Carrot Pickles and a Vegan Neurogastronomy Book Review & Giveaway

Quick & Easy Carrot Pickles

Cooking for the Senses by Jennifer Peace Rhind & Gregor Law is a new book published by Singing Dragon exploring vegan neurogastronomy. What’s that, you might ask? Read on and you’ll find out. There’s also a recipe from the book for easy and surprisingly delicious carrot pickles. I made them in almost no time at all. Oh and there’s a giveaway too.

Vegan Neurogastronomy

Vegan neurogastronomy, it turns out, is a slightly different way of looking at plant based food. It’s all about the science behind the senses and maximising flavour. To engage all of our senses in preparing and cooking food can give us a feeling of wellbeing and can be highly therapeutic. If we focus on the foods we enjoy eating rather than those we choose not to eat, the world of food becomes more abundant rather than making us feel we’re on a restricted diet. Plant-based cuisine can be and should be as excellent as any other.

Cooking for the Senses

The book is divided into two sections, each written by a different author. It’s a hardback with 320 pages and is published by Singing Dragon.

Cooking for the Senses

Exploring Flavour by Jennifer Peace Rhind

This section gives an in depth account of nerogastronomy and explores the senses of smell, taste, texture, sound and appearance and how they change with age. It provides a good bit of reading material and is a really useful reference source. When Jennifer first became a vegan, she was initially at a bit of a loss as to what to cook. But her background in aromatherapy and perfumery came to her rescue and she started to explore the world of culinary herb and spice aromas.

The main chapter in this section, Ingredients and Flavours, takes us through a myriad of plant-based ingredients. It starts with vegetables, then goes on to fruits, seeds, grains, nuts and legumes, fungi, herbs, spices, oils, vinegars and salts and finishes off with a few dairy substitutes. With potatoes and onions being such a popular ingredient worldwide, it is perhaps no surprise that these sections  are both over a page long. Each ingredient is described, with any particular nutrient and flavour qualities noted along with ideas on how to use them.

I do like a good spice mix, so I was excited to find Jennifer gives the ingredients for classic mixes from around the world. There are several I’ve never heard of, but now need to try. Advieh, for example, is a Persian mix which includes rose petals, cardamom, lime, pistachio and saffron – just wow!

The Recipe Collection by Gregor Law

This, of course, was the section I immediately jumped to as soon as I opened the book. I just can’t help myself; I’m a recipe junkie.

The recipes are an eclectic mix with inspiration taken from all over the world. Some are traditional and others are given a bit of a twist, but they all embrace the spirit of neurogastronomy. From Chinese mushroom sheng cai bao to Indian ‘Sunday Best’ biryani to Middle Eastern falafel koftas to Italian gnocchi, there’s plenty to excite the tastebuds.

Unusually, the first chapter in this section is Small Plates. There is a chapter on Brunches and Lunches and Picnics, but it comes second, not first. Gregor Law’s favourite way to eat is in the style of  mezze, tapas or thali, i.e. with lots of small plates. I have to say, it’s mine too – as long as I don’t have to do the washing up. Lots of different textures and flavours help to keep the palate excited. Main dishes are covered in the chapter Dinner Dates and Gentle Plates and the essentials in Seeking Solace in the Kitchen. No book is complete without a chapter on Desserts and although this is a small one, it has some beguiling recipes.

The recipes will particularly suit adventurous cooks that have just started their journey into plant-based eating. But even if you’re an old hand like me, there are plenty of ideas to inspire. Now CT is able to eat butter beans, there’s no stopping me and the recipe for gigantes escabeche has me positively drooling.

Cooking for the Senses - Recipe

There are several other recipes I have my eye on: roast saag aloo, petit pois à la Francaise which is a dish of cooked lettuce and peas and ratatouille with black garlic. Why have I never used black garlic before? Apple pesto sounds intriguing and Spanish flat breads called cocas have got me all a quiver. They are topped with a variety of ingredients and look a bit like mini pizzas. Perfect for parties. And of course, I’ve already tried my hand at the carrot pickles.

To finish, the apple and calvados cranachan sounds like something I’d like to try as does the rhubarb and Indonesian long pepper crumble. Rhubarb crumble is hard to beat, but adding some ground Indonesian long peppercorns to the topping has now got to be tried. And then there’s cherry chocolate cake – well, need I say more?

