As promised for this month of Veganuary, I’m trying to up the number of vegan meals I eat. This has been massively helped by the acquisition of two recently published vegan recipe books authored by talented fellow food bloggers. You’ll find reviews of the books below along with a recipe for veggie chilli which has been rather heavily adapted from one of them. Twas ever thus …
Bit of the Good Stuff by Sharon Collins
Sharon is a long standing plant-based whole food blogger over at Bit of the Good Stuff. Due to popular demand, Sharon self-published over a hundred of her recipes and created an excellent cookbook which I’m really excited about. Despite the wealth of recipes on the internet, I still love print cookbooks and desperately hope they won’t ever entirely be replaced by online ones.
Bit of the Good Stuff is definitely my kind of book. It’s not only beautifully illustrated, but the recipes are wholesome, hearty and delicious and everything is made from scratch. Sharon cooks the way I like to cook and uses similar ingredients. I guess that should be no surprise as she is a fellow member of the Suma Blogger’s Network.
Sharon starts by explaining the benefits that a whole food plant-based diet have made to her and her family. It must be working; her 13 year old son has not yet had a single day off school through sickness. Sharon no longer has the aches, pains and sinusitis she did before adopting this way of eating and her husband has more stamina when mountain biking and rides faster than ever before. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up dairy yet, but I feel almost tempted.
If you struggle with getting kids to eat their five a day, Sharon throws in several tips on how to encourage them to love their veggies. She also outlines some of her favourite ingredients and kitchen essentials. The recipes are divided into five chapters: breakfasts & elevenses; soups; lunches & light dinners; mains; desserts, treats & snacks. Time to get stuck in.
The recipes are family friendly, easy to follow and easy to make. Each one is accompanied by a clear and appealing photograph taken by Sharon herself. How cool is that? I particularly like The Good Stuff, nuggets of nutritional information that accompany most of the recipes. The recipe for Chive & Onion Frittata with sun-dried tomato, for example, tells us that “onions are great immune-boosters and are packed with antibacterial, anti-inflamatory and antiviral nutrients”.
After I attended a vegan cookery workshop at The Vegetarian Society last year, I bought myself a tub of nutritional yeast flakes. It has sat in my cupboard unopened ever since; I just never think to use it. Thanks to Sharon, I now have several recipes to try it in, including Cashew ‘Parmesan’, Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Spinach & Tofu Pie.
If you’re wanting to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet or you’re vegan and looking to widen your cooking repertoire, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. You can buy it online at the Bit of the Good Stuff’s bookshop. It’s an absolute bargain at £14.99 plus p&p. For the month of January, you can get a 20% discount and delivery worldwide if you enter “VEGANUARY” at the check out.
You can also buy Bit of the Good Stuff: Over 100 Easy and Delicious Plant-Powered Recipes for All the Family to Enjoy on Amazon. However, Sharon is offering one lucky Tin and Thyme reader a copy, so do scroll down to the giveaway widget at the bottom of the page and enter for your chance of winning it.
I’ve only made one of the recipes so far, but I’ve got several bookmarked including: Green Pea Tostadas, Nut Koftas and Butternut Squash & Apricot Tagine. As regular readers will know, I can’t resist the sweet stuff, so these Easy Vegan Waffles, Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread and Giant Peanut Butter Cups will all have to be tried in due course. As I’m almost incapable of following recipes and tend to use whatever I have available, I’m giving you the veggie chilli recipe I was inspired to make from the book, rather than the original Rainbow Veggie Chilli. You’ll need to head to Sharon’s blog for that or better still buy the book.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large leek - sliced
- 1 large carrot - scrubbed , topped, tailed and diced
- 3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 1 red chilli - seeds removed & finely chopped
- 1 large red pepper - seeds removed and roughly chopped
- 6 chestnut mushrooms - diced
- 100 g frozen sweetcorn
- 500 g cooked aduki beans (or use 2 x 400g tins)
- 1 400 g tin chopped tomatoes + ½ tin water
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp tamari
- ¼ tsp dried stevia (or 1 tsp unrefined sugar)
- In a large saucepan, fry the leeks and carrots in the oil over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Add all the other ingredients, cover and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for 30 minutes by which time the carrot should be tender and the flavours amalgamated.
