With 25 years of professional culinary experience and food writing under her apron strings—and almost as many cookbooks!–best-selling author, Robin Robertson, here serves up 150 recipes, each with its own introduction. Short and sweet–not to mention savory–these recipes are fast (all can be prepared in 30 minutes or less), full of flavor, and largely made with fresh ingredients quickly combined with pantry and fridge staples.
I hadn’t made it past the “Starters and Snacks” before I knew what I will make first: Moroccan Pumpkin Hummus. I am wild about the flavors of Morocco and, in fact, chose that flavorful cuisine for my “big” birthday dinner last May. Plus I am an utter fool for pumpkin anything. And, hummus? Well, it is just about the perfect food. And, in Robin’s inspired hands, it becomes even more so.
I’ve always loved fusion cuisine in which one dish is presented in the guise of another, and Robin shares one after another enticing example in this cookbook which draws its inspiration from, quite literally, a world of flavors. I hadn’t even made it out of the “Starters” before I had found the second recipe I want to try: Jerk-Spiced Kale Chips.
Never odd, but often surprising, Robin’s flavor combinations are both interesting and appealing, like these chips or, say, her avocado sauce for pasta. Recipe after recipe will have you asking, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
So, if, like me, you love fresh takes on old faves, then you will find much to love in this book well beyond the Starters. Eight more chapters of recipes, each with its own index and introduction, make the most time consuming and difficult task narrowing down the options. Fun food—take “Snowballs in Hell,” for example–and bold flavors–like “Burmese Ginger Salad”–are hallmarks of this very readable cookbook. But, if you’re more into basics, you won’t be disappointed. Recipes like Zucchini Frittata, Skillet Lasagna, Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Mac and Cheezeburger Bake fit that bill.
In addition to the expected chapters of starters, soups, sandwiches, salads, sauces/condiments, and desserts, main dishes are conveniently divided into ones you make stove top, ones you bake, and pasta because we all know the latter is a food group unto itself. At the beginning of the book, the “Getting Started” chapter is practicality personified with time-saving strategies, a description of the Quick-Fix Pantry, complete with lists, Ingredient Shortcuts, tips for planning ahead and using leftovers, and oh-so-much more.
Though the only full-color photographs in this book are on the front and back covers, Robin’s vivid, but succinct writing paints a vibrant picture of each dish, of the vegan kitchen, and, indeed, of the vegan lifestyle itself.