I am not a vegan, nor do I intend to become one, but I think it is important to have a working knowledge of how to create good, tasty vegan food should the need arise. Rooted is an excellent assistant to this endeavour.
Recipes make up only part of this book. There are sections explaining the author’s journey from omnivore to vegan along with the challenges she faced along the way. I would view this book not as a preachy “do it this way or you are a failure” book but rather, a pain-free guide filled with lots of handy hints and explanations. It aims to encourage and contains enough familiar crossover recipes to make the change in eating easier and comfortable.
I tackled a couple of recipes with the first being a hearty Mediterranean stew and the second, an interesting rice dish.
Mediterranean Stew and Herb Dumplings
I admit to some scepticism here. I envisaged a minestrone soup-type casserole to be the result but was pleasantly surprised that it was full-bodied, nourishing and visually appealing. The dumplings called for vegetable suet, an ingredient that is apparently not readily available in Australia so I substituted it for copha. I have never liked copha and have real difficulty with the taste so I was expecting the result to be greasy and borderline inedible. Imagine my amazement at serving up light and delicious dumplings that were fought over at the dinner table! This recipe was a real winner (also, after a hint from the author with the leftover stew, I pureed it into an incredible thick and delicious soup for the following day).
Sticky Fruit and Nut Rice
Once all the ingredients were prepared this was an incredibly easy dish to put together and tasted amazing. When the author says to watch the nuts closely when toasting them, she isn’t kidding – I incinerated mine. The joy of this book is that the author doesn’t pretend that everything will be perfect first time nor that colossal failures won’t happen. She helpfully cites several of her own. I no longer feel quite so bad about my charcoal cashews!
This is a delightful book filled with lovely recipes suitable for all appetites. It is well laid out, easy to follow and is loaded with lots of tips and explanations but wholly without the sanctimonious nagging of many vegan cookbooks.
Reviewed by Judi Bemmer
Rating out of 10: 9