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River Cottage Veg – everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
A beautiful cookbook with photography by Simon Wheeler and illustrations by Mariko Jesse.
Would you believe that this is Hugh’s seventh River Cottage cookbook?
Hugh has been providing us with excellent cookbooks over the years including:
The River Cottage Cookbook,
The River Cottage Meat Book,
The River Cottage Fish Book,
The River Cottage Family Cookbook and
River Cottage Everyday.
Hugh’s approach to preparing and cooking vegetables, is as thorough as in any of his previous cookbooks and lects a wide variety of recipes, that have no meat or fish whatsoever. (Is this really Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)?
The inference here is that perhaps this is a vegetarian cookbook – but as Hugh is careful to point out, this is – yes a vegetable only recipe book, but he makes no case for us all to turn completely vegetarian.
This is as he says a personal decision and not the remit of the book.
Eggs and dairy will be used, so we are not following a strictly vegetarian diet.
However, all of us need to consider increasing our intake of fresh vegetables and for that matter fruit – based on evidence that the vital nature, the vitamin and enzyme content of vegetables is what we need to keep healthy and help sustain our resources.
Please read Hugh’s marvellous introduction, it is a treatise on where we should be regarding the food we eat, the animals that we use for our food and the effects of what we eat on our own health and our planet’s health as well.
Is all the gas output from cows and factory farms affecting our environment? Can we reduce this by adopting a higher proportion of vegetables in what we eat? Look at the reduction in fish stocks – another source of concern. A no brainer as they say.
Another point is to maintain the vitamin and health content of food as much as possible.
So preparation is key – as is how the vegetables are cooked.
Another intelligent inclusion is that of the role of bread and all things related, e.g. naans, rotis and chapattis.
Well – on with the recipes, just amazing what Hugh has accomplished here!
Not a bit of wonder it is selling so well.
The book is divided into the following recipe sections:
Comfort food and feasts an amazing selection of Curries and stews, pies and tarts.
No lightweight cooking here, substantial and filling – with unimaginable textures and flavours.
Just look at the colours!
Parmigianas, Chachouka, pintobean chilli, potato curry, cauliflower and chickpea curry, squash and chickpea stew, lasagnes – squash and fennel, kale and mushroom, lettuce, spring onion and cheese tart, baby beet tarte tatin, courgette and rice filo pie, swede and potato pasties, ragout, potato dauphinoise, sweet potato and peanut gratin, three root boulangere
Hearty Salads the idea of a salad becoming a meal, substantial – hearty!
Also – you can substitute different vegetables and one type of oil for another,one type of nut for another,etc. This varies the different tastes and textures available – providing an infinite variety of combininations.
Salads with squash, fennel, courgette and green beans, potato, tomato and boiled egg salad, potato salad tatare. Lettuce, egg and fried bread, puy lentil salad, salad nioise, Panzanella, couscous salads.
Raw assemblies Yes, raw food.
I think many folks are aware of the thinking behind eating raw food, but hardly ever get the chance to prepare and eat mainly raw foods. Hugh makes a key point here, that it is the preparation and the presentation of raw foods that encourage us all to tuck in.
A good set of knifes and box grater with attachments are a must.
Shaved summer veg, radishes, fennel and goat’s cheese, crudités, cauliflower with toasted seeds.
Hefty soups Soups, not just for the winter
Flavoursome, full of variation and texture, some creamy, some thin, a great way of increasing our intake of healthy foods.
Vegetable stock, summer garden soup, cucumber and lettuce vichyssoise, Gazpacho, tomato and bean soup, pea and parsley soup, roasted beetroot soup with horseradish cream.
Bready things clean the plate and soak up the juice…
A wonderful, aromatic fresh loaf of bread, bread sticks, baguettes. I love to walk through the streets of French towns. The breads, cheese and wines… wonderful.
How to make bread dough, garlic flatbreas, crostini, beetroot pizza and cheddar, pizzas, foldovers, pitta pockets, bruchetta, toasties, rarebits, poached egg on toast
Store-cupboard suppers In a hurry, don’t go back to meat or fish.
The simple solution is to stock up on tins of beans, noodles and eggs?
Tarts, olives, dips, curried bubble and squeak, frittata, lentils, Dhal, chickpea, ketchup curry, pastas, noodles.
Pasta and rice Pasta, rice and grains – easy to prepare.
A guide on how to select and cook pasta and rice. A great base for filling us up.
Various pastas, risonotto, macaroni peas, linguine, biryani, kedgeree a la vegetables, quinoa, kale speltotto, Swede speltotto, potato gnocchi, stir fry – egg fried rice,
Mezze and tapas a new way to eat…
Other Eastern cultures do it, a range of small dishes – in the Middle East it is mezze, Spanish tapas.
Dukka, guacamole, hummus, dips, tomatoes, Caponata, fritters, pasties.
Roast, grill and barbecue Adding flavour…
When we roast and grill – we brown and develop the textures and flavours. Roasted vegetables in the oven – keep the goodness.
Halloumi, kebabs, roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted squash.
Side dishes adding value…
Steamed veg and a hint of garlic, runner beans, sesame cauliflower, celery gratin.
Veg on the go
Dips, spreads, sandwich fillings, salads, coleslaws, pasties, pies, frittatas.
I hope this review or outline of River Cottage Veg – everyday will help you decide on an alternative way of eating and the foods you select to eat.
It is worth a try – not perhaps full vegetarianism, but we should consider reducing cooking i.e. boiling, roasting – eat more raw food and reduce meat and fish, drink more water and sleep well.
Then perhaps we will improve our health and make a start on the state of the planet… wish us good luck!