- Serve with rice.
Provides 4 large servings, but could easily stretch to 5. Adapted from Bit of the Good Stuff by Sharon Collins
Vegan in 15 by Kate Ford
With more and more people wanting to embrace a vegan lifestyle or at the very least attempting to eat less meat and dairy meals, Kate’s Vegan in 15 is timely. It’s a great guide for the novice vegan shopper and cook and contains over 60 recipes that can be prepared in fifteen minutes or less. It gives tips on going vegan as well as planning, shopping and cooking. If you’re worried about nutrition and where you’ll get your protein and calcium from, Kate has that covered too. She also gives a fairly comprehensive guide on stocking the store cupboard.
The book contains over 60 recipes that can be prepared in fifteen minutes or less. The recipes are divided into seven chapters: Easy Brunch, Speedy Soups, Salads, Fast Lunch, Small Plates, Main Courses and Decadent Desserts. The recipes are diverse; as well as the pasta, risotto and stews you’d expect to find, there are plenty of gems such as Tahini and Cashew Quinoa Bowl with Garlic and Ginger Mushrooms.
I do love a good breakfast, so I was interested to see what suggestions Kate had for us. I was not disappointed. Bubble and Squeak Fry-Up with Grilled Tomatoes sounds like a great start to the weekend, although I’m also taken by the Smashed Avocado on Toast with Crispy Spring Onions and Chilli Yoghurt. I’m rather wishing now that I’d tried the Hazelnut and Plum Porridge with Pumpkin Seeds for breakfast this morning. Luckily, there is always tomorrow
Yesterday, I made Cannellini Beans with Cavolo Nero. It was speedy and delicious, although in fact I substituted borlotti beans and savoy cabbage as that’s what I had to hand. The recipe was very easy to follow, included alternatives to the cavolo nero and a useful top tip. Today I’m thinking I quite fancy the Speedy Bean Burger with Gherkins and Mustard Mayo or maybe Black Bean Tacos with avocado and Roasted Peppers.
Some of the recipes are cooked from scratch, some use ready made products. As mentioned earlier, I tend to cook most things from scratch, but it’s always useful to have a few standbys in the cupboard and I do occasionally resort to “cheat” ingredients. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is pressed for time at some point or other. I particularly like the handy little “check” symbol next to any ingredient that might contain animal products. It’s always a good idea to read the labels in my experience.
The recipes are mostly unillustrated, but there are a few photographs by Romas Foord in the middle of the book to whet your appetite. I’m rather taken by the picture of the Chocolate and Peanut Butter ‘Freakshake’ and even more so by the recipe. It’s a much healthier version of the ‘Freakshakes’ that have suddenly become so popular, but it still sounds decadent and delicious.
With two weeks of Veganuary left, now’s a good time to get hold of this book and try a few of the recipes. Published in pbk by Short Books, Vegan in 15: Delicious Plant-based recipes you can cook in 15 minutes or less is widely available at £8.99. Kate’s blog, The Veg Space is well worth visiting too.
I’m sending my veggie chilli off to Baking Queen and Farmersgirl Kitchen for the Slow Cooked Challenge. Whilst the chilli doesn’t take that long to cook, I slow cooked the aduki beans beforehand that I then used in the chilli.
A Bit of the Good Stuff Giveaway
Sharon is kindly offering one Tin and Thyme reader a copy of her excellent book. 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 who will then be contacted via e-mail. 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. There are no cash alternatives.
The book is offered and provided by Sharon Collins 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.
Thanks to Sharon and Kate for the books. I was not required to write positive reviews and as always, all opinions are my own. The post contains affiliate links. Buying through a link will not cost you any more, but I will get a small commission. This helps keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging.