Friday, 2 March 2012

Roadtesting a New Cookbook

It was my birthday last week and as is becoming traditional I invited some friends round for supper and games. Decided to try out a cookbook I was given for Christmas and all three courses came from its pages. "New Vegetarian Kitchen" by Nicola Graimes is unusual in that it is divided into six sections based on the method of cooking: raw, grilled, fried, steamed, simmered and baked, and each of these is divided into light meals, main meals and puddings.
From this I selected Spiced Parsnip and Apple soup (served with my home made bead), Mushroom Pies and Lemon Meringue tarts.
The recipes were easy to follow but I found one error, the Lemon Meringue tarts included an egg yolk in the ingredients but did not specify where it should be used it was in the lemon curd filling).

The soup was good, a nice blend of spices that didn't overpower the parsnips. The pies were brilliant, a combination of fresh and dried mushrooms, crushed cashews, ground almonds and onions in the filling was strongly flavoured and densely textured. The individual pies were cooked in dariole moulds lined with thin shortcrust pastry - thinner than specified as I had to make eight rather than six as my moulds were smaller than specified in the recipe. The pudding was very popular, very tart lemon curd contrasted with a sweet ginger-nut crumb base all topped with a lightly grilled meringue.

Mushroom Pies shortly before being demolished.

The pies caused much discussion after the meal as we came up with lots of new ideas for fillings - probably the top two were ratatouille and a samosa inspired lentil, pea, potato and onion. Will be making those in the near future for sure.

There are lots of other recipes in the book that I want to try so very soon it will be covered in sticky fingermarks like all the best cookbooks.