A review of new vegan cookbook Cooking for the Senses by Jennifer Peace Rhind and Gregor Law. Also includes a delicious tandoori-style vegan cauliflower recipe.
Cooking for the Senses* is a new vegan cookbook that has just been published in the UK. It’s not your average cookbook though – the book’s subtitle is vegan neurogastronomy. If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about how the science behind your senses can help you enjoy flavour more and know how to make better tasting meals then this book is for you.
If (like me) you’ve never heard of neurogastronomy or given it much thought then let me tell you a few things about this book. First of all the introductory section to neurogastronomy – or understanding taste and flavour – is both fascinating and short. This is no weighty scientific tome – the subject is dealt with concisely and I really enjoyed reading it.
Secondly the book has an 85 page section dedicated to tastes and flavours, which I didn’t know I needed but have found to be so useful. Wondering what fenugreek leaves will go with? Got some chard in your vegetable bag? Want to know how to cook with different types of nuts? Wondered how to store an avocado? This section is invaluable for anyone interested in cooking vegan food and learning more about what goes with what. I would recommend this book for this section alone.
However, that brings me on to my third point, which is that this book also has over 100 vegan recipes as well from snacky style small plate dishes like kale potato cakes and beetroot and coconut dip to brunch dishes like cavolo nero bubble and squeak and breakfast avocado. There are also recipes for dinners, sauces, spice mixes and desserts. Singing Dragon, the publishers, have given me permission to share one of the recipes from the book with you – I’ve chosen the vegan cauliflower recipe below.
Is there anything about the book that I didn’t like? Well some of the recipes include slightly obscure ingredients – where am I going to get Keralan peppercorns for instance? Or Turkish red pepper flakes? However, most of these ingredients could easily be replaced with something similar if you can’t find them and I only noticed this on a couple of recipes.
A delicious tandoori-style vegan cauliflower recipe
- 1 large cauliflower broken into equal sized pieces
- 1 tsp kofta spice mix use recipe in the book, make your own or buy a pre-made mix from an Asian supermarket
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- Tomato and onion curry
Tomato and onion curry
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 12 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 large onion half roughly chopped, half sliced
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 x 400g tin of plum tomatoes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 red chilli chopped (optional)
- 2 medium fresh tomatoes quartered
- small handful coriander leaves chopped
- 100 g coconut milk yoghurt thinned with a squeeze of lemon juice
Boil the cauliflower in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6 and place a baking tray in the oven.
Mix the remaining cauliflower ingredients in a large bowl and combine together. Once the florets are cool enough to handle, add them to your spice mix and gently turn them around, coating them well Be careful not to break up the forest. Spread evenly on a preheated baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes until lightly charred and only just tender in the middle.
Meanwhile, in a good-sized saucepan, heat the oil in a medium heat and add the mustard seeds Once the seeds start popping, add the onions and garlic and cook for five minutes. Roughly chop the tinned tomatoes and add all the contents of the tin to the onions, stirring as you do.
Cook for five minutes, adding a little water if you feel it’s drying out - you want to maintain a liquid sauce throughout the dish. Add the salt, garam masala and red chilli (if using). Cook everything through for a further five minutes before adding the quartered fresh tomatoes. Continue to cook for five minutes again before reducing the heat to low. Add the cauliflower as soon as it’s ready and stir through gently. Add a final dash of water again if the sauce needs loosening up a little.
Serve in warm deep white bowls with a scattering of fresh coriander, a drizzle fo thinned coconut yogurt zigzagged across the top and an Indian bread of your choice.
Singing Dragon have given me a copy of Cooking for the Senses to give away to one of my readers.
If you’d like to enter you can do so via the Rafflecopter widget below. If you haven’t used Rafflecopter before check out this useful guide by Super Lucky Me.
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of Cooking for the Senses for the purposes of this review. No other payment was received and all opinions are honest and my own.
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