What I particularly liked about the book

The ethos of the book and recipes make a nice change from the new wave of vegan ‘clean eating’ cookbooks. Most, but not all, of the recipes are based on traditional dishes from various peasant cultures that have been eaten for a long time. It almost seems a little old-fashioned, but in a good way. You won’t find how to make vegan “cheese”,  “mayonnaise” or scrambled tofu here. And the sweet recipes use plain old sugar.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the new ideas emerging in this fast paced changing world of less meat and dairy, but I also get a bit fed up with bandwagon jumping. Most of the ingredients here are easy to find, though I have no idea where you get hold of Indonesian long peppers. 

The first part of the book is both interesting and informative and I can see myself dipping in and out of it for many years to come. At the end of the book, just before, the bibliography and index, I found a welcome surprise: a couple of pages on some of the more important plant compounds and which ‘superfoods’ contain them. Genistein and zeaxanithin I’d never heard of, but of course CT knew it all.

What I think could be improved on

Photographs. There’s no getting away from it, we are becoming increasingly visually focused and a cookbook these days needs to have appealing images and lots of them. The quality of the photography is not the issue here, it’s the lack of them. About half of the recipes have accompanying photographs, but not all of them are of the finished dish. There’s a beautiful picture of a romanesco accompanying the recipe for romanesco with citrus-infused salsa verde and toasted flaked almonds, but I want to see the final result.

The place to show photos of gorgeous greens and other edible plants is in the Ingredients and Flavours section. Sadly there are no illustrations of any kind here. Just a few scattered about would, I feel, improve the first part of the book. I do understand that photo shoots and buying images can be very expensive, but using them judiciously would really enhance the overall readability.

Carrot Pickles

The only recipe I’ve tried so far is the one for pickled carrots and, unusually for me, I nearly followed it to the letter. I couldn’t bring myself to peel the carrots as prescribed; they were organic and so fresh they still had their leaves on. The bay leaf, I added to the jar with the carrots, rather than boiling it in the pickling liquid. As for the carrots, I cut mine fairly chunkily. The original recipe says they should be the size of matchsticks, mine weren’t. I liked the idea of larger pieces and in any case, I didn’t want to spend too long chopping. I had to change the name too; carrot pickles just sounds nicer than pickled carrots and more interesting to my ear and perception.

Quick & Easy Carrot Pickles

Anyway, the carrot pickles were quickly made and are totally scrumptious. I keep going to the jar to ‘just try another one’. We’ve had them in sandwiches and salads and they are a winner in both.

Carrot Pickles – The Recipe

Carrot Pickles
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 min
Pickling Time
2 d
Total Time
16 mins
 
These carrot pickles are quick and easy to prepare and once infused, they make a good addition to both sandwiches and salads.
Course: Jams, Chutneys etc
Serves: 1 500ml jar
Author: Choclette @ Tin and Thyme
Ingredients
  • 4 carrots - scrubbed but not peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 150 ml cider vinegar
  • 100 ml water
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt I used Cornish sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
Instructions
  1. Trim the carrots, them cut them into julienne strips. I made mine fairly chunky, but the original recipe says they should be the size of matchsticks.
  2. Place them in a sterilised 500ml jar together with the bay leaf.
  3. Bring the remaining ingredients to the boil in a pan, stirring to ensure the sugar has dissolved, then pour over the carrots. Ensure all are submerged.
  4. Leave to cool before sealing. Keep in the fridge and use within 3 weeks.
Recipe Notes

Best left for a couple of days for the flavours to infuse.

 

 

#CookBlogShareI’m sharing this recipe for carrot pickles with #CookBlogShare which is being hosted over at Hijacked By Twins this week.

 

 

 

 

Cook Once Eat TwiceThe carrot pickles also go to #CookOnceEatTwice with Searching for Spice.

 

 

 

Carrot Pickles. PIN IT.

Quick & Easy Carrot Pickles

 

Cooking for the Senses Giveaway

Singing Dragon is offering one Tin and Thyme reader a copy of Cooking for the Senses. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post, answering the question, which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Winners will need to respond within 5 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked. 
 
Prizes are offered and provided by Singing Dragon and Tin and Thyme accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party. Tin and Thyme reserves the right to cancel or amend the giveaway and these terms and conditions without notice.
 
