Monday, 20 January 2014

Book Review - The SimplyRaw Kitchen

I did really like this book, but I feel I have to mention straight up that I initially found it a little confusing. From the title I was expecting a more complete raw focus. I know the sub heading is "plant-powered, gluten-free, and mostly raw recipes...." but I must have completely glossed over this in my initial reading, and feel that other readers may do the same. Be assured there are loads of raw recipes in the book should you eat a completely raw diet, but there are a number of cooked recipes too (fine for me) to be aware of.

This is a very pretty book - I found it inviting and easy to read. The chapters are laid out in a logical manner, introduced in an interesting and relevant manner, the recipes laid out spaciously, mostly 1 to a page, and in two columns when smaller recipes are combined on a page - the book does not feel crowded even when this occurs. Photos for many of the recipes are dispersed throughout the book. Many recipes have wee icons to indicate if they are fast to make, cooked, or contain nuts.

The introductory sections touch on the authors journey to a raw diet (though not overly detailed or personal - hits a nice balance I think) and how she came to own the restaurant she currently runs in Ottawa. As many of the recipes draw from her cultural roots (Eastern European) and come from her mother, there is a second introduction from her mother, and comments about some of the recipes from her in the book too. I quite like this family touch. The introductory sections continue to look at being raw, transitioning to raw, and eating raw, and does mention that there are cooked recipes included in the book - to aid transition and provide options. There is a chapter looking at raw kitchen essentials, from ingredients, tools and equipment, to techniques and hints, and this chapter includes some basic "how to" recipes as well.

The recipes I made follow - and I did make more cooked recipes than raw, being that it is Winter after all! -
Page 79 - Stovetop Rice Pudding
While this does take a.g.e.s and uses what seems like an impossibly large amount of liquid for the rice, this is one tasty dish. Warming, comforting and very more-ish. I added raisins to mine with the milk and they got plump and juicy.

Page 100 - Cauliflower Chowder
I loved the contrast between the smooth soup and tender cauliflower chunks. Next time I think I'd maybe leave out the herbs and spices and allow the natural flavours to shine more, but even with that said this was one tasty soup.

Page 109 - Garden Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing
Loved the dressing - very Caesar-esque and very more-ish. I poured leftovers onto mashed potatoes as a makeshift gravy and it was a great way to use the dressing up!

Page 122 - Kyssa House Dressing
OK - a basic vinaigrette. Nothing super special but quick to make.

Page 150 - Vietnamese Salad Rolls with Dragon Dipping Sauce
I would eat this sauce on everything if I could, it was that good! I always find rice paper rolls tricky to work with but this sauce made all the fiddling about completely worth while!!

Page 166 - Risi Bisi
Another one where less would have been more as far as the herbs are concerned. I thought the basil overpowered the subtle flavours from the onion, cloves and peas. Very tasty and easy to make, but I would tweak the herbs a little.

Page 167 - Mushroom Goulash
So tasty. I served this with pasta, but could see it being good on mashed potatoes too.

Recommended? Absolutely - If you are raw, raw curious, transitioning to raw, or just want to explore raw food in a delicious and not overly involved manner then this is a great book. So, good for pretty much anyone!

1 comment:

janet @ the taste space said...

I really like this cookbook, too! I feel bad for their name because it is not very representative of their food but I concede it is the name of their restaurant. Now I have more recipes to bookmark... I had been eyeing the goulash, actually. Thanbk you for the review. :)