This book definitely lives up to the hype. A gorgeously photographed cookbook bursting with all kinds of interesting recipes – all without meat. This isn’t a vegetarian or health book (many, if not most, recipes are quite high in fats and calories) but rather an inspiration guide on making main meals out of non meat items. And there is a quite a bit to love.
The book has a very quick introduction and the rest is dedicated to the recipes and full page photographs. The book is organized by treatment of the food items, as follows: tossed, steamed, blanched, simmered, braised, grilled, roasted, fried, mashed, cracked, baked, sweetened. Nearly every recipe has a gorgeous photograph that makes you want to run into the kitchen and start cooking.
The breadth of the recipes covered is quite diverse but with many middle-eastern inspired ingredients and dishes at its heart. Sample recipes include: watercress salad with quail eggs, pomelo salad, lemon and curry leaf rice, sprouting broccoli with sweet tahini, legume noodle soup, carrot and mung bean salad, crespeou, root vegetable pies, baked rhubarb with sweet labneh, fig and goat cheese tart, and many more. As can be seen from the list above, the recipes are quite inventive and quite diverse.
The format for the recipes is good. Ingredients on the right in darker type, an introduction at the top in italics, and then beneath a bar, directions in (mercifully short) paragraph form. I would have liked the directions to have numbers and for better leading space between the ingredients but otherwise appreciate the very easy to use format. There isn’t much in the way of tips or tricks, though. There’s also a copious amount of shameless self promotion – he makes sure you know where his restaurants are and the books he’s written.
The photographs really make the book worth it. My hats off to the photographer for creating beautifully lit, consistently photographed, mouth watering images. I think we are all visual people and having the photographs for nearly every recipe creates the inspiration we need when choosing a meal for dinner.
Although most of the recipes are intended for full meal use, a lot of these make great side dish choices as well. I am enjoying going through the various recipes (as a note, many include a LOT of ingredients – these aren’t simple recipes).
Reviewed from an ARC.