You’ll remember that I spent lots of time last year testing recipes for the incredibly talented Tami from Vegan Appetite. (She also created Food Network Friday, in case you’ve heard the name more recently). I tested about 120 recipes from that book, so it’s certainly gone to the top of the list of books I’ve made the most recipes from! Testing for Tami was so satisfying because she was so quick to help, and understand and take feedback gracefully. I can see parts of the book where my suggestions for alterations or alternatives have been incorporated, so it makes me feel like a big part of the book.
The book is crammed full of hearty delicious dishes, from breakfasts right through to desserts, and stopping off at soups, appetizers, sandwiches, main courses and sides on the way. Some of the original dishes won’t necessarily be familiar to non American readers, but rest assured that it won’t matter a jot. There’s a fantastic calendar of food celebrations at the beginning of the book, so if you’re not sure what to make this’ll help (today is Day of the Mushroom, and the suggestion is Smokin’ BBQ Portabello sandwiches. Sounds good to me.)
Making that many recipes, it’s very hard to pick favourites. A few recipes I tested got cut from the book, but they’re appearing on Tami’s blog (like this kraut). I only just noticed that her amazingly rich and beautiful breakfast potatoes didn’t make it, so maybe if you all wish hard enough that one will appear too.
So although this is not a list of my exact favourites, let me give you an idea about some of the things I loved, so that you get a flavour of what the book is all about. (I’m having a fight with Flickr about whether I’ve paid for pro, so some of my pictures are missing. I’ll add them when I get them back but they don’t do the dishes justice anyway)
Cheezy tofu potato skillet. This takes the hash brown and cheeze sauces recipes from elsewhere in the book and combines them with tofu, peppers, olives and pizza type herbs and spices to create a sort of pizza where the base is potato. Genius. It’s in the breakfast chapter but it’s a Friday night regular in our house.
Darngood donut bites. I’m not one for sweet breakfasts but I’m embarrassed to admit that I ate half a portion of these with a pot of coffee in about 10 mintes flat.
Cafe spinach dip. Not your ordinary spinach dip, with salsa, cumin and all sorts of other goodies in it, I spread it on toast, and eat until I turn into Popeye.
Seitan brew stew. There’s quite a bit of chopping in this but then you can throw it all in a pot and come back in an hour to an amazing rich hearty stew like your Grandma used to make. One of those dishes that’s miles more than the sum of its parts.
Mushroom barley stew. Uses the much underrated pearl barley with mushrooms, bacon and smoky spices to create another hearty dish that just gets better the long it waits for you, so you can make it at the weekend and dive in after that awful Monday back at work.
Not so Nicoise salad. You don’t often hear me raving about salads but this is a main course salad that’s perfect for summer with a lovely zingy dressing.
B.L.T potato salad. This uses the amazing bacon strips from elsewhere in the book and pairs them with spinach to take potato salad into gourmet dining
Smoking BBQ portabello sandwich. Hot and spicy, smoky bites of deliciousness, and perfect with Midway French Fries.
Greek Town Gyros. This starts with an amazing seitan lamb which is marinated and flash fried and then served with tzatziki sauce and other kebab fixings. Make double the lamb thenfreeze it and you’re never more than half an hour away from this post pub staple.
Sweet garlicky ribz. An amazing textured ribz dish, savoury and smoky and with a great sauce and perfect with the macaroni cheeze and greens from the side dish chapter
Brewpub Tater-Tot pie. Even with a poor UK imitation standing in for the tots this was a great comfort food meal and froze really well for those times when you don’t want to wait more than a minute for a big dish of goodness.
Spiced chocolate pudding cake. I don’t do desserts, but this was an amazingly clever cake which magically made its own sauce and made me feel like a domestic goddess. Just a hint of spice to get people guessing.
Crispy bottom peanut butter pie. Even I could whip this one up really quickly – rich, creamy, peanutty – need I say more?
I could keep on going but then there’d be no surprises left for you for when you get your own copy. I got my own copy for helping with the testing, and I’m certainly not parting with it. But I love it so much I’ve bought another copy to give away, so that someone else can share the love. Sorry Americans, but just this once I’m making this giveaway Europe only – or if you live anywhere else like Australia where you’re normally excluded from giveaways, you can enter too. It’s not that I’m too cheap for postage, just that I’m trying to get my own back for once letting all the non-Americans get a chance to win a giveaway.
Just leave me a comment saying why you’d like to win the book (and what country you’re in), and I’ll do some random pick out of a hat to see who wins. I’m sure there’s a technical way to do it, but I very likely will actually pick out of a hat. Competition closes on 30th April, when I’ll announce the lucky winner.