This lovely cookbook from Arthur Potts Dawson doesn't preach about eating more veggies but rather shows that you probably want to eat more anyway. He starts with the idea that vegetables can be more than an accompaniment and the introduction neatly sets the book up as a refreshing take on cooking with vegetables that is more in line with old fashioned ways of seasonal cooking and eating the whole rainbow of veggies not just the usual ones. There is no personal background which is refreshing and his personality comes through in the recipes, making a biography unnecessary.
Like so many cookbooks this year, Eat Your Veg opens with notes on what time to buy which veggies and a good larder list. The book is broken down into quite wide sections with some seemingly rather incongruous, such as the Fruits & Fungi, but the book is easy to navigate from the index. Within the sections there are also great skills and feasts pages where Potts Dawson goes step by step through a whole dinner menu or a particular skill set. The Curry feast was my favourite of these.
It is fantastic to see so many photographs in a cookbook and almost every recipe here has been shown and all of the steps in the skills pages are pictured in thumbnail sized images. Although the food looks very appetising some of the pictures have been badly lit and it can be hard to see the components of the dish.
Almost all of the ingredients used in the dishes would be easy to get hold of but some of them are certainly not cheap. One of the best things about this book is the range of cooking times and skills used. Some are very easy to throw together after a busy day while others take a lot more prep work and would be a chance to learn new techniques. There are a huge number of recipes and extra suggestions to work through. The book is mostly, but not exclusively, vegetable dishes and savoury rather than sweet.
Mostly the recipes are really easy to follow, but there isn't a standardisation of the steps so some have a lot more detail than others. The wide spectrum of influences that have gone into the dishes featured is lovely to see and very obvious with everything from Spanish to West African styles represented.
My favourite recipes were the ideas in the mashed potato skills section, the White Garlic Soup with Almonds, the Creamed Purple Kale with Pepper and Lemon and the Lentil Tart with Sweet Potato and Crème Fraîche. I could have chosen another ten favourites, several dishes have already been made many times in my kitchen. The book makes wonderful use of different and difficult ingredients and there is a lot of playful use of herbs with spins on well-known recipes.
Eat Your Veg is certainly not just a book for vegetarians but is the best vegetable cookbook I have read since Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty. It would be a wonderful gift for any food lover and the recipes are a fantastic addition to regular meals.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Eat Your Veg' from Octopus publishing.
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