Vegetable Heaven: Sensational Seasonal Vegetarian Cooking Paperback – 15 Jul 2006
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"A delightful collection, vividly illustrated." -- The Oxford Times
"An essential for the meat-free kitchen." -- Health & Fitness, September, 2006
"perfect for the modern cook" -- Country Smallholding, October, 2006
"This is a book to turn the most hardened carnivore into a
vegetarian." -- BBC Good Food Magazine, August, 2006
Top customer reviews
Admittedly I was swayed by the glowing endorsement from Nigel Slater on the front cover: 'Bold, sassy, sophisticated cooking'. And indeed, it does deliver on the recipe front. The pumpkin stew with coconut, chilli and coriander is particularly delicious and the contents page is full of possibilities from soups to tarts and more. There's a nice range of recipes, from the very healthy to the somewhat dairy-filled - always a hazard in vegetarian cooking! Most are relatively simple and involve ingredients that are easily available, although I did find myself groaning every time a recipe called for preserved lemon (I am sure they are lovely but doubt they will ever feature in my cupboard on a regular basis).
I'm not sure about the lack of photos - I often find them quite useful in getting a sense of what the recipe is like and how to present it. The book is illustrated with watercolour vegetables, which didn't really do it for me, I'm afraid. I also think that perhaps the book could have done with some more hands-on editing as some of the themes are a bit 'samey' - which is not to say that they're not delicious, I just suspect that the book would have been even better if somebody had sat down and said 'right, this is a bit too similar to the last one, let's vary it or include something else'.
All in all, a really lovely book, full of deliciously sensual recipes - and I look forward to a second edition (or another book from the same author) that's a little more polished and shows the recipes off to best effect.
Particular highlights were the red onion tartlets, the pasta with leeks and melted blue cheese which can be cooked ahead for a dinner party and last night's creamy walnut dip/sauce for pasta/spread for crackers.
I'm delighted that its back in print as, having borrowed mine, several friends want a copy. Although its quite old now, I haven't come across another vegetarian cookery book as inspiring.
As a previous reviewer said, there's little variety and there's hardly a recipe without the dreaded lemon in sight. Actually, this book should have been called Tomato, Potato, Pumpkin and Spinach Heaven as these are the vegetables that predominate in the recipes, with a few others thrown in occasionally (asparagus, aubergine, beetroot and carrot all have two or three recipes dedicated to them at most). The author obviously does not like the taste of most things that begins with a `c' as veggies like courgette, cauliflower, celery, chicory and cucumber are completely ignored. Broccoli, radishes, artichokes (Jerusalem or ordinary), brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, sugar snaps, mangetout and lettuce do not make an appearance either. Such a shame that so many vegetables have been banned from Catherine Mason's elite vegetable heaven.
All in all, some nice recipes if you have a fixation with a couple of specific vegetables; however, you won't get much out of it if you like many other varieties in the wonderful vegetable kingdom.
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