Yes, I'm exaggerating.
I also found it quite hilarious that the first recipe I decided to make (simply because it was listed under her fall/autumn recipes) involved shiitake mushrooms and the only ones Geoff could find were £2 for 120g and were imported from China.
For those of you geographically challenged like myself... China is a long long way away.
Anyway, I couldn't very well change my mind since Geoff had already done the groceries and we had an hour before we had to go bowling. Yes, we computational scientists like to bowl after work.
So I made two recipes from the book to make a whole dinner. Only neither were particularly satisfying (although I made up for that with two pints of cider while bowling). They looked great but the delicate taste of the mushrooms in the salad was drowned out by the vinegar and the sweet potato... well, it tasted just fine but it just wasn't very satisfying.
If I made these dishes again they'd either be together as an entree or as sides as part of a much bigger meal. And I'd significantly reduce the amount of vinegar. And since the shiitake don't really add any flavour to the meal that isn't drowned out I think I'd chuck in some heartier mushrooms and a few more of them. So below is my adapted recipe for these dishes.
I want to make a few more recipes from the book before recommending it (or otherwise). However, I do think that since vegans make up such a small part of the population and that getting any book, let alone a vegan cook book, published is a mammoth effort ( more likely a miracle) we vegans should go out and buy as many cook books as we can afford. And what better month to do it in than Vegan MoFo!
Anyway, below are my adaptations of the two recipes I used in the book. Enjoy!
Sweet Potato in Jacket
Preheat oven to 200C. Scrub sweet potato and cut out any blemishes (if it's anything like the poor vegetables in my kitchen they'll probably be growing some sort of mould/arm/attitude). Prick the sweet potato evenly all over and place on a baking tray. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes or until soft. Slice down the middle and serve with butter. (Next time I'm going to make my own herb butter and melt it on top).
Warm Spinach and Mushroom Salad
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
200g spinach leaves
100g (a dozen) mushrooms*
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped nuts**
salt and pepper
Toast the nuts on an unoiled hot pan. Set nuts aside.
Heat the oil in the same pan and put in garlic, onion and mushrooms. Stir for several minutes until mushrooms and onion are soft. Meanwhile put the spinach in a bowl and stir through the vinegar with salt and pepper to taste. Then add the onion mix and then the nuts. Stir through until the heat from the onion mix begins to wilt the spinach leaves and serve.
* Shiitake, if it pleases you.
** I used walnuts but pine nuts would give it more flavour or slivered almonds or pecans would also work.