This book definitely falls into the category of books I love. I had to get it from Amazon US. That was in the days of the pound being strong against the dollar and the exchange rate was so great that even including shipping it was cheaper to buy books from abroad than here. Let’s hope that day comes around again before we visit next year!
But I didn’t regret it for a minute. This is such a fun book. It’s got cute hand drawn pictures of the author, and some pictures of the food – they’re not all perfect stylized photos but they’re real pictures which show you what you’re aiming for without looking too unattainable.
The recipes are fairly straightforward, don’t rely on weird ingredients, and are actually fairly healthy and low fat without singing it from the rooftops and relying on nasty over healthy stuff. It’s easy, tasty comfort food that won’t break the bank, won’t have you scouring the internet for unusual ingredients and won’t pile on the pounds. Perfect.
It was a sad day when the author announced she wouldn’t be writing a second book, but I’ll certainly be getting a copy of her forthcoming cookzine.
These are some of the recipes I’ve loved, in case you want to try them:
Beer battered chicken seitan
Twice stuffed potatoes
Sesame green beans
Mustard crusted seitan
and just last night I tried the tofu marsala. I served it with mashed potatoes and broccoli and it was a divine, warming, tasty comfort food which I highly recommend!
Since my vegetarian days I have been a big lover of Denis Cotter, his cookbooks and Cafe Paradiso. The restaurant is lovely and the food there is great but I think what appeals most is his wonderful amusing writing and modest outlook on life. I first went over to Cork to visit Paradiso for my tenth wedding anniversary and was lucky enough to meet Denis. For such a highly regarded, creative chef and writer he’s amazingly modest and one of my favourite people. I have been to the restaurant twice in one weekend since I became vegan and the food was excellent, but some of my favourite recipes from his books are no longer available to me. I have made vegan versions of some, and sometimes you’ll stumble across a naturally vegan one (usually Asian influenced), but if you do eat cheese I can highly recommend his recipes as some of the most creative lacto vegetarian recipes you’ll ever find.
I’d had my eye on this recipe from his latest book for quite a while. Last year when I was inundated with sprouting broccoli from my vegetable box, I hunted high and low for farro and couldn’t find it. The day I found it, in Sainsbury’s no less, was just about the last sprouting broccoli of the year!! Anyway, today I remembered both, and English sprouting broccoli was back, so I decided to make a vegan version. I made the farrotto almost as listed but I used plenty of Yellow Rose Recipes parmesan and olive oil instead of their dairy counterparts. The broccoli part I followed exactly but my broccoli was a bit stringy so I steamed it briefly first.
It was my first time using whole farro/spelt and I loved it. The whole combination was absolutely delicious and I was blown away by the risotto part of it. It was so tasty and a great texture. The idea of the tomatoey, spicy broccoli was good but my broccoli remained staunchly stringy and chewy, which ruined it a bit. I’d definitely make it again but I’d substitute the far cheaper and more reliable kale or greens for the broccoli next time because I think they’d have the same earthy green effect against the creamy farrotto.