Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
a satisfying selection
on 17 August 2013
For those who own either of Elliot's cookbooks, Veggie Chic, or Vegetarian Supercook, it's worth knowing that this book is a collection of recipes selected from those 2 books. My own staple cookbook is Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian, and it is not surpassed, except in the department of sumptuous photography, by this latest "Best of" offering. Having said that, there can never be a downside to having another Rose Elliot cookery book on the shelf!
The Best of Rose Elliot is divided into 9 food sections: Starters; Soups & salads; Classics with a twist; Midweek meals; Dinners to impress; Al fresco; Parties & celebrations; Side dishes; Desserts & cakes. There are also notes on some of the more unusual ingredients which are interesting to read through. Almost all the dishes are accompanied by full-page glossy photographs that add to the pleasure of flicking through and finding something tasty to serve up. As usual with Elliot, the recipes are simple step-by-step processes with a clear list of ingredients and a succinct one or two sentence introduction.
I've tried a few of the recipes. The sweet potato & coconut dhal was lovely, and as mentioned in the book, tastes much better the next day. It would also be great blitzed up as a soup. I was disappointed by the three-bean chilli which lacked the flavour of a personal favourite recipe because it lacked both herbs and spices (only chilli and garlic in Elliot's, compared with cumin, cayenne, allspice, parsley and oregano). I can create a combination of the two recipes but Elliot's should still be good enough to stand alone; here I felt it played safe to the point of being bland. There are plenty of recipes I am looking forward to trying, such as the banana curry, the lemon & almond drizzle cake and the green risotto.
I always find Elliot to be a very companionable presence in the kitchen when I'm cooking, and this book is presented in the same relaxed and accessible style. The finished results are usually on a par with what is expected, and can be obtained by even a novice cook. This book contains a wide range of dishes, from simple flavoured sides (parsnips in sage butter: yum!) to more complex mains (red pepper, ricotta & fennel tortellini with tarragon sauce) that make it easy to find something for almost any occasion. All in all, a lovely book with a satisfying selection of recipes that isn't quite as good as its title suggests.