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Haute cuisine goes vegetarian
on 27 June 2009
A really excellent vegetarian cookbook that I fear will only appeal to a very limited minority - those who want to cook vegetarian food and have also got the talent, ability and desire to cook complex, sometimes difficult dishes using a large number of ingredients.
First off, it should be said that the recipes in this cookbook are really pretty remarkable.
Beautifully photographed, this book is a joy to read and I would happily leave it lying around on my coffee tables for everyone else to skim through with hungry appreciation.
Some of the recipes that particularly appealed to me were Watermelon Gazpacho in Thai Style; Lemongrass and Sweetcorn Soup with Creme Fraiche; Mushroom, Beetroot, Mozzarella with a Lentil Cartouche. I wasn't so keen on the idea of the Griddled Radicchio and Strawberry Risotto, but maybe it is amazing too. Hopefully this gives you a sense of the adventurous, exotic nature of the recipes in this cookbook!
With that said, personally I found the recipes so complex that I don't think I will be attempting to cook from this book often. They are the kind of food I would be absolutely delighted to be served in a restaurant, but which I probably wouldn't get around to preparing myself unless it's for a very special occasion where I want to wow my guests. For example, the opening dish of Carrot Pancakes with Houmous and a Feta Salad looks delicious but there are 36 separate components! Don't be put off - it's not that the recipes involve difficult techniques, and they are explained clearly and well. It's more the quantity of ingredients involved - just not things you would have hanging around in your kitchen cupboards. For me, getting all of the ingredients together would involve a lot of time and expense.
I am sure I will come back to this book a lot, but maybe more for inspiration and reading pleasure than for actual use. I'm not sure that I'm the type of cook it's intended for. I would actually recommend this to any vegetarian cook in any case, simply because it has such beautiful flavour ideas and makes for a great read. A brilliant cookbook - but make sure you are up to the challenge!