This month’s cookbook review is embarrassingly light. Between a holiday and entertaining visitors, I didn’t spend that much time in the kitchen, and the book I’d chosen, Vegan Comfort Food, wasn’t the most inspiring. I only managed six recipes from this book. Yes, go ahead and shame me. I deserve to be pelted with rotten tomatoes. But you might as well read this extremely brief review anyway while you’re here.
I had actually never heard of this book, but it was only a couple of pounds for the e-book, so I thought I might as well give it a whirl. But perhaps there’s a reason it was being sold so cheaply. This is quite a confusing book. There is a recipe in it for burgers, and the ingredients list calls for shop-bought chicken patties, mayo, and bacon bits, plus hot sauce, burger buns, tomato and lettuce. Who needs a recipe for assembling a frozen burger?! Yet there are also recipes for homemade seitan, so I’m not entirely sure who the book is aimed at.
Here is the handful of recipes I tried.
The first recipe I tried was for these easy breakfast biscuits, which remained very pale, flat, and a bit doughy. I’m no biscuit expert, but I think something definitely wrong. The taste was fine, but I was expecting something better in terms of appearance and texture.
I’m slowly coming round to the idea of biscuits and gravy, so I also made the sage gravy to accompany them. This was a total success – really easy, and really delicious. I’d happily make the gravy again, though I might stick to a tried and tested biscuit recipe instead.
While I am still a bit suspicious of biscuits and gravy, I have no such qualms when it comes to tofu scramble – I’m willing to try any recipe! I was impressed by the paprika, nooch, and turmeric in this one, but it needed a bit more. I livened it up by adding some smoked tofu to the mix, and using sun-dried tomatoes instead of regular ones. It was a solid base recipe though, and easily tinkered with.
The coconut corn chowder didn’t look particularly photogenic, and it didn’t have any herbs or spices, which seemed like an oversight. Again, it was a good base recipe, and easily livened up with some chilli flakes. I think it was necessary to have something a bit more fierce to balance out the sweetness of the coconut milk. The recipe includes some sun-dried tomatoes, and I heartily approve of their inclusion.
I made the creamy black bean soup using kidney beans instead of black ones due to availability, but no other changes this time. It was a very quick and easy soup, and a pretty tasty one too – it won’t go down in history as one of the great soups, but it was a solid lunch.
In the end I only made one recipe from the mains section. There’s a recipe for fettucine alfredo two ways – I made sauce one, which is a simple blitzing of a handful of ingredients. This is a great emergency meal option. The sauce really packed a punch when it was freshly blitzed, but when it was warmed through with the pasta it lost a bit of its magic, so I’d probably increase the seasoning a bit next time. I’ll happily have this again.
And that is the sum of my efforts in April. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book, because I’m just not sure who the intended audience is. There were some appetising sounding recipes, but some needed specialised ingredients and others were just a matter of assembling shop-bought products. If you’ve had more luck with this book, I’d love to hear about it!
And I solemnly swear I will post a more thorough review of next month’s book!