I totally want to love this book, and I’m sure that the recipes within it are really good, but I just can’t cope with the layout of it. There aren’t any pictures. It’s a small book and it’s so busy with information that I can’t take it all in. Each page has got a big margin with extra suggestions and variations which would be great for some people but is all a bit too much for me. I’m really sorry about this because I love Italian food and I know there are things I want to cook in it. Whenever I look through it I spot things I want to cook but for whatever reason I don’t come back to it.It doesn’t contain any odd ingredients, has lots of gluten and soya free options – in fact, too many! Please tell me what I should try first to get me into this book, which I’m sure is full of little gems.
I’ve got a few other Rose Elliot vegetarian cookbooks and they all contain quite a good ratio of vegan recipes and ideas, but as far as I know this is the only vegan one. It was one of the first books I bought after I decided to become vegan and I’ll always be grateful to some of the inspiration it gave me, but to be honest I cook using her other books far more. This is the only one I’ve got with no pictures and it’s also a lot more basic than the others. I suppose that’s for a reason, it’s supposed to be an introduction to vegan food after all.
All the recipes are for fairly simple dishes like pastas, spreads, sauces, cakes, soups, pulses etc. It uses both cups and weights so is suitable for whichever is your preferred method. It’s definitely aimed at novice cooks and most of the recipes are quick and easy. They use very simple ingredients too – you won’t need to be rushing out to specialist shops – but expect as a result basic flavour combinations. None of the dishes really come as a surprise for example, because they taste exactly of the ingredients in them.
I was very pleased I bought this book at the time but I think I’ve probably gone beyond using it much now. It’s still great for new vegans, novice cooks like my husband, or anyone who doesn’t have access to fancy ingredients or cookware – students, for example, or anyone in temporary accommodation.