Wednesday, March 26, 2014
"River Cottage Veg Everyday" - Soup, Aubergines, Radishes & A Nomination for a James Beard Award
For today´s recipes in my River Cottage Veg Everyday series, I chose the "Creamy mushroom soup", a rich, earthy flavored soup, “Roasted aubergine boats”, that I served with thick Greek yogurt and a wild garlic pesto, and “Radishes with butter and salt” a colorful, springtime appetizer. All these wonderful dishes are part of my sixteenth post in my series.
Let me take the opportunity to mention that River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been nominated for a James Beard Award! The awards cover all aspects of the industry and are the highest honor for food and beverage professionals. River Cottage Veg Everyday has been nominated for the Vegetarian category called “Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian”. In 2012, the book was already chosen as winner of Best Cookbook at the Observer Food Monthly Awards.
The awards are presented each spring at the Lincoln Center and past winners of the James Beard Awards include Nigel Slater and Yotam Ottolenghi. Read more about the award and the full shortlist here.
River Cottage Veg Everyday is divided into twelve manageable chapters, with the following short and clear titles: Comfort food & feasts, Hearty salads, Raw assemblies, Hefty soups, Bready things, Store-cupboard suppers, Pasta & rice, Mezze & tapas, Roast, grill & barbecue, Side dishes, Store cupboard, and Veg on the go. The chapters are therefore divided by method of preparation rather than by season, ingredient or, course.
The book includes over 200 recipes, such as Chard and new potato curry, Rocket, fennel and puy lentil salad, Beetroot with walnuts and cumin, Cucumber and lettuce vichyssoise, Magic bread dough, Caponata, and Spiced spinach and potatoes.
All recipes can be easily prepared as the recipes are precise and clear and never longer than a page. For each dish there is a recipe page with a short introduction and then there is always also a picture page. Personally, I enjoy looking at the picture while reading through the recipe, the pictures are meant as guides and looking at them gives me a better feel for a recipe and thereby speeds up the preparation process as I do not have to figure out how a finished dish might look like.
It is quite possible to use the book as a reference book while putting together a shopping list, I always find a vegetable side dish or main dish that I want to try, as the book is full of new and fresh ideas on how to prepare vegetables in new ways as well as in updated traditional ways.
The ingredients that are required for the various dishes can easily be found at the greengrocers, farmers´ markets and in stores around here. When choosing a recipe, I always make sure to stay true to my personal credo of “cooking as seasonal as possible and with as many regionally available products as possible”, that way, finding the vegetables and herbs that I need for a dish, has always been rather hassle-free.
Let´s not forget that the recipes that I have prepared so far, have all proven to be rather “family-friendly”. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you might have noticed that I do not have a shortage of taste testers at home, the youngest being five years old. While some recipes meet with a bit more enthusiasm than others, they have all been received rather well. I consider this aspect to be another big advantage of this book – the reality of life is that I cook for a family and I am as quite pleased when I have a cookbook such as this one with lots of healthy and delicious recipes that will appeal to adults as well as children.
“Call me power-crazed, but I`m trying to change your life here. The object of the exercise is, unambiguously, to persuade you to eat more vegetables. Many more vegetables. Perhaps even to make veg the mainstay of your daily cooking. And therefore, by implication, to eat less meat, maybe a lot less meat, and maybe a bit less fish too. Why? We need to eat more vegetables and less flesh, because vegetables are the foods that do us the most good, and our planet the least harm.” (Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall)
So, of course, I am keeping my fingers crossed for that well-deserved award but no matter whether this book will win in its category or not, it is one of my personal favorite, everyday, go-to, family-friendly vegetable cookbooks these days. And I will continue my series on the recipes and cook my way through the book. Anyone out there care to join me in my quest – that would be quite nice!
If you own the English edition of this vegetable cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, called "River Cottage Veg Everyday", you will find the recipe for the “Creamy mushroom soup” on page 152 in the chapter on “Hefty soups”. The recipe for “Roasted aubergine boats” can be found on page 344 in the chapter on "Roast, grill & barbecue" and the recipe for “Radishes with butter and salt” on page 102 in the chapter on “Raw assemblies”.