Veganmofo 2009 – Urban Vegan

This is a very new book – in fact I think it arrived on the first day of Mofo so I’ve only had it a couple of weeks. I’ve been excited about it for ages though as I do enjoy the Urban Vegan blog and have seen some tester photos on Flickr which looked really tasty. So even though I’ve not had it long I rushed to make some things out of it so I could review it here before the end of Mofo (I do suffer for the cause).

It’s a nicely published and presented book, even though there aren’t any photos. It took me a while to get used the chapter headings and where things are, but although I prefer a more straightforward order, this one works well. The chapters are Cafe Culture, Breakfast, Lunches, Soups, Melting Pot (pastas, tagines, curries etc), House Party, Urban Garden, Haute Cuisine, Just Desserts and Happy Hour. It is a bit confusing but it’s still easy to work around. There are symbols for low fat, fast, omnivore friendly, frugal and kid friendly.

The author’s personality comes strongly through the recipe introductions. It could come across as a bit smug, but then I guess she’s got quite a lot to be smug about so I don’t begrudge her it at all! Her city life is certainly different to mine though. I mean, I live in a city, but it’s one without all the diners, cafes, vegan friendly restaurants, ethnic markets and cocktail bars that Philadelphia clearly has!

There’s still plenty I want to try, which is a good sign. Because I only got this book after MoFo started, I haven’t blogged about any of the dishes yet, but will do soon. Here’s what we’ve tried and what we thought:

Chickpea paprikash served with red cabbage with caraway seeds – really nice, quick and easy, good for midweek
Millet crusted mushroom leek pie – very easy to make but found both the filling and crust a bit bland
Chocolate chipotle chilli – A bit sweet on day one but really tasty on day 2
Spaghetti carbonara – loved the taste and texture but too much pasta for sauce, would use less pasta next time (and the instructions don’t tell you when to add the cornflour/soya milk mix)
Curry cashew casserole – very quick and easy, great texture but will use more curry paste next time

Things I’m really keen to try:
Saltimbocca
Sweet potato gnocchi with basil cream sauce
Portabello burrito
Bean and bulgur tacos
Bagna cauda (especially this!)

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