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RIVER COTTAGE VEG EVERYDAY by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall BOOK REVIEW

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To order a copy of River Cottage Veg Everyday <click here>

 

River Cottage Veg EverydayWhat a surprise this turned out to be . . . as a lifelong, confirmed meat eater I don't do vegetarian!

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says of his latest book “ Call me power-crazed, but I'm trying to change your life here. The object of the exercise is to persuade you to eat more vegetables. Many more vegetables. And I hope to do so not by shouting from a soapbox, but through sheer temptation . . . “ To put it simply he succeeds. I had to choose three recipes to feature and it was a really difficult choice, there were just so many recipes that sounded and looked good.

I have never had any time for vegetarianism and I will not get into all the arguments here but the negative effect of my attitude is that I tend to think meat in most main meals that I cook. You can be a meat eater and still enjoy vegetarian dishes and this book has brought that home to me. I read dozens of recipes I want to try cooking for myself and there are not many cooking books you can say that about. In addition many of the recipes give you the foundations for creating a dish of your own making.

I have to mention the photography by Simon Wheeler because it does so compliment the recipes . . . you can almost taste them. The book as a whole is beautifully put together with illustrations by Mariko Jesse adding to the overall effect of a book that is good on the eye and recipes that are easy to read. I do like my recipes printed on a white background. It is all very well creating beautiful books but it does need to be remembered that they are intended to be used and not just to grace the coffee table. Full marks to this one as it is a very practical and usable cooking book.

Glad its on my kitchen book shelf.

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  • My best cookbook ever! - daisyblack cat (Amazon review)

    What a marvellous book! I have been a fan of all things River Cottage for a while, but being a vegetarian the number of recipes available to me in the other RC books has sometimes been limited. This is a fantastic development from the original "Everyday" book, (which is also very good) and a very welcome one for someone who has been a vegetarian for almost 25 years. There is also lots of stuff for vegans too - well done Hugh!

    Usually I skim through a new recipe book, and find a few things that look interesting, a lot that sound complicated or use unusual ingredients, and others that simply don't appeal. In this book, everything sounds interesting, accessible and straightforward. Beautiful photos add to the appeal. Hugh also usefully includes a list of storecupboard ingredients which are the basis of many of his recipes, and this will help to ensure that you have everything you need to get cooking.

River Cottage Veg Everyday

  • The best veg cookbook you could buy . . . seriously - J Clements (Amazon review)

    I'm not a vegetarian but I do like to regularly eat decent vegetable meals that can stand on their own. This book is by far the best vegetarian book I have ever bought. The meals are tasty, easy to do and varied. I've had the book for a couple of weeks and have cooked many of the recipes, they've all been superb. You won't be disappointed with this purchase.

River Cottage Veg Everyday

  • Exactly what I needed - J Richards (Amazon review)

    Since moving to a new city and starting a new job I lost the will to cook. I was making curry every day because it's what I knew and it was easy but I bought Hugh's new book the other weekend. Since then I've loved cooking again and am now enjoying all of my meals. Not only does he supply you with great recipes but these recipes put a slant on old favourites which means you can create a hybrid between your own and Hugh's ideas which so far has resulted in amazing dishes.

    So overall this book is extremely worth the price (amazon price anyway), all the recipes are really solid and appealing and it has lovely design. Buy it!

River Cottage Veg Everyday

  • Every kitchen should have one - twostonesmith (Amazon review)

    Hugh never fails to impress and this book is no exception. I can honestly say there is not a single recipe in this book that doesn't make you want to get your apron on and head to the kitchen. Simple but mouth watering this book is a must have for anyone who shares a love of food, vegetarian or not.

RIVER COTTAGE VEG EVERYDAY SAMPLE RECIPES

FENNEL AND CELERIAC SOUP WITH ORANGE ZEST

Fennel and Celeriac Soup with Orange ZestThis velvety, gently aniseedy soup is given warmth and definition with a touch of orange zest. The rich-but-sharp crème fraîche added at the end balances it all out nicely.

