Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Book Review - Better than Vegan

Happy and Healthy New Year wishes to everyone.

I agreed to take part in the blog tour for Del Sroufe's new book thinking that a post early in 2014 about healthy eating would be a good way to usher in the year - many people do start to think about their health as the year commences after all. I didn't think about that I would actually have to write the review on a day when I might not be the most wide awake, but anyway - here goes!

There's only 101 recipes in this book but it is still quite substantial - there is a huge introductory section, and while I tend to like reading these parts of cook books like novels this one left me a little glassy eyed. I didn't really connect with the very (long) personal life story as related in Chapter 1. Yes, Del's story is interesting and inspiring but I felt this could have been condensed a little. Chapters 2 and 3 I found much more interesting and relevant to the book - looking at foods to avoid and eat more of whilst eating low-fat vegan, equipment, techniques and ingredients all aimed at giving you information for the recipes which follow.

The recipes themselves are logically grouped, well laid out (one per page), attractively presented with coloured text, interesting and not overly long headers, and there are many relevant photos for those who like them. I made -

Page 72 - Cauliflower Puree
This is an ingredient for some of the other recipes I made - but is a luscious way to enjoy cauliflower as it stands.

Page 84 - Low Fat Mayonnaise
Again another ingredient in some of the other recipes I made. Not really tasting of mayonnaise as I would imagine it, but tasty enough. I didn't eat other than in the recipes where it was used.

Page 86 - Jalapeno Mayonnaise
Tangy and spicy and very good. Off the spoon this didn't have the mouth feel I would expect from mayo but mixed into a tossed salad it was very good - it added a background smooth creaminess which is what a mayo based dressing does and was quite enjoyable.

Page 133 - Cracked Black Pepper Hummus
Very Lemon-y! Didn't have the real smooth creaminess I expect from hummus but was tasty enough. I did have to add some water so I would process until smooth.

Page 160 - Turkish Red Lentil Soup
Nice balance of mint and lemon and very very good. Super simple and quick.

Page 204 - Black Bean Burgers
Tasty. Easy to make, and got a lovely crust once baked. Not overly assertive flavour but did the trick with salad and dressing or on a bun.

Page 226 - Creamy Pasta and Broccoli
I also added some arugula right at the end to wilt it as I had some to use up. Very tasty.

Page 232 - Baked Tofu
Confusing this one. I think the recipe has got mixed in with the recipe on the preceding page as it talks about stuffing it and there are no ingredients for that. Just a proof reading error maybe? I ignored all these references and just baked my tofu plain. My marinade / cooking sauce burnt to the dish but the tofu itself was lovely - well flavoured and textured. Nice hot and cold the next day.

Page 244 - Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts
The glaze wasn't as thick and sticky as I was expecting and would have liked, but the flavour was awesome. Love sprouts and it is nice to have other ways to cook them!

Page 252 - Potato Salad
Creamy and very tasty - you'd not know this salad was low fat. Really good.

Recommended? If you're a follower of a low-fat / no-oil vegan way of eating you'll find a lot to celebrate in this book. If you're not - why not give some of the recipes a try for a change? you may be pleasantly surprised!!

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