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on 30 December 2002
First things first; I really like this book. I banned Delia from my bookshelves a while ago when she included anchovies in a 'vegetarian' recipe on her TV show, then a week later my aunt, bless her, made me that very dish. I was given this book as a gift and I'm pleased to say that our fishy friends have been spared this time!
I appreciate this book because I am the sort of person who cooks a lot of vegetarian meals, who likes spending time in the kitchen, who enjoys the difference that using varied and often quite expensive ingredients can make, I like to cook for friends, and even don't mind spending half the evening making an elaborate dish just for me. And in true Delia style these recipes work, they are straightforward, and they really are very tasty.
However this is probably not the book for you if you only want an occasional vegetarian meal, or if you want a range of simple everyday recipes - most of the simplest dishes are only accompaniments and almost all the main courses are worthy of a dinner party - and it's certainly a bad buy if you are on a budget. I tried the spinach and ricotta lasagne with pine nuts, and very tasty it was too, but it took ages to make, and I reckon it cost me £14 not including store cupboard ingredients such as flour and herbs! Why specify tinned or frozen spinach when the fresh baby-leaf version is so much more profitable for Sainsbury's et al?!! No wonder Delia's beloved Norwich City can't afford a decent goalscorer...
So, to sum up, it's a wonderful book for the hobbyist cook or veggie who likes to entertain, but not an everyday cookbook. If you want something simpler, just as effective and definitely cheaper then I recommend something by Rose Elliott instead.
The foreword by Victoria Wood is very funny, but don't buy it just for that!
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on 2 December 2004
I was surprised to see that some buyers have been disappointed with this book. I have been vegetarian for many years but, since being given Delia's Vegetarian Collection as a present, have not used any of my other veggie cook books. The book itself is beautifully presented, the recipes are foolproof and all the dishes I have made so far have been delicious (although I must admit that I substitute low fat products sometimes). Some of the recipes are quite time-consuming and not cheap to make but you can either save these for special occasions or adapt them once you've tried them out.
This book makes a wonderful present for anyone who is interested in vegetarian cooking.
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on 26 January 2003
If you already own one vegetarian cookery book you will already be familiar with many of the recipes in Delia's vegetarian cookbook; and if you are interested in healthy eating and a low-fat diet, you will be disappointed because about 80% of the recipes unimaginatively contain either cheese or cream. This is curious because it contradicts her campaign for low-fat eatig on her website. I am particularly disappointed because I have been a loyal admirer of Delia Smith since her Evening Standard days and was anticipating at least one vegetarian recipe that would be her piece de resistance. I don't feel she has risen to the challenge and that this book is the product of her apparently lazy researchers.
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There's no doubting that this book has a good range of recipes, which will serve me for a long time, but I've several gripes about it.
Firstly a lot of the recipes are quite involved. This is not a book for knocking things up in a few minutes or using the few meagre items left in your fridge. Having said that, the swiss baked eggs are a marvellous piece of naughtiness-laden comfort food. Delia's instructions are fairly explicit though, so if you are a beginner cooking to impress then you shouldn't have _too_ many problems, although she's not quite as down-to-earth and full of handy tips as Nigella Lawson or Nigel Slater in this respect.
Secondly, although the book looks divine, with photos filling every other page and some double pages, most of it is totally unnecessary filler fluff - more than half the pictures are of raw ingredients. I already know what a basketfull of apples looks like, thanks Delia, and while I've never seen whitecurrants before, a knowledge of their black and red cousins, combined with a good imagination, should be enough to stand me in good stead. I would much rather have seen more of the recipes photographed. What a waste of space - looks great on the coffee table but next time please can I have either a more useful or a cheaper book.
Finally, not really a big issue but of minor annoyance (to me at least), her insistence on using imperial measures and farenheit temperatures (albeit with metric equivalents in brackets) seems about 20 years out of date, and smacks somewhat of the little-England mentality which I guess Delia represents to some degree. To a generation raised with things that can be divided by 10, it's confusing as hell.
If, like me, you cherish vegetarian recipes wherever you can find them, this is definitely an important book for the collection. But if you are looking for a first book then, as a vast sourcebook of easy-to-cook recipes, I cannot recommend Madhur Jaffrey's "World Vegetarian" too highly. If it's more something to impress friends that you're looking for, while this book ranks highly I would first try to get hold of a copy of Marlena Spieler's sadly out-of-print "Vegetarian Bistro" with its wonderful French-inspired high-butter-high-cream-high-mmmmmmm dishes.
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on 24 January 2004
I asked for Delia's Vegetarian Collection for my birthday, and I already knew that I would like it because I've used my mother's copy.
It has a wealth of recipes and is well illustrated with colour photographs - secretly one of my favourite things in a cookbook, because when you're flipping through it can surprise you with things that look delicious.
There is a wide range of recipes, from salads and soups to puddings and elaborate main courses. The publisher hasn't skimped on recipes, and there are no blank spaces - often there are multiple recipes on one page, which is nice. That said, it isn't too crowded and is fairly easy on the eyes.
Delia provides the only rösti recipe that I've ever made which has actually stuck together. Usually, no matter what amount of egg I put in, the whole thing falls apart in a mess of grated potato. Delia's rösti are baked, have some chopped greens and cheese in with the grated potato, are absolutely delicious - and they don't fall apart! I think that this speaks well for the quality of the whole cookbook...
The only problem that I have with the recipes in this book is that they are almost all slightly too fatty. Although as a vegetarian it is good to see recipes include a source of protein, I'm slightly disturbed about the huge amounts of dairy products - especially cheese and butter - which Delia uses in lavish quantities.
I do like this book very much, but I find that I need to adjust the quantity of butter or cheese used in the recipes. Usually I use about 3/4 of what Delia recommends, and so far it has worked fine. My feeling is that this is a slight flaw in an otherwise excellent and accessible vegetarian book, which offers many absolutely delicious recipes that I use regularly.
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on 5 October 2006
Some of the recipies in this book are fantastic. Compared to the Linda McCartney type books out there this offers some real food with real recipies that you could see falling of the menu at a rosetted restuarant (in fact I'm almost sure I have).

