Move over Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, here comes Arthur Potts Dawson with his take on all things veg! New from the Octopus Publishing Group is Eat Your Veg, a cookery book packed full of ideas on how to bring more vegetables to your table - putting veg at the centre of your plate.
Arthur Potts Dawson loves his veg and after 25 years of cooking as a professional chef, he certainly knows his turnips from his tomatoes. The key is to using what’s in season, “It’ll taste better and it’ll cost you less,” says Arthur.
Designed to get you thinking outside of your veg box, this is a great book for anyone who is keen to experiment with flavours in the kitchen. Arthur’s aim is to present simple recipes that make the most out of the particular veg in question; a bold and bright beetroot soup (cover picture), flavourful broths, gratins and new ideas on serving veg, such as Arther’s Pan-fried french bean bundles with sesame seeds or his striking Radish salad with pomegranate and cannellini beans, below. This would be just as good packed into a lunch box for work as it would be scaled-up for guests.
There are no rules or regulations about how or where to buy your veg, the focus is on variety and on introducing more veg to your daily life. Arthur offers his advice on skills too, such as roasting, mashing and pickling and there are basic recipes for stocks, sauces, dressings and veggie-friendly accompaniments. There is some mention of meat and fish in the book, so this is not a vegetarian cookery book, although all the recipes, can of course, be adapted to suit.
I particularly liked the organisation of Eat Your Veg - there are five main chapters -
- Roots and Tubers (featuring beetroot, carrot, sweet potato, celeriac, salsify etc)
- Bulbs and Stems (featuring including garlic, onions, fennel, kohlrabi, asparagus etc)
- Leaves and Flowers (featuring lettuce, rocket, sorrel, broccoli, artichoke etc)
- Fruits and Fungi (featuring avocado, peppers, sweetcorn, aubergine and mushroom etc)
- Beans and Pods (featuring lentils, broad and borlotti beans, peas, french beans and okra etc)
Also included are ‘Skills’ as mentioned, and ‘Feasts’ with recipes for a Mediterranean spread, Tex-Mex Grill and a sumptuous vegetarian Curry feast -with dishes passed on from an elderly Bengali chef.
The recipes themselves, are in the most part, fresh and quick to make. We love the Waste not asparagus soup, made from leftover asparagus stalks and the Sweetcorn and coriander pikelets (little sweetcorn fritters, below). There are plenty of simple salads, too, including a Heritage tomato salad with marjoram (one of my favourite herbs) and a Potato and cucumber salad made with Japanese vinegar, olive oil and sunflower seeds for a twist – perfect for barbecue season!
There are also some tasty dips and snacks, the Smashed broad beans with Pecorino and Baked tomato, garlic and red pepper crostini jumped out. Arthur’s Italian-inspired recipe for Penne with Garlic, Rosemary and Mascarpone is impressive and tasty, as are the Creamed Girolles with Grilled Polenta.
A few of the recipes are a tiny bit sophisticated for a domestic kitchen - I am not sure I would have the time to prepare twelve globe artichokes or that I would very regularly make my own ravioli, but it is nice to have some more challenging recipes included.
If you are cooking for very small children, some of the recipes might be a bit ambitious, although you could try making the pikelets, as we did, or the Cheesy peas on toast or even the Baked borlotti beans on toast with garlic and fresh tomatoes to tempt your troops.
All in all, Eat Your Veg appeals to my taste-buds because I already love cooking with seasonal produce and because it encourages me to be a little more adventurous than usual. It is a tiny bit cheffy, but then again, you do benefit from the fact that Arthur has great skills and knowledge that he is keen to pass on.
With many thanks to Octopus Press and Authur Potts-Dawson for my signed review copy. Eat Your Veg is priced at £25.00 Photographs by Liz and Max Haarala Hamilton.
You can follow Aurthur Potts Dawson (@ArthurPottsD) and Octopus Books (@Octopus_Books) on Twitter.