Monday, 22 April 2013

Book Review - The 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of Europe

I don't have any of Mark Reinfeld's previous books so can't comment on how this one compares with any of the other 30 Minute Vegan books, or any of his other work, though having cooked from this one I think I'll have to look some of the others out at the library!

The book has a lovely picture insert, for those of you who like to see what the food could look like, which is bright and tantalising. The rest of the book is single colour text. The book is broken into chapters by country / region of Europe, and within the chapters the recipes follow a logical meal progression from starters and smaller dishes at the beginning of the chapter, through to desserts at the end. Each chapter has a lengthy introduction to the food of the country (or region) looking at dishes and ingredients most commonly used. I really like this. The recipes have good introductions as well giving information on the origin of the original, changes to veganise the recipe and serving suggestions. In the front, there is a nice introduction with sections looking at herbs and spices, beer and wine pairings, and mushrooms. Interesting reading.

Overall the recipes are quite simple (to fit inside the 30 minutes they have to be!) and are quite true to the original versions of the dishes. If you are looking for modern fusion dishes this may not be the one for you, as the recipes do quite accurately re-create the dishes they are based on. There are many variations noted if you want to change the recipes up a little.They are well written and easy to follow.

I made -
Page 6 - White Bean Dip
Nice change from hummus. Nicely herb-y, easy to make and great with raw veggies.

Page 18 - Spinach Polenta
Deliciously creamy and rich. We ate it soft and it was comfort food heaven!

Page 32 - Tofu Cacciatore
I coked for longer than stated to get the sauce really thick and the mushrooms really cooked down. Pleasant, and easy to make.

Page 68 - Pommes Frites
Fries. Simple. Bit of a gimme recipe in the France chapter, but has to be there I suppose.

Page 86 - Scambled Tofu with Chives and Wild Mushrooms
Nice dish, filling and hearty. Had for dinner but would be good as a weekend breakfast too.

Page 92 - Chocolate Mousse
Interesting to beat the mousse with an electric beater to get it fluffy - gave a lovely texture.

Page 110 - Chickpeas and Roasted Garlic
Enjoyed this very much, though would have liked it to be a bit saucy-er than it was. Personal preference I guess.

Page 111 - Spanish Rice
Again, easy to make and tasty.

Page 132 - Raw Kale Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts
This was a really nice kale salad, I liked the texture of the walnuts after soaking, and the kale was massaged to an easy to eat state.

Page 161 - Red Lentil Soup
Another nice dish, and easy to make. Hearty and filling, perfectly warming.

Recommended? Yes, if you're looking for dishes which mimic favourites from Europe, only vegan!

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