Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Cranks Bible: A Timeless Collection of Vegetarian Recipes Paperback – October 1, 2002 by Nadine Abensur (Cassell / Octopus Publishing Group)

The Best Vegetarian Cookbook I've found

This book (and all of Nadine Abensur's cookbooks) is a delight to read and cook from. It's not available in the States as far as I've seen, so grab it from Amazon and never look back. Nadine (as she is known in my family) is *the* person who made me realize that vegetarian cooking can be luxurious, flavorful, varied, fast and festive food. I have read and cooked from this book from cover to cover (along with her Cranks' Fast Food book) since I first discovered it in 2000. I have never loved a set of cookbooks so much. I use the Cranks' (so named for a famous vegetarian restaurant in London which she used to be the head of) Bible and her others practically every week.

Nadine always has an interesting story about how the recipe came about or how she uses it in her daily life; and at the end of the descriptions is often a number of suggestions for ways you could vary the dish or other things that you could serve with the dish to make a meal. This is VERY helpful. Here's an example from the end of the recipe for Jerusalem artichoke souffle:

"Serve with a generous green salad, some garlic croutons, and, if you are not too cheesed out, some cubes of any vegetarian blue cheese; if you are, a few sliced toasted hazelnuts scattered over the leaves will marry well with the subtle nuttiness of of Jerusalem artichokes and provide a contrast to all that comforting creaminess." She's a wonderful and caring author, really in love with vegetarian cooking.

Here are some of my favorite dishes that she makes:
"Carrots braised with cumin, saffron and garlic";

"Six Potato Salads- a) with celery and capers, b) with olive oil, c) with chives, lemon and garlic, d) with green beans and feta, e) with Moorish overtones, f) with watercress pesto"

"Celeraic soup with bouillabaise seasonings and rouille"

"Chickpea farinata" (a kind of thin, flat, savory crepe/cake made from chickpea flour that you can serve with drinks, or bring along on a picnic, or pack for work...)

"Grilled zucchini with greek yogurt and lemon".

She also has incredible desserts like "Chocolate tart with crystallized ginger"; Creme brulee; "Fig and rose water double-cream ice-cream."

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