Ingredients

30g butter
1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil
4 shallots, or 1 medium onion, sliced
3 large fennel bulbs (about 750g), trimmed and sliced (any feathery fronds reserved)
¼ large celeriac (about 250g, untrimmed), peeled and cubed
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
About 500ml vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 - 6 tablespoons crème fraîche, to finish

How to make

  • Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Add the shallots or onion and sweat gently for a few minutes.
  • Add the fennel and celeriac, stir well, then cover and sweat for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the orange zest, stock and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes until all the veg is tender.
  • Purée the soup in a blender until completely smooth, adding a touch more stock or water to loosen the consistency if necessary. (You may have to blend longer than usual to blitz out all the fibres from the fennel, but it shouldn’t be necessary to pass the soup through a sieve.)
  • Reheat the soup if necessary, check the seasoning and serve, with a good blob of crème fraîche on top, a few fennel fronds if you have them, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 4

 

TOMATO, THYME AND GOATS CHEESE TART

Tomato, Thyme and Goats Cheese TartThis is a very simple tart to make, using good-quality ready-made puff pastry. I’ve suggested various cheese and herb options below, but the basic principle is the same: crisp pastry, soft caramelised tomato, tangy cheese.

Ingredients

A little sunflower oil
½ teaspoon fine cornmeal or polenta (optional)
375g all-butter, ready-made puff pastry
Beaten egg, for brushing
About 350g tomatoes
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
A little extra virgin olive or rapeseed oil
100g rinded goat’s cheese
A handful of thyme sprigs, leaves only
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to make

  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5.
  • Lightly oil a baking sheet and scatter over a little fine cornmeal or polenta, if you have some – this helps to keep the pastry really crisp.
  • Roll out the pastry fairly thinly and trim to a rectangle about 30 x 25cm.
  • Put it on the baking sheet. Cut a 1cm strip from each edge. Brush these strips with a little beaten egg, then stick on to the edges of the rectangle, to form a slightly raised border. Brush the edges with a little more egg.
  • Thinly slice the tomatoes across into 2 – 3mm slices; discard the stalky top and skinny bottom slices.
  • Scatter the garlic over the pastry, then arrange the sliced tomatoes on top, overlapping them only slightly.
  • Season with salt and pepper and trickle with a little oil.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and lightly browned.
  • Take the tart out of the oven, scatter over the cheese and thyme, add another twist of pepper and a trickle of oil, and return to the oven.
  • Bake for another 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is melty and bubbly and the pastry golden brown.
  • You can serve this hot, but I think it’s better half an hour or so after it comes out of the oven, with a green salad.

Variations

Basil and mozzarella tart
Replace the goat’s cheese with 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella (about 125g), torn into small pieces. Replace the thyme with a couple of tablespoons of shredded basil – but add this after the tart is cooked, not before.

Rosemary and pecorino tart
Replace the goat’s cheese with a generous grating of pecorino or Parmesan, and the thyme leaves with 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary.

Blue cheese and chives tart
Replace the goat’s cheese with crumbled blue cheese. Omit the thyme. Scatter a chopped handful of chives over the tart once it is cooked.

Serves 4 - 6

 

MACARONI PEAS

Macaroni PeasPeas and pasta with bacon or ham is a classic combination. In this dish (inspired by a lovely Nigella Lawson risotto recipe), Parmesan gives the desired salty-savoury note. Some of the peas remain whole, to give a pleasing, pop-in-the-mouth texture; the rest are blitzed to form a creamy pea sauce.

Ingredients

500g peas (fresh or frozen) or petits pois
300g small macaroni, or smallish pasta shapes such as orecchiette or fusilli, or even risoni
50g butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
25g Parmesan, hard goat’s cheese or other well-flavoured hard cheese, coarsely grated, plus extra to serve
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shredded basil or flat-leaf parsley, to serve (optional)

How to make

  • Put a large pan of well-salted water on to boil, so that you’re ready to cook the pasta while the sauce is coming together.
  • Put the peas in a pan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender – just a couple of minutes for frozen or very tender fresh peas, longer for older fresh peas.
  • When the peas are almost cooked, add the pasta to the pan of boiling water and cook until al dente.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat and add the garlic. Let it cook gently for just a couple of minutes, without colouring, then remove from the heat.
  • Drain the peas, reserving the cooking water.
  • Put about half of them in a blender with 6 tablespoons of the cooking water, the butter and garlic, and the grated cheese. Blitz to a smooth, loose purée, adding a little more water if needed.
  • Combine with the whole peas and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Drain the pasta as soon as it is ready and toss immediately with the hot pea sauce.
  • Serve topped with plenty of ground black pepper and more grated Parmesan. Shredded basil or chopped flat-leaf parsley is a good, but by no means essential, finishing touch.

Serves 4

To order a copy of River Cottage Veg Everyday <click here>

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Published 10 October 2011

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