Book review: Whole Food Cooking Every Day

24 October 2019 by
Book review: Whole Food Cooking Every Day

Whole Food Cooking Every Day, by Amy Chaplin

Artisan, £30

Whole Food Cooking Every Day follows on from vegetarian chef Amy Chaplin's award-winning At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen cookbook. The former executive chef at New York vegan restaurant Angelica Kitchen – now teacher, consultant, recipe developer and personal chef – shares the recipes she teaches to chefs who want to incorporate vegan dishes into their menus.

Rather than a classic ‘recipe book' separated into courses or meals, Whole Food Cooking has 20 chapters, often with one ‘base recipe' and a multitude of different ways to adapt and customise them, from gluten-free breads and cauliflower bakes to tempeh and soups.

By ‘whole foods', Chaplin means seasonal, fresh ingredients in their natural state, something that is now a focus for many chefs. For those interested in exploring alternatives such as vegan dishes, sea vegetables and ‘dairy' made from nuts and seeds, this book is a great place to start.

Chaplin discusses in great detail the ideal cooking times for beans and nuts as well as soaking grains – the kind of minutiae chefs love – and there is also a section devoted to the art of vegetable pickling and fermenting. The black rice sesame bread in particular caught my eye as an alternative to rye, and the kabocha squash soup with ginger, turmeric and miso has gone to the top of my list as an alternative to my usual plain squash soup recipe.

Although I was cynical about the alternative milk movement, the multitude of different flavour combinations and apparent ease with which they are produced has seduced me, with recipes for strawberry-almond, pumpkin-nutmeg-almond and maca-cinnamon-hazelnut milks.

Whole Food Cooking is pleasingly well-rounded, in that it cross-references across chapters and recipes. It's refreshingly forward-thinking to see Chaplin advocating the use of ‘waste products' – the almond pulp from the almond milk recipes, for example, is used to make crackers further on in the book, a circular way of thinking that this reader would love to see more of in cookbooks.

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