Tuesday 22 March 2011

Spiced Chick Pea and Tomato Soup
from Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Cookery, Hutchinson Australia, 1989.

Final helping of this tasty soup. Had another browse through the book. It’s well set out, the instructions are clear and there’s photographs scattered over every page. However, the look is very brown and somewhat unappetising. The recipes are probably all right. They are a little dated — which doesn’t mean that they are not good, but they tend to give the impression that they are somewhat on the heavy side. I’ll certainly try some more from here on the basis of how good this soup was.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

Tomato Bruschetta Mista
From The Vegeterranean: Italian Vegetarian Cooking, Malu Simões & Alberto Musacchio, Simon & Schuster, 2008.

Chose to make tomato bruschetta to accompany the soup. Easy to make after the practice with the mushroom one. Basil in the tomato mix added a pleasing touch. I rather liked the way this went wih the highly spiced soup. The contrast of fresh tomatoes with cooked and spiced went down well.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔✔

Black Bean, Jalapeño and Mozzarella Quesadillas
from New Vegetarian Kitchen, Nicola Graimes, Duncan Baird Publishers, 2011.

This newly published book organises its contents differently from usual. Recipes are listed under raw, grill, fry, steam, simmer and bake. This means that you find entrees, mains and sweets all together under their predominant cooking method, with sweets occurring at the end of each section.

The book is attractively produced, even with ribbon place markers. The recipes are clearly set out. Measurements are in metric and imperial followed, where necessary, with cups to cater for US cooks. There’s a fine spread of recipes from different cultures.

My first dip into the book was to cook Mexican. I really enjoy quesadillas so I decided to give it a go to cook my own. The instructions were easy to follow and easy and quick. Basically it was a matter of mixing the ingredients with a little cooking in a pan and then spreading them on the tortillas and grilling them. I was a little surprised to find that the quesadillas were grilled as I’d thought they would be pan fried. The result, though, even looked somewhat like the book illustration.

I was not overly excited about the eating. The jalapeños seemed to overpower the flavour too strongly and the quesadillas were very dry, so much so that I didn’t finish eating. Disappointing. I wonder why the recipe didn’t have a salsa to go along with it.

Taste: ✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔

The next day I had a slice (cold with tomato sauce) and it was not too bad. The chilli flavour seemed to have modified a little. So it’s not a waste as it can be finished off cold.

Crisp Haloumi, Pumpkin & Red Capsicum Salad with Basil Dressing
from The Country Cookbook: Seasonal jottings and recipes, Belinda Jeffery, Lantern an imprint of Penguin Books, 2010.

This is not a vegetarian cookbook but it does have quite a large number of recipes that are vegetarian. The seasonal jottings I haven’t looked at because they don’t have much appeal to me but the recipes look great. They are also organised in months throughout the year so that you know (since it’s Australian) what produce is available at the time you want to cook.

The recipes stick to metric measures though frequently cups are used as per US. In these cases the metric measure is included. Unlike many cookery books the author has given lots of explanation so the recipes tend to look complicated but this is actually the opposite of what they are, for the explanations are clear and helpful. The conversational tone is friendly.

This salad had a lot of preparation before I could put it together. The pumpkin had to be baked. The capsicum had to be grilled and skinned. The haloumi had to be fried. And the dressing (a thin type of pesto) had to be made. Lots of separate items to prepare but when it was all put together it was worth the effort. Haloumi, capsicum and pumpkin with rocket all go well together and the pesto dressing worked wonders on it.

Taste: ✔✔✔✔
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔


  1. the Crisp Haloumi, Pumpkin & Red Capsicum Salad with Basil looks and sounds really yummy. do you have a favourite place or brand you buy your haloumi from? :-)

  2. Welcome, Simon. The haloumi came from Harris Farm in Broadway. For me, the best haloumi comes in brine in containers. When it's wrapped in plastic it's not generally as tasty.