Top critical review
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A bit underwhelming
on 4 January 2011
I got this cookbook based on recommendations of friends, and the reviews here. I love cooking, and I really enjoy cooking challenging recipes with complex flavours. Looking through the book the recipes looked great, but for each of them that I have made I've found them a bit disappointing really and could be improved by a few creative alterations to the recipe. The chickpea and honeyed sweet potato stew, for instance, tasted insipid. The tomato sauce could have really been enhanced by the addition of garlic (possibly chilli too?) and cooking for a lot longer than the recipe called for. The honeyed sweet potatoes would hold their shape and taste more interesting if they were baked in honey, rather than boiled. Following the recipe to the letter, it just tasted as if I'd tipped tinned tomatoes over some chickpeas and boiled potatoes and with a sprinkling of spices. The marinated aubergines tasted spongey due to the size of the chunks recommended in the book, and the tahini dressing merely replicated the flavours of the marinade (I found it better without). I found myself wondering how original the recipes could claim to be, and frankly if you're interested in food that's a labour of love and offers fresh new tastes I'd recommend Moro or Rodin's Arabesque every time.
As an aside, this recipe book contains meat recipes, but for those wanting vegetarian meals I strongly suggest Veganomicon and Bill Sewell's 'Place Below' books.