Thursday, December 1, 2011

peek into my cookbook collection

As you may be aware I first went vegan in 2001. Back then there were very few vegan cookbooks beyond Hare Krishna type stuck together books and How it All Vegan. Well there were a couple so I will step you through them. I’ve been through many vegan cookbooks over the years and today I want to talk about the ones I use the most and why they have stuck around.

How It All Vegan!: Irresistible Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet

This was my first vegan cookbook and I still cook out of it. It’s a fantastic introduction to vegan cooking with very simple recipes using simple ingredients. It focuses on the handmade so making your own tofu steaks, tempeh burgers but also concentrates on what I call squat food, delicious nutritious stews and soups (I grew up as a teen eating loads of these things in Newtown squats). There’s also living vegan sections on how to make your own beauty products, cat toys and cleaning products. This book is a fantastic primer for cooking in general and I highly recommend it.

experience level: beginner
photos: no
cuisine: american but pretty universal
first published: 1999

the voluptuous vegan – myra kornfeld

This is probably my favourite vegan cookbook, I have cooked LOADS out of this. This book developed a lot of the recipes I use today for tofu sour cream and many different dairy substitutes. It can be a little difficult to navigate as the recipes are grouped into meals (containing 4-5 dishes) but I just go through and pick out a few I want to try here and there. There are quite a few ingredients we are unable to get here but you can easily substitute if you have a bit of imagination. The best part of this book is there are many ‘teaching’ pages of diagrams like how to prepare vegetables and wonton skins etc. The Voluptuous Vegan really took my vegan cooking to a next level in being able to substitute all my old favourites and learn quite a few new cooking techniques. I particularly love Myras dinner party menus. Myra teaches at the Natural Gourmet Institute, somewhere I want to go and train VERY VERY much.

experience: beginner to intermediate
photos: no
cuisine: american using quite a few US ingredients
first published: 2001

The Real Food Daily Cookbook: Really Fresh, Really Good, Really Vegetarian

As you keeners will be aware I’m relatively obsessed with Ann Gentry she is my food Goddess. Her restaurant Real Food Daily opened 18 years ago in Santa Monica as one of the first organic vegan restaurants around and is still going (with a couple of other stores now to boot). Ann’s cooking is a bit all over the place like my own, she is Southern but became devoted to Japanese macrobiotics so her cuisine combines all these elements. The Real Food Daily cookbook is some next level shit. I mean I’m constructing my own stove top smoker to make maple bacon kind of thing. Ultimately worth it for me because I’m obviously obsessed with this stuff. Anne taught me how to make cashew cheese (both sauce and hard set cheese) a couple of ways I can actually eat tempeh and like it and how to incorporate more Japanese ingredients for all the 5 tastes. If you’re looking for a challenge and how to expand your vegan cooking skills this book will set you on the way to vegan chef. High HIGHLY recommended.

experience: intermediate to advanced
photos: yes (not all dishes but most)
cuisine: southern and japanese (combined)
first published: 2005


This is the best vegetarian book you will ever buy. Sure it's vegetarian and I like a challenge veganising his recipes but Yotam's way with vegetables gets me a little hot under the collar. His recipes are fairly complex with many steps and many ingredients but you will learn flavours and cooking techniques that will stay with you and next level all the cooking you do. The book itself is gorgeous, full colour photos taken beautifully. His book is the level of quality I aspire to with my own. As vegans we tend to just brush away vegetables and concentrate on the protein portions of our meals (cooking technique wise) this takes it back to basics with the humble vegetable and how extraordinary it can be. The Guardian have a bunch of his recipes available online.

experience: intermediate
photos: yes
cuisine: mainly middle eastern
first published: 2010


  1. This is so funny. I am a cookbook *addict*. I just can't stop buying them, and have so many of them. But the only one of these I have is "How it all Vegan", and I can't stand it!

    It's amazing how we all love completely different things :P

  2. hi matthew! definitely! what are some of your favourites and why?

  3. Hi Carla,
    sorry I forgot to reply! I ended up doing a post about it on our blog. If I had to pick ONE, however, it would be Vegan Diner. Hands down. Absolllluteeeely!


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