Saturday 12 September 2015

MoFo Day 12: Favourite Cookbook

I may not be officially taking part in MoFo this year, but I've been religiously reading everyone else's MoFo posts, so when I say today's theme of 'Favourite Cookbook' I knew I need to do an impromptu MoFo post.

As a self confessed cookbook hoarder, I LOVE cookbooks! It's a trait I get from my Dad, who is also a cookbook hoarder, and a new cookbook is always a safe Birthday/Christmas or Fathers Day present. My Dad and his fiancee (also a fellow cookbook hoarder) have an entire cabinet dedicated to housing their cookbook collection.

Unfortunately, I rarely get cookbooks as presents my collection limited to those I buy myself, but is still rather impressive.  As you can see in the picture below, I also have a lot of vegetarian magazines, and hidden between it all are little booklets like The Return of the Cake Scoffer (which I constantly think I've lost!).

I have to admit though, I tend to buy cookbooks and then rarely use a lot of them, some I've never used at all and I need to have a serious clear out at some point.

I do, however have some favorites, first up is my first ever vegan cookbook- Isa's Appetite for Reduction.

Firstly, as a Guns 'n' Roses fan, I love the name of this book, but not only that, it has some of my favourite recipes, as you can tell by how well worn this book is.  My favourite recipes include Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Apples served with Hottie Black-Eyed Peas & Greens, Veggie Pot Pie Stew with Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits, Mac & Trees (still the only mac and cheese I've made), Thai Roasted Root Vegetable Curry, Chickpea Piccata and a recent favourite Mushroom Tibs. I love how Isa suggests how to combine different dishes, the section on bowl and sandwich ideas, and as someone who has difficulty picturing a salad as something more than just lettuce, cucumber and a few tomatoes the section on salads is inspiring- I love the Sushi Roll Salad.

The downsides of this book are the lack of pictures for each recipe, however there is a section of a select few and this has been greatly been improved in Isa Does It, which is another firm favourite.  The other downsides are just generic problems of living in the UK and dealing with American cookbooks. I'm pretty use to using conversions and the different names for ingredients but it's the use of ingredients that are more common in America than here in the UK, for example the use of blue potatoes and chipotles in adobo sauce. However, these can easily be replaced with substitutes with a bit of research.

As Appetite for Reduction is Isa's take on a diet book, it doesn't have a dessert section, therefore for my second favourite cookbook choice, I've gone for Ms Cupcake- The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town! To be fair, although there are a few good recipes I use in this book (Snap Bars and Snickerdoodles to name two), my go to cake recipes are usually online recipes. The reason I chose this book is because it's such a good introduction to vegan baking- Melissa lists all the vegan brands of baking ingredients, both in the UK and for the USA and Canada, plus all measurements are given in cups, metric and imperial.  It also has a super useful section on vegan baking tips- for example working fast once the liquid ingredients are mixed with raising agents (they react faster than with egg) and the importance of tapping the mixture before putting it in the oven to remove air bubbles.  In addition, not only does this book have pictures of each recipe, but it has additional arty pictures that make it a perfect coffee table book (although not my copy as I've manage to spill red food paste all over the edges of the pages!).

The only downside with this book is the amount of icing sugar they use in their buttercreams- you'll get one lot of buttercream out of a 1kg box of icing sugar! However Melissa does point out that they do like things sweet and suggests you may need to tone it down to your own tastes.

The last book, I don't use that often, but it will always take pride of place on my shelf as it's the only signed book I have, and that is Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian.  I met Rose when I volunteered in the demonstration tent at the Vegetarian Society's Meat Free in Manchester Event and Rose was holding a cookery demonstration and signing copies of the book.  Rose is lovely and I felt a bit star struck meeting her.

Although this book is vegetarian, most of the recipes are vegan or can be veganised.  I have cooked some of the recipes in the book (love the carrot and ginger soup) but the section I have permanently bookmarked is the guidance on cooking dried beans and pulses which is super useful and even includes guidance on using slow cookers and pressure cookers.

I hope that you find this blog post useful and I'm looking forward to reading about everyone else's favorite cookbooks, and hopefully finding new ones to add to my collection


  1. I really want to get the Ms Cupcake book! I love books that are British based as they're much easier to source ingredients.

    Rose Elliot is a classic - I have her pasta book and its the base for most of my sauces!

    1. I really recommend the Ms Cupcake book and I agree about British cookbooks. It's great to see more UK vegan cookbook authors emerging. I'll have to keep an eye out for the pasta book :-)

  2. Love the shout out to Rose Elliot. I have a Rose Elliot barbecue and grills book that is fab and beautifully illustrated, one of my faves. I used to cook from her books even before I was veggie her recipes are so good. I hear you on the chipotles in adobo sauce. I often see a recipe think 'oh I'll make that' and then spot them in the ingredients list and end up looking for another recipe. Someone should start importing them, they'd clean up on sales to UK vegans! I've picked an Isa book too for today's prompt.