28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Worst vegetarian cookbook on my shelf,
This review is from: Veggiestan: A Vegetable Lover's Tour of the Middle East (Hardcover)
I really wanted to like this book as I received it as a present. The cover and pictures are very attractive, but that's as far as it goes. I have made 10 of the recipes in this book and I wouldn't cook any of them again. I consider myself an accomplished vegetarian cook, but my family rated two dishes from this book as "uneatable", 7 were "okay but don't cook it again", and one was rated excellent. The one rated excellent was 'melons with wings' which is a recipe that the author admits was stolen from one of her customers. But it took me so long to make it - 45 mins to cook the aduki beans, 25 mins for the cooker top part, and 30 mins in the oven, that it won't be gracing our table again. The barberry & almond casserole is described by the author in her intro as 'gloriously rich and tart, infused with the pungent flavour of dried limes' but it was so tart and sour that we couldn't eat it. It hit the compost bin and we had cheese on toast instead. A total waste of good ingredients. In mentioning ingredients, I should say that I live in Manchester which has many middle eastern and asian stores selling all range of exotic ingredients. But many of those included in the book were hard to track down - I couldn't find verjuice anywhere. I agree with the reviewer from Shropshire, that finding the ingredients will be difficult for anyone outside a major conurbation.
The author admits that she is a meat-eater, and I think this shows in the recipes. Many seem to be adapted from meat-versions, with little consideration given to nutritional values. For example she recommends that a casserole with a high potato content, should be served with rice. Carbohydrate overload! The best recipes in the book are those which she acknowledges as stolen from others. But in my view there are too few of these good recipes to make this book a worthwhile investment. I'd suggest instead Claudia Roden's middle eastern cookbook, which isn't a vegetarian book, but includes many great vegetarian dishes.