Devine inspiration

by Sam Bilton on May 20, 2014 No comments


When I embarked on this week as a vegan I never doubted that I would find plenty of inspiration in my cookbook collection. I have more vegetarian cookbooks than any other style of cooking, a legacy from my non meat eating days. I’d also been lent a great vegan cookbook Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero . This book had been recommended to me by Rachel Demuth the owner of Demuth’s  Vegetarian Cookery school in Bath. I felt confidently prepared for my adventure.

However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the amount of time it would take to trawl through these volumes to find vegan recipes that I wanted to cook. The problem is not that I am fussy but more to do with the fact that there were so many recipes I liked the look and sound of. Plus with work and children to factor in there is the small matter of time (i.e. not having enough of it) to cook a fraction of the dishes I fancied.

Fortunately, I had received a copy of a new book by Brighton based food writer Nicola Graimes called Veggienomics. Nicola describes this book as containing “straightforward, simple dishes that don’t compromise on good taste, are nutritious and, importantly, don’t burn a hole in your pocket.” Having spent a couple of hours getting reacquainted with my veggie cookbooks hunger was beginning to gnaw away at my resolve. I hadn’t been to the shops to stock up on vegan ingredients. It was a toss up between eating the ham for the kids sandwiches or one of the cookbooks. I needed something quick and tasty fast so it was to Veggienomics I turned.

Of course it would have been very easy to go to the supermarket and buy some ready made hummus or a can of soup. But I’m never quite sure with all those funny E-numbers they tack onto the end of the list of ingredients whether pre-prepared foods can truly be classed as vegan. Plus I really wanted to try some of Nicola’s recipes.

I should state at this point that Veggienomics is a vegetarian rather than a vegan cookbook. For the time being I just have to skip over the delicious images of Tunisian Eggs with Herb Yoghurt and Potted Cheese with Elderflower Pears. But there are plenty of other recipes which are dairy free or can be adapted to meet the vegan criteria. Today’s lunch was a Lebanese Beetroot Dip with pitta bread. As promised it was quick to make (I replaced the natural yoghurt in Nicola’s version with soy yoghurt and omitted the feta cheese garnish) with everything being blitzed in a food processor before serving. What you end up with is a beautiful magenta dip laced with exotic ras el hanout and pungent garlic. It’s very moreish if a tad anti social (I was convinced I reeked of garlic on the school run this afternoon). Now a good blogger would have a picture of said dip but alas hunger got the better of me and I frankly forgot to take one.

It was back to Veggienomics for tonight’s dinner. I haven’t managed to persuade my family to follow me on this journey so I have been trying to find recipes that will appeal to two young boys and a carnivorous husband. I decided to go with a south east asian theme tonight. Nicola’s Thai Rice with Spiced Cashews went down a treat. This is a fried rice dish flavoured with fresh lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chilli with pak choi rippling through it. Not too spicy but still flavoursome. Having made this I would recommend making extra spiced cashews which are coated in Thai seven spice powder and soy sauce. They’re seriously good and would make a great, albeit fairly extravagant, snack. The boys had theirs with Thai style fishcakes and I had Spicy Lemongrass Tofu (sadly not from Veggienomics but I will share it with you another time, I promise). Fishcakes and rice eaten my curious boys decided they would tuck into the tofu and they loved it. Maybe they’ll decide to join me on this adventure after all. (You can check out the picture for this on Instagram).

Veggienomics is available from Amazon and all good booksellers.

Sam BiltonDevine inspiration

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