on 29 October 2003
I resolved to go on a liver cleansing vegan diet for 2 months, and until now, I've had pre-diet nerves about how on earth I'll survive without meat or dairy. What will I eat? Won't I be permanently hungry? Well, The Candle Cafe Cookbook has given me the answer to these questions - a resolute 'No' ! This is a brilliant book whose recipes enable me to demonstrate to my carniverous pals that vegan cooking can be adventurous and delicious, as well as being inherently nutritious. I mean, have you ever met a fat vegan?!
The book has recipes used by the Candle Cafe, a highly successful eatery in New York, a place where UNsuccessful ones don't last five minutes.
It's true, because of the high volume of pulses and the vast array of fresh herbs and spices that are used in the recipes, they do require a bit more preparation than the 'bung the chop under the grill' style of dinner, but once you resolve to make the effort you get to reap the rewards. For those venturing into the world of vegan cooking for the first time, there's a handy glossary describing what on earth ingredients like quinoa and kombu are.
I've had the book two weeks and cooked from it every day. The tabboleh recipe makes an outstanding filling for wraps and goes excellently with the pita bread crisps, while the mushroom and wild rice soup is hearty and tasty.
That's another thing... people (including me up until two weeks ago) think vegan cooking is all about neglect, what you can't have, it's impossible to fill up on 'rabbit food' etc. This book has shown me this is just not true. The portions are generous, and the food has surprising depth of flavour.
One thing stopping me from giving this book a five... to date I've not cooked any of the tofu recipes in the book. Why? Well, I've tried it before and as an ingredient, it and me just don't get on. But I've been so impressed by the Candle Cafe Cookbook's other recipes, it may tempt me to revisit tofu.
PS: I've lost three pounds already, but swear I've been having so much fun eating this weight loss seems almost incidental.
on 28 August 2007
I had the good fortune to eat at the Candle Café while holidaying in New York. It was one of the most interesting meals I had there and something of an eye-opener for the possibilities of vegan food.
I bought the book on the strength of the two meals I had at the restaurant. The book, like the restaurant, is full of inspiration and it certainly gives the information to recreate the food.
However, to follow these recipes you will need to be able to get hold of some ingredients which you won't find on the supermarket shelves. If you're in the UK you'll also have to put some thought into where you can make substitutions when it comes to specific sauces and spices. While tempeh is becoming more widely available in health food stores, seitan is a trickier proposition. You can make it, but you will need some dedication.
This isn't a "quick and easy" book, but put in the effort and you'll be rewarded with good food.
on 18 May 2006
I love this book. I have 100s of cookery books and this is the first review I have left on Amazon. I'm not a vegan, I just enjoy different types of food and experimenting with cooking. I've recently been diagnosed with coeliac (gluten intollerance) which means I've had to review my diet and surprisingly their are lots of recipes in this book that I can still use as they don't automatically use wheat flour to thicken sauces etc.
There are lots of wonderful ingredients and real care and thought has been put into what type of recipes are included - for example there are lots of lunchtime ideas which is something I've found hard to find in the past. There are also lots of exciting salads, my favourite being the Aztec Salad which is tempeh marinated in chilli barbeque sauce with greens, quinoa salad with black beans, corn, pepper and red onion, topped with roasted tomato dressing and toasted pumpkin seeds.
If you want to try exciting, exotic vegan food, this is the book to buy.