Monday, 8 October 2012

Book Review - The Complete Idiot's Guide to Low-Fat Vegan Cooking

This books starts with a detailed look at fat. In context of good vs. bad, and how much your body needs of the good ones to be healthy. It also looks at some of the myths surrounding both protein and carbs, then moves on to tackle the low fat premise the book is based on, all with a vegan view point. The introductory chapters are very interesting, and informative, so read them!

The book, like the others in the "Complete Idiot's" series, is well laid out, with a recipe to a page, basic nutritional data, (which you would expect from a low fat book, right) and tips and facts for many of the recipes or ingredients. The recipes start at breakfast and take you through the day to finish with dessert and drinks. There is also a substantial appendix of terminology, and resources - which is helpful if you're new to many of the ingredients, veganism, or cooking! However, there are no pictures, which I know some people really like too have. There are loads of recipes, and many of them really appealed to me, so choosing the ones to make was not easy!

The recipes I made - page number order as always -
Page 95 Warm Garlic Greens Salad
Tasty - though not very large if going by the serving size in the header. I did use regular kale in place of the collards as we don't get them here often.

Page 99 Lemony Lentil Salad
A little too much dressing, so the salad was a little moist, but a lovely flavour profile - sharp yet balanced, with great texture.

Page 103 Raw Relaxed Kale and Carrot Salad
Again a little too much dressing which I drained off prior to serving, but really tasty - I could eat much more than I did if I had made more!

Page 108 Garlic Tahini Dressing
The beans really do make this super creamy. It is rich and flavourful, while being totally fat free! I liked this dressing an enjoyed it over raw and cooked vegetables.

Page 110 Maple Lime Dressing
A little sweet with a sharp sour kick, this was an nice basic salad dressing. I was surprised by the amount of sesame oil used, but it does give a lovely richness!

Page 149 Pad Thai Sauce
Used to make the Pad Thai (obviously). A little too heavy on the tamarind for my taste, I'd up the lime and the maple next time to balance.

Page 181 Raw Cheesy Hemp Spread
I found this a little too salty for my tastes, though it was very easy to make, and quite tasty (and packed with protein!). I will make again with less salt so I can enjoy it more.

Page 184 Zucchini Spread
Luscious. Rich, creamy, more-ish, and made with zucchini! I have made something similar before but that did not stop me from enjoying this spread!

Page 185 Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
I had to cook the chips for twice the time stated to get them evenly crisped, but these were worth the wait. The mix massaged into the kale ends up so more-ish - like a tangy, salty chees-y coating that it would be easy to eat the lot in one sitting!

Page 194 Tofu Pad Thai
Not sure if I like broccoli in my pad thai - and as I said above the balance of the sauce was not exactly to my tastes. I still enjoyed this, and left the table full and happy, but to make again I would tweak.

Page 208 Spanish Cacao Chili
Oh, yum. This was super - with a depth of flavour and myriad nuances which delighted the taste-buds. I did cook a little longer to thicken it up so it was less soupy, but other than that, lovely.

Page 223 Hemp Lentil Burgers
These were wonderful burgers! They did need the twice cooking, and a little resting time after the first cooking, to get that crust on them, and firm up so as not to be too soft and falling apart. I will make these again as we all enjoyed them very much.

If you're looking for a low-fat vegan recipe book, then this may be the one for you! Even if you're not keen on the "Idiot's Guide" series, you will enjoy the taste sensations offered in these pages.

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