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May ’24 – My favourite Cookbooks of the Month

A collage of four cookbook covers: 'Bitter' with leafy greens and the subtitle 'A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavour, with Recipes'; 'Mushrooms' by Martin Nordin, featuring various mushrooms and a knife; 'Seaweed' showing a plated dish with seaweed and the subtitle 'A Collection of Simple and Delicious Recipes from an Ocean of Food'; and 'Flour' with a textured gray background and the subtitle 'A Comprehensive Guide

It’s mid-autumn, the garden is planted, and the greenhouse is brimming with herbs and greens. We’ve moved our citrus trees and chili plants indoors to shield them from the cold, as the mornings are getting frosty! The April cookbooks all featured chestnuts, a relatively new ingredient for me, used in fascinating ways. In March, I sought inspiration for planting the autumn and winter vegetable gardens, with the recipes influencing my planting plan. I chose ingredients based on what I’d need to cook new recipes. February was dedicated to preserving the abundance of summer produce, but May ’24 – My Favourite Cookbooks of the Month are a bit different. I organise my cookbooks by categories: styles of cooking, regions, history and reference, with one shelf reserved for single ingredient books like these.

Flour – Christine McFadden

isbn : 978147294597

This cookbook dives into a fantastic array of flours, from those made of nuts and seeds to other plant sources. It’s incredibly useful for anyone needing to swap out traditional wheat flour due to dietary restrictions or personal health choices.

Each flour gets its own detailed profile, covering protein content, flavour, and best uses in the kitchen. This cookbook helps you choose the right flour for the right job because not all flours can be swapped and still give you the texture or flavour you’re aiming for. The innovative recipes showcase the versatility of these flours, and many are easy to adapt to plant-based diets or spark ideas for new creations, like my Potato and Seaweed Oatcakes

Cover of the cookbook  of the month 'Flour: A Comprehensive Guide' by Christine McFadden, featuring a textured light grey background with a large blue circular stamp-like design that reads 'flour' in the center. The author's name and the subtitle 'grains and pulses, nuts and seeds: recipes from breads and tortillas to pancakes and pies' are also displayed, emphasizing the book's focus on diverse flour options.

Each flour gets its own detailed profile, covering protein content, flavour, and best uses in the kitchen. This cookbook helps you choose the right flour for the right job because not all flours can be swapped out and still give you the texture or flavor you’re aiming for. The innovative recipes showcase the versatility of these flours, and many are easy to adapt to plant-based diets or spark ideas for new creations, like my Potato and Seaweed Oatcakes


Seaweed – Claudia Seifert, Zoe Christiansen, Lisa Westgaard, Hanne Martinsen

ISBN : 9781910690512  

.

Cover of the cookbook titled 'Seaweed,' featuring a sophisticated dish with vibrant edible flowers and dark seaweed on a textured gray plate. The cover highlights the book as 'A Collection of Simple and Delicious Recipes from an Ocean of Food.

This cookbook highlights the versatility and nutritional benefits of seaweed, diving into a culinary exploration of this often-overlooked natural resource. Seaweed is a natural source of iodine, an essential nutrient that can sometimes be lacking in plant-based diets. Plus, it’s packed with other beneficial minerals and vitamins. Its umami flavour can really elevate plant-based recipes, adding depth and complexity to dishes without relying on animal products.

TThis is a comprehensive guide to different seaweed varieties and offers a range of recipes. Many of which are plant-based, while others are easily adaptable. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone on a plant-based diet looking to expand their use of natural, whole-food ingredients. Each recipe is designed to be simple yet flavourful, showing how seaweed can be used not just as a garnish but as a central component of a meal.

I use seaweed to many plant-based dishes, mock whitebait fritters, smoked carrot pâté , taste of the sea cakes and a vegan Caesar salad with seaweed chickpeas.


6Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavour, with Recipes – Jennifer McLagan

9781909342897

This cookbook delves into the often misunderstood and under appreciated taste of bitterness. A flavour that humans are programmed to associate with danger. This complex taste can dramatically enhance a meal’s depth, challenging the culinary norms that often prioritise sweet, salty, and umami flavours.

Bitter flavours naturally occur in vegetables and herbs that are staples in plant-based and vegan cuisines. From radicchio and kale to dandelion greens and Brussels sprouts, the chapters offer both resources and recipes that explore ways to incorporate these bold flavours into everyday dishes.

Cover of the cookbook titled 'Bitter' by Jennifer McLagan, showcasing a dense layer of artfully arranged dark green, feathery leaves of some bitter greens. The book's subtitle, 'A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavour, with Recipes,' is displayed in yellow lettering, emphasizing the theme of exploring the culinary uses of bitter flavors in various dishes.

This cookbook is invaluable for plant-based eaters looking to expand their flavor profiles and incorporate more diversity into their meals. “Bitter” makes a standout addition to any kitchen library. Each recipe and narrative in the book champions the beauty and importance of bitter flavours, perfect for those eager to explore the rich tapestry of tastes available in a plant-focused diet.


Mushrooms: Over 70 Recipes That Celebrate Our Favourite Fungi – Martin Nordin

978-1784885533

This cookbook is a tribute to mushrooms, showcasing plant-based recipes that explore their versatility and rich flavours. Mushrooms bring a unique umami depth to plant-based dishes. This vegan cookbook delves into the many ways they can be used to enhance meals. From hearty portobello burgers to delicate enoki salads, the recipes are as diverse as the mushrooms themselves. Each chapter is thoughtfully organised, providing insights into different mushroom varieties and their best culinary uses. Additionally, it serves as a comprehensive guide to their nutritional benefits and how to incorporate them into everyday cooking.

“Mushrooms” is an invaluable resource for plant-based eaters and mushroom enthusiasts alike. Each recipe is designed to be approachable yet sophisticated, showcasing the depth and versatility of these fantastic fungi. This book is a standout addition to any kitchen library, celebrating the humble mushroom in all its glory.

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