Review of Plenty More – Yotam Ottolenghi

Posted: November 13, 2014 in cookbook, Review
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plenty more

They sent us a vegetarian cookbook. I don’t know why they sent us a vegetarian cookbook, because my family are a carnivorous lot at worst, omnivorous at best, and vegetables are a thing tolerated rather than enjoyed. Thankfully it’s vegetarian and not vegan, so eggs and cheeses are allowed, and that makes for a lot more interest, especially in the “Cracked” section. Like that recipe for “Cauliflower Cake” that everyone was admiring when the book arrived.

The book is broken up into sections broadly by cooking method, which is a little unusual, but does seem to work in this instance. “Tossed” is all about salads, and though it may be contrary to the spirit of the book, I can foresee getting a lot use out of that chapter with summer and the barbeque season coming up (actually, not… there are frequent suggestions for carnivore options to serve the salads with). Next comes “Steamed” which has some excellent rice dishes – I’m tempted to adapt the “Lemon and Curry Leaf Rice” for my multi-cooker, especially since I found curry leaves at the market. There is a short chapter entitled “Blanched” and then we’re into “Simmered” and a lot of interesting soups and pasta dishes among others. “Braised” has what amounts to vegetable stews, even a dish of lentils with manuka honey. In “Grilled” there is a sweetcorn slaw I really must try come summertime. “Roasted” is mainly about things to do with roots, but there are also recipes for roasting Brussels sprouts and for cauliflower which I suspect would come as a revelation to many (the cauliflower certainly did when I served it up). “Fried” opens with pea and mint croquettes which I’m sure my husband will love. “Mashed” has some interesting alternatives to mashed potato, and some cool dips. Then it’s on to “Cracked” and things with eggs – spicy scrambled for brekkie anyone? “Baked” naturally tends to pies and gratins, and a tasty looking savoury bread pudding. Finally, “Sweetened” wanders off into the land of fruity desserts.

One especially pleasing feature is that quantities are given in grams. There are few more annoying things to the cook than finding a recipe that refers to “two onions” with no indication as to what size of onion! My only criticism is that with a plethora of unusual spices and other ingredients being used, a glossary with a general idea of where to find these things would have helpful. This is overall an excellent vegetable cookbook, beautifully illustrated, and by no means just of use to vegetarians. The reality is that we all need to eat more veg, for our own health and that of the planet, and “Plenty More” gives us plenty more ways to do just that.

Random House

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

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