About three years ago my daughter chose to become a vegetarian. I was happy to support her but after a few months she became anaemic. This was very worrying so after a lot of discussion we decided to get her to eat chicken and fish again. Unfortunately my hubby is a true carnivore and thinks a meal isn’t a meal without meat or fish in it. My son is just the same (is it a man thing or are they just like that?) I experimented with Quorn in recipes which my daughter and I liked but the fussy men didn’t!
So, I was delighted to see a Vegetarian Cookbook in the Hungry Student series for several reasons. I’m always after cooking healthy but delicious meals for all of us as a family. Being student friendly it would also mean they would be easier on the purse strings, especially in this current economic climate. It meant that I could resort to a couple of meatless days a week, helping all of us in the meantime.
The introduction to this helpful book states ” Feeding yourself well at uni can be a real challenge and if you’re vegetarian, your options might look even more limited…. But you don’t have to resort to endless takeaways and baked beans!”
I was very impressed with the introduction to the book- ideas on how to stock up your storecupboard so you have herbs, sauces and cans of pulses and tomatoes to hand. There are also ideas on how to watch your budget, how to cook safely so you don’t poison your friends as well as what you need to know about foods may contain animal deriatives not suitable for vegetarians.
The recipes themselves are split into several chapters: Pasta, Stir Fries, Noodles and Rice, Soups, Stews and Curries, Salads, Veggies and Sides, Jacket Potatoes and Toppings, Easy Dinners, Feeding Friends, In Bread and On Toast, Sweets and one which made me chuckle The Morning After (hangover cures of course!)
So far we have tried two of the meals from the book.
In the summer holidays, about a week after I bought the book we tried the Creamy Gnocchi Bake with Spinach and Walnuts for tea. This was absolutely gorgeous and tasted fab with a side salad. It was the first time my hubby and kids had tasted gnocchi and they loved it. In fact no one noticed the lack of meat in the recipe. I was so pleased with this that I made it again a couple of weeks later.
Yesterday I made the Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake for tea. It made four massive portions but unfortunately it was not a success with my carnivore loving husband and son. My hubby said it “didn’t taste of anything” which I thought was totally untrue. My son picked some of the pasta and the cheese out but said they were all vegetables he didn’t like in the recipe. (aubergines, courgettes and peppers). My hubby ended up going to pick up my daughter from her dance class and bought himself a Doner Kebab on the way home! I give up!
Tomorrow night I am going to try out the Beany Nachos on the whole family. They love nachos normally so why not beany ones? The beans are in a chilli sauce and heated with cheese on the top along with all the sides you get, such as guacamole and salsa! They’re just like the ones you get as a starter in Mexican restaurants. Surely they can’t moan about that? You don’t have to put half a cow on the top of things to make it tasty!
So can I recommend this book to others? Yes I can! Not only is it designed for students, it can be an ideal present for a parent giving a cookbook to their teenager to encourage them to cook. Or even if they are a keen cook themselves and are looking for new ideas of cooking with less or no meat or fish in your diet. This is how I see it, as well as being a book full of great inspiration for cheap meals. I bought this book myself and am intending to buy another copy so that both children have useful cookery books to help them get started when they move away from home in the years to come. I also think it is an affordable book, along with the others in the series at only £7.99 each. This makes it huge value for money as there are loads of recipes in the book (I didn’t count them but it seems that way!).
Watch out for my review of The Hungry Student Cookbook coming up soon.
Love Sam xx