Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review: Vegan Cooking for Carnivores

As a new year resolution DH and I would like to greatly reduce meat and dairy from our diet. Now we have gone virtually vegetarian before but with the business of a new baby we fell of the wagon and with a new year and a new house with a new kitchen we want to get back at it again. I also wanted a new cook book to be inspired again. Browsing the books of Nigella, Jamie and Gordon I felt disappointed I would not be able to cook from much. The title of Vegan cooking for carnivores grabbed me because we sometimes miss the meat and it can sometimes be daunting to completely change your diet and eliminate it when you've been eating it almost everyday. So when I saw this book in the book shop it looked great so we bought it.

"Vegan Cooking for Carnivores" is written by Roberto Martin, the personal chef of Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres it's published in 2012. The photographs were done by Quentin Bacon. The book came out in September 2013. It is published by Grand Central Life and Style. It is also available as an ebook. The book has over 125 recipes and they include: breakfast, lunch, appetizers and snacks, soups, salads, pizza and pasta, entrees, sides, beverages, desserts and condiments.

Now I have made quiet a few recipes from the book already, including red beans and rice, shepherd's pie, mushroom pasta, rueben sandwich, arrabiata sauce, lentil soup, tofu egg sandwich and garlicky mash potatoes. And overall I am quiet happy I, DH and A have enjoyed everything we have made. (Well except for some reason I have not enjoyed the mushroom sauce pasta, I felt the mushrooms were a bit too strong but I used mushrooms and not shiitake like the recipe stated.)

I would say most recipes are simple to medium difficulty to prepare. He also has a lot of basics like sandwiches, tomato pasta sauce, tomato soup. I think a novice cook or a an everyday cook would easly master them. Martin is South American so a lot of his recipes are spicy and are Latin. I enjoyed cooking the food from that region. I think if someone is starting out as a vegan or a vegan starting to cook or a vegan living with a carnivore this book is great. If you are an experienced creative vegan cook you might find this book a bit boring. Not every recipe has a picture but there are a number of good photographs.

The one problem I have with this book is some of the ingredients it asks for. As I said some recipes are pretty basic and simple but being in South Africa the ingredients aren't so easy to find. For example there is a recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich. You need vegan cheddar cheese, I've seen vegan cheese once, it wasn't cheddar but it was expensive. A lot of recipes, especially desserts asked for vegan butter, I haven't seen vegan butter and I don't want to use margarine. Same problem exists with vegan mayonnaise. So that would require making your own substitutions and hope it works in the recipe. The Americans are lucky to have som many vegan alternatives.

So If you're in the US and the book looks enticing, get it the recipes are tasty. Anywhere else be warned that you might have trouble finding some of the ingredients!


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