When I first became vegan, I bought a load of cookbooks. A book that everyone seemed to recommend was 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson. It was one of the first cookbooks I bought, along with Robin’s Vegan Planet. Days later, more cookbooks arrived and from there I just kept on getting more books and finding myself more attracted to the cookbooks with photos. Because of this, books without photos didn’t get much of a second glance.
This was a shame for such a packed-with-great-recipes cookbook like Vegan Planet:
I’ve recently made a vow to go back to the start of my vegan cookbook collection and start making lots of recipes from the first books I bought, photos or not. I bookmarked loads of recipes from Vegan Planet, though it’s with a bit of a heavy heart that I don’t think my family would go for anything I plan on making. I still have hope though, as there was a time when I never would have dreamed Arthur would be asking for roasted chickpeas and homemade tofu nuggets.
The first recipe I tried from Vegan Planet was a breakfast: the Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal with Slivered Almonds and Dried Cranberries. Very nice, but I forgot to take a photo.
I haven’t made an eggplant dish in a while but I wanted to make something different from my usual Italian/Greek style eggplant dishes. I chose the Mahogany Eggplant recipe though it meant I had to go out and buy a vegan sake (Go-Shu from Dan Murphys). Garlic, ginger, shallots, chili, sake, tamari is pretty much all there is to it.
I made the Udon Shiitake Stir-Fry with Sake and Ginger, using portabellos instead of shiitake. I made this a couple of days after the Mahogany Eggplant recipe and because the ingredients were roughly the same, I ended up mixing the two together when I was really hungry and couldn’t decide which one I wanted to eat:
I made the Three Way Sesame Coated Tofu Strips with Spicy Broccoli. I didn’t have red pepper flakes so I used a little chilli paste along with some garlic. I served this with some soba noodles that were added to the pan with the broccoli, chilli and garlic along with some baby spinach. I love sesame flavours so I enjoyed this. Who says vegans don’t get enough calcium:
The Chickpea and Eggplant Kibbeh sounded intriguing. There’s a layer of bulghur-chickpea mix and a layer of cooked onion-eggplant-pine nuts, along with some spices. I left out the allspice, leaving only the cinnamon (though I used half the amount specified) and cumin. I wish the family ate this. I liked it but if I made it again I’d try some different flavours:
Next up we have the Tuscan White Bean and Fennel Stew with Orange and Rosemary. I was glad this recipe called for canned small white beans as I have a large stash of cannelini beans but haven’t really been using them. Instead of chopping up the rosemary, I chose the lazy route and threw the sprigs in whole. I was happy with this, though I’d probably cut down the orange zest next time:
The Molasses Bread with Walnuts and Raisins doesn’t call for blackstrap molasses which is all I had, so when I was making the batter I wasn’t sure how it would turn out given the stronger taste of blackstrap. It was very blackstrappy tasting so next time I’ll use regular molasses or maybe treacle as my jar of treacle sits there doing nothing. I made another stupid mistake here, I had taken out my bread flour to make a loaf of bread when I saw this Molasses bread recipe. The recipe calls for all purpose flour but I used the bread flour instead of swapping the all purpose for spelt flour. It was late, I was tired! I mixed some vegan butter with maple syrup and had it with the molasses bread:
Polenta is so hit and miss with me, mostly miss. I made half a batch using the recipe for Baked Polenta (omitting the coriander/cilantro), put it in the fridge overnight then baked the next day. Another miss with the family so I am officially now polenta-free. I made the polenta along with the Walnut Crusted Celery Root (celeriac) and Millet Croquettes. The croquettes tasted good but they were incredibly delicate. I don’t know if baking would make them firmer, unfortunately the family didn’t appreciate them enough for me to want to try again in a hurry, but I’m not writing them off just yet. The first photo shows the millet cooking with the celeriac:
There are many more recipes I’d like to try from Vegan Planet, but for now I’ll move on to another cookbook in my collection so they all get a fair go. I’ve enjoyed cooking from Vegan Planet and look forward to using it again soon.
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