Closing date is Monday 11 June 2018 
 
Do take a look at the Tin and Thyme giveaways page to see if there’s anything else you’d like to enter.

 
Cooking for the Senses

I was sent a copy of Cooking for the Senses to review. I was not expected to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging.

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Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Tracy Nixon
    11th May 2018

    Use a lot of bold, global flavours, eg stuffed peppers with black beans and quinoa topped with a really good sauce.

  2. Leave a Reply

    Maxine G
    11th May 2018

    I eat a plant-based diet for approximately 3 or 4 days a week, vegetarian for the rest of the time. It’s so easy to make meals different and tasty with a range a spices and fresh herbs from the garden

  3. Leave a Reply

    Solange
    11th May 2018

    When eating out and even cooking at home, I tend to lean towards Indian, Thai, Japanese, Lebanese and other ethnic cuisines because they’re veggie-friendly, full of flavour and most dishes are quite healthy.

  4. Leave a Reply

    Anne Perry
    11th May 2018

    I add turmeric and cayenne pepper to most dishes.

  5. Leave a Reply

    Jane Willis
    12th May 2018

    When it comes to plant based dishes, freshness is king! Anything less than fresh won’t have as much flavour, so use it in a dish with plenty spices like a curry or chilli.

  6. Leave a Reply

    Kim M
    12th May 2018

    I’m not keen on garlic, tend to go for chillies and lots of strong flavoured veg – leeks, onions, celery and peppers for a good base x

  7. Leave a Reply

    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    12th May 2018

    I love quick, easy pickles like this…just got myself a huge bag of new harvested carrots…definitely save some for this pickle.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      13th May 2018

      Oh do Angie, they are really good. I can’t stop snacking on them. Do try and leave them at least two days before tucking in though as the flavours really need a bit of time to develop.

  8. Leave a Reply

    Sheila Reeves @cakereev
    12th May 2018

    Eat what’s in season in your country, those plants, fruits and vegetables will have the most flavour then

  9. Leave a Reply

    Kim Styles
    12th May 2018

    I like to stay eating raw vegetables where possible and also grow alfalfa and bean sprouts to throw in .

  10. Leave a Reply

    Andrea Upton
    12th May 2018

    For flavour fresh herbs grown in the garden and freshly picked

  11. Leave a Reply

    Wise Ways
    13th May 2018

    I don’t have any tips but will be reading others peoples

  12. Leave a Reply

    shaheen
    13th May 2018

    As an experimental vegetable based home cook this book is calling to me as I do love to play with new flavours.

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      13th May 2018

      Yes, me too Shaheen. It’s what keeps cooking and food preparation interesting and exciting.

  13. Leave a Reply

    Rachael
    13th May 2018

    I like to use chilli’s,garlic, and paprika to give food a rich and moreish flavour. However I think people downplay just how good fruit and vegetables can taste without having to add something else to them.

  14. Leave a Reply

    Keri Jones
    13th May 2018

    Grind your own herbs and spices instead of using prepared ones xx

  15. Leave a Reply

    Corina Blum
    13th May 2018

    I love to use lots of herbs and spices in our plant based meals. These carrot pickles sound delicious and I would especially like to see if I could get my children to eat them! Thanks so much for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      14th May 2018

      Where would be be without our herbs or spices? Cooking without those really would be a challenge.

  16. Leave a Reply

    Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist
    14th May 2018

    What a fascinating book and interesting pickle recipe. We use lots of herbs and spices, love to use a hint of chilli to bring some warmth into a dish….. and we always use a garlic grater dish to bring out the full depth of garlic flavour. They are magic! x

    • Leave a Reply

      Choclette
      14th May 2018

      Oh, a garlic grater dish. I have one that was handmade in Cornwall somewhere, but whether it’s in Cornwall or here and which box it’s in, I’ve no idea.

  17. Leave a Reply

    CathyJ
    14th May 2018

    Fresh herbs and spices much better than dried

  18. Leave a Reply

    iain maciver
    14th May 2018

    freshness is mostly the key with good spices

  19. Leave a Reply

    lynn neal
    15th May 2018

    experiment with different herbs and spices to see which flavours you enjoy!

  20. Leave a Reply

    Annabel Greaves
    15th May 2018

    I love to add lots of different plant-based foods together

  21. Leave a Reply

    Rebecca Brown
    15th May 2018

    Shop local and fresh – farmers markets are a real godsend!

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