Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Book Review - Peas and Thank You

I must start this review with an apology, or two. Firstly, I had meant to have this up yesterday but life got in the way so I am late this week, and secondly I didn't take many (read, only one!)photos this week, laziness or forgetfulness to blame.

On to my thoughts. In this book, Sarah Matheny (aka Mama Pea) gives us a whole range of family friendly, easy to make recipes which use simple steps and ingredients you can find anywhere. Hooray! She wraps it all up in a cutesy package (maybe too cutesy for some?) using a play on words with the "pea" theme. Layout and chapter breakdown is easy to follow and makes sense.

If you've read my reviews before you know I am a fan of being able to read cookbooks - preferring those with introductory sections and chapter headings more than just a sentence or two - but I think this book may have gone a little too far the other way for me. (and that is something I thought I would never say!) The introductory sections I like and find informative, and give me enough personal information to feel a kinship to Mama Pea. I don't really need more than anecdotal stories, and food descriptions in the recipe headers and I feel some (by no means all) of these are overly long, and overly personal. This doesn't stop me from enjoying the recipes so don't let it put you off either! Who knows, you may enjoy reading the stories.

The book is loaded with pictures, and as I have said in previous reviews I'm neither here nor there about lots of pictures as I can visual a finished dish, but I know some folks prefer a visual reference. In this instance I think the photo lovers will rejoice, though like me, you may find there are maybe a few too many family photos and not enough of just the food.

This book also has Nutrition Info for each recipe which I know some people really appreciate!

On to the recipes I made, again in page number order -

Page 17 - Mini Tofu Frittatas

Yum. I love olives so these were right up my street. I liked them hot and cold, though found if you let them stand for 10 minutes or so the texture improved and they didn't fall apart as much. Wish I'd made more so I could have had them the next day too.

Page 41 - Baked Oatmeal Squares

Hot out of the oven I thought these were just OK, but once cooled and spread with a little jam I could have scarfed a whole batch.

Page 61 - Lemon Lentil Soup

Perfect. Simple and delicious. Genius even.

Page 83 - Thai Crunch Salad

Nice, though I'd leave off the edamame next time. Somehow they don't do "thai" for me.

Page 107 - Pumpkin Spice Roasted Chickpeas

I've made roasted chickpeas lots, but never with sweet spices. I am as yet undecided about this one - part of me wants to stalk Mama Pea so I can tell her she is a genius, (leaning this way overall) and the other part of me thinks its a little weird. Weird and genius together maybe? What ever it is I must have enjoyed these as they didn't last long at all!

Page 120 - Yogi Guacamole

Oh, yummy! The beans don't add flavor so much as a creamy texture. Will make this one over and over for sure!

Page 122 - Ginger Almond Dressing

Used on the Thai Crunch Salad, and also nice over steamed broccoli. I did add a healthy squirt of Sriracha the second time for a bit of bite.

Page 142 - Homestyle Spaghetti Sauce

Simple, quick, honest tomato sauce. Nothing fancy, but good.

Page 143 - Mediterranean Lentil Balls

Nice. Nothing spectacular, but a good solid dinner.

Page 163 - Teriyaki Tofu

My least favorite of the recipes I tried. Personal preference at work - you may really enjoy this one. Next time I'll dice the tofu for marinating and cooking, and will add a little lime juice to the marinade.

Will I use this book again - yes! I feel there are unexplored potential treasures I'd like to find, and I have yet to make a dessert, and I really have to give those chickpeas another go! Maybe I'll be stalking Mama Pea yet!

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