Though there are some major flaws:

1. It's just recylced Delia recipies from her "How to Cook" series: nothing new here at all.

2. The food is cheese, cheese, cheese and egg. This makes the recipies both fat fat fat (a Delia trait though) and lack variety (if you don't like cheese there's probably only 2 recipies in here!)

3. Most of the meals are small (starters, salads, soups, lite-bites) and little main meals.

4. The book lacks supporting information. Delia rarely advises you on how to prepare the meals, source good ingrediants (as other good cook books do) offer alternatives or variations or give advice on what to serve the dish with (great, I've cooked a rosti what should go with it?). Though to be honest this is Delia's usual totalitarian approach to cooking: she makes out there's only one way to cook a meal and every ingrediant must be exact (for example 8% fat fromage frais: why exactly 8%?) or the whole thing will go disasterously.

5. There is little vegetable cooking (as I said mostly cheese and egg), though there is a section it is small and lacks vegetables to support your main meal rather than replace it and it also lacks how to just do great boiled potatoes or great asparagus or great...

That being said its a good start to offering a little more of a professional approach to Vegetarian cooking but it is a book to add to your collection and stretch you repetoir a little rather than revolutionise it.
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on 11 May 2004
If you've already bought "How to Cook" Vols 1-3, then save your money and don't buy this. I was disappointed in this book (£25!) as it really is all of Delia's veggie recipes recycled. However, if you haven't bought the How To Cook books (£25 each)and are a veggie, then go for it as most of the recipes are Delia-styley straightforward.
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on 10 November 2002
I had wanted to cut down on my meat intake and see if there were any tasty alternatives in the way of vegetarian dishes.
I have used other Delia books before so this one looked promising and it did not disappoint.
The receipes are easy to cook and delicious to eat and prove that you don't have to have meat in all of your meals. I would recommend it to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike and also because you don't have to be a professional chef to cook them successfully!
There are plenty of receipes to choose from so you have no chance of getting fed up each meal-time!
Get this book in your kitchen now!
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on 27 November 2008
Delia has fallen into the meat-eaters' trap of thinking she has to replace meat and fish with dairy products or eggs in the same quantities. If you used this book as your main source of recipes your chloresterol levels would go through the roof. There are whole sections on cheese and egg recipes and most of the others feature a lot of full-fat dairy products as well. You would also need a palatial kitchen to house the myriad of specialised ingredients and equipment required (no wonder that she has her own range of cookware).
I admit that some of the recipes are very delicious, if somewhat time-consuming to make, and the instructions are clearly written. However, as a vegetarian cook for a vegetarian family, I found a lot of it unapproachable.
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on 3 November 2002
Whilst Delia Smith is often associated with roasts and meaty food, this is vegetarianism at its best. The recipes are innovative and uncomplicated. Whilst some of the recipes have appeared in other books of hers, many are new ones. No longer will I fret for some inspiration when vegetarian friends come round for dinner!
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