you feel it's right to reduce the frequency with which you eat meat. As winter draws closer there is no better time to reflect on the harvest and try to utilise and celebrate all that we are able to yield from the land be it meat or vegetable.

In his new book Hugh works on using just three ingredients to create delicious meals and his theory certainly evokes fond memories of great flavour combinations such as rhubarb, crumble and custard. I am sure it will feature at the supperclub table soon. 

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