Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Creative Ways of Cooking the Books

Gone are the days of Eva Batt's 'Vegan Cookery' being the only vegan cookbook on the market and, whilst I still treasure the encouragement that her simplistic photo less recipes gave me in the early years, my over indulgence in collecting the 'new kids on the chopping block' is now bordering on the obsessive.  These days you can go to pretty much any book shop and find the cookery section bulging with vegan cookbooks oozing sumptuously lit photographs, delectably worded recipe descriptions and exotically combined foods that have your tummy rumbling and your taste buds tingling.  I get sucked in.  Flicking through I attempt remembering recipes and ingredients without parting with my hard earned cash but, after oohing and aahing over the third successive recipe I'd tried to memorise, I give in.  I've recently had to expand my collection onto another book shelf much in the same way that Phil has with his shoe collection on the shoe rack in the hallway or his surfboards around other rooms in the house (but that is a completely different blog post and story). 

But here's the thing.....I'm not very good at following recipes.  Sure, cakes and bread to avoid technical disaster but with lunches or dinners it's mostly a free for all.  I draw inspiration from cookbooks or magazines but very rarely do I follow a recipe 'to the T'.  That is what happens with creative sorts perhaps. Photographers, painters, musicians, actors; they're all influenced by others but they add and apply their own interpretations.  So this got me thinking; do creative people have the edge when it comes to cooking? Maybe I'm just thinking too deeply.  Either way, next time you reach for a cookbook and start writing that list of ingredients that you will have to go out and buy and then possibly never use again, how about riffling through your cupboards and your fridge and trying your very own version of 'Ready, Steady, Cook'.  Be abstract, be experimental, be adventurous because, unless you completely burn it, it's still going to be edible.  Save the recipe books for when you are feeling really lazy or completely uninspired.

.......and if you are feeling lazy tonight and have the following things hanging around in your kitchen you could always try this one that I made up a while back.  Every time I make it is different according to what we have around so fill in the gaps/delete as appropriate.  Be creative with this creation!

Aubergine Roll Up Thingies

Some aubergines (surprisingly)
Garlic (don't tell Phil)
Chili (tell him you put in twice as much as you really did but they must have been mild chilis)
Some mushrooms
Fresh rosemary (we have this in the garden all year round)
Olive tapenade (have used miso instead on previous occasions which we always have)
Balsamic vinegar (always have some of this) 
Tomato puree (and this)
One or two of those squeezy Mediterranean soup sachets or more tomato puree

Slice the aubergines length ways into no more than 1/4" slices and bake until soft.
Meanwhile, fry up the finely chopped garlic, chili and rosemary for a bit and chuck in the sliced mushrooms until soft.  Add in the tapenade, vinegar, puree and stir together.  Add in enough water to make it into a nice consistency for spooning onto the aubergine slices and roll them up whilst skillfully avoiding burning your fingers.  Don't worry as stuff will fall out of the rolls a bit.  I then put the roll ups into a shallow baking dish into which I have put the slightly watered down soup or tomato puree mixture and then bake for a further 15 minutes or so until the roll ups look fully cooked and just a touch crispy.  We've had this as a side dish or used as a main to top a big bowl of pasta.

Now, I've just heard there is a great new vegan cookbook on the market........so I'm off to look at it and then no doubt add it to my collection!

No comments:

Post a Comment