Delia Smith has tossed the odd crumb to non-meat eaters in previous books: in Delia's Vegetarian Collection
, finger on the pulse as always, she pulls the best of those together, tops them up with a selection of new ones, and presumably has herself and the BBC another bestseller. Lest this sound ungenerous, it's as well to say that this is a fine collection, wide-ranging and full of variety; and also visually very appealing. Vegetarians are likely to feel that the wait was worthwhile; many other cooks will be grateful for an inspiring repertoire, which happens not to contain meat. As always with Delia Smith, there is nothing here to frighten the tentative cook. Perhaps the most demanding recipe is the rather modish Red Onion Tarte Tatin. But even here, Delia's calm directions provide the most reassuring of guides (practically every sentence in every recipe starts with the words "First" or "Next" or "Then").
Delia has cast her net widely, both geographically and, as it were, chronologically. While Vegetarian Sausage Rolls , "Not Pork" Pie and a variety of hefty vegetable gratins, such as Roasted Vegetable and Brown Rice, evoke a time of wholefood earnestness, before vegetarian food lightened up, most of the recipes belong to a more modern era, characterised by the flavours of the Mediterranean and the Pacific Rim, where vegetables play a more central role in the cuisines. Pasta and noodle recipes, for example, include the wonderful Trofie with Pesto, Green Beans and Potatoes, together with many other classic Italian dishes; while the East contributes Singapore Stir-Fried Noodles and Soba Noodles with Soy and Citrus Dressing. One of the pleasures of this book is the presence of many classic recipes, included simply because of their deliciousness. This is plainly the case in the Puddings chapter. Suet aside, puddings can't cause vegetarians too many problems. But here are Crepes Suzettes, Bananas Baked in Rum, Crème Brûlé and Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar Ice Cream to remind us that some of the best things to eat have always been meatless. --Robin Davidson
At last - what every vegetarian has been waiting for: a vegetarian cookbook from Queen of Cooks, Delia Smith. Filled with mouth-watering dishes, even meat-lovers will give a second glance at this beautifully presented and illustrated recipe book. A compilation of recipes from previous Delia books, this also includes 50 new, not-been-published before recipes. As Delia says this is a "collection that spans my entire cookery career" and each recipe has been retested and updated to take account of new techniques and ingredients. With an international twist, vegetable tagines and moussakas mingle with British stalwarts such as sausage rolls and mulligatawny. Not only savoury dishes are included but her infamous puddings such as plum and almond buttermilk cobbler and apple pie are here to ensure either a full three course meal for a vegetarian dinner party or a single dish for yourself. Whichever you choose you are guaranteed success and admiration from all you serve when you choose a "Delia" and this is a long-awaited and valuable addition to every cooks collection. - Lucy Watson