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The Veggie Tree Spring & Summer Cookbook is a visual feast that had my mouth watering as I turned the pages, due mostly to the full colour photos by author Anna Valentine and Aerial Vision. I’m not a vegetarian but I could happily eat most of these recipes this summer, with or without meat to accompany them.
The book is the second cookbook in The Veggie Tree series, following the Autumn & Winter Cookbook.
Spring & Summer is divided into four sections – salads, soups and sides; savoury; breads; and sweets, with the first section having the most recipes. Whatever fruits and vegetables are your favourites, you’ll find a recipe using them. Everything from a maple walnut and spring greens salad to humble iceberg lettuce wedges is here – and just in time for what we can only hope will be a long, hot summer. Salads may be simple to make, but knowing what seasonings and dressings to use makes a huge difference. I love the sound of watermelon and feta salad, and also summer slaw, which instead of the usual cabbage, combines corn off the cob and fennel or celery with fresh beans, capsicum, zucchini and cucumber. I’m hanging out for fresh sweetcorn to be available locally to try that recipe!
The savoury section has the usual soufflés and fritters, as well as dolmades and an exotic sounding Okonomiyaki with Bok Choy Slaw & Homemade Wasabi Mayo. Instead of fish and chips, there is a much healthier ‘Fry Day’ Night Chip Night that pairs the chips with beer battered tofu, mushrooms and aubergine.
Just in time for the big day is a Christmas Brioche Pinwheel with maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, raisins, cranberries, apple and soft fruit, topped with nuts. The instructions say to serve with custard or chocolate sauce (recipes included) – wouldn’t that be a perfect start to Christmas Day!
I usually make shortbread as gifts and this year I’m going to try Brown Sugar Shortbread for a change. The shortbread is also used in a Strawberry & Rhubarb Shortcake that I am drooling imagining how heavenly it would taste.
Being a bit of a chocoholic, I’ll definitely be trying the Mexican Choc Pots. There is a recipe for Spiced Almond Biscotti underneath so you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to do with the leftover egg whites.
A vegetarian since she was 12, Valentine says she is a fan of summer fruits and vegetables and the Spring & Summer Cookbook certainly demonstrates this. The instructions are clear (apart from a few typos) and there is also some nutritional information at the back about vegetarian nutrition.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to get excited by this cookbook and it would be a great addition to any collection. If you have any vegetarians to buy for this Christmas, this would be the perfect present.
Reviewed by Faye Lougher
The Veggie Tree Spring & Summer Cookbook
by Anna Valentine
Published by The Veggie Tree