Monday, 5 August 2013
Book Review - The Vegan Cheat Sheet
The info contained in this book is really helpful, especially if you are a new vegan, or someone contemplating becoming vegan but think it is too hard. This book will soon put you right about that. There is a lot of information presented in the first half of the book, but it is in bite-size (so to speak) chapters so there are lots of breaks as to not overwhelm the reader. These chapters include topics such as reasons for becoming vegan, dispelling myths about a vegan diet, providing hints for success, info on maybe new to you ingredients and where to get nutrients, what to eat/not eat and what to substitute for the not eat foods, shopping lists as well as cooking hints.
There are also sections towards the back of the book on eating out, travelling and how to find suitable food at restaurants - including a run through of vegan options at a number of chain restaurants (through out the United States mainly though some are international). The only downside to the information is that some of the stuff about dishes at restaurants which are vegan friendly may date quickly as restaurant chains change their menus etc.
The recipe sections are OK. As this is not a recipe book, per se, the recipes are part of the picture as to how easy it is to be vegan, not the be all and end all. The layout of these sections are a little crowded, with many recipes requiring page turning, and for those of you who like them, no pictures. As the book is quite small (super handy for taking with you!!) this is to be expected but does make the recipes less easy to use.
The recipes I made -
Page 100 African Stew
Result was very tasty. Thick, warming and homey. I did have to add more water to ensure the stew didn't stick as it cooked, and cook for longer than stated.
Page 103 Macaroni and Cheese
While a brilliantly cheese-coloured dish this was lacking in oomphy cheese like flavours for me. Tasty enough as a pasta bake but not really a Mac and Cheese in my mind.
Page 106 Pad Thai
I added more veggies and some hot sauce. Tasty, though my noodles got glumpy as rice noodles often do!
Page 113 Falafel
Quick and easy. I prefer Falafel baked for the texture and these were good. Maybe I should of added a little more flour as they did crumble a touch. Flavours were good.
Page 121 Thai Peanut Noodles
Lovely, and I'm not a huge cucumber fan. The combination with the soba noodles was really nicely done.
Page 136 Cream of Broccoli Soup
Really liked this one. Super creamy and rich but not too heavy.
Page 146 Caesar Dressing
I added more caper brine to get the tang which I felt was missing. Not so much caesar dressing for me but still good. Nice as a dip for the falafel.
Page 147 Soy - Ginger Marinade
Lovely on zucchini which we grilled. Vibrant flavours with no heaviness.
Page 148 Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette
A simple reduction, but very flavourful.
Page 163 Power Breakfast Snack Bars
I tasted the mix and felt it needed sweetener - there is none in the recipe so added a couple of tablespoons of agave. I'm glad I did as the end product wasn't sweet at all even with the amount I added. I would have added more. Simple to make.
Recommended - absolutely, even with the not so easy to use recipe section. The information provided more than out weighs any slight inconvenience. Something to lend to vegan curious friends, or buy for them for sure.