River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

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River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Category: Cookery
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The book of the television series (or is it the other way round?) gives some sumptuous recipes to tempt us to eat more veg. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1408812129

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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall wants to make it clear that River Cottage: Veg Every Day! is a vegetable cookbook and that it's up to the reader to determine whether or not it's a vegetarian cookbook. He makes it quite clear that he's not a vegetarian and has no intention of becoming one, but for the four months which it took to film the series of which this is the book he didn't touch a scrap of meat or fish. It's a new Hugh, but the slimmed-down version is the result of a conscious decision before filming began rather than the consequences of the change of diet. The new hairstyle has yet to be explained…

Hugh suggests that the principle of the book is simple. Do you know anyone who is in danger of eating too many vegetables? I must confess that I didn't quite follow that as the obvious answer is probably not, which a secondary response to the effect that other people's consumption of artichokes has occasionally worried me, but I wasn't entirely certain where we went even if I stuck to the negative answer. I was a lot more convinced by his second point. Do you feel that the world would be a better place if there were more factory chicken farms or intensive pig units? I don't know anyone who would say yes to that.

An increased consumption of vegetables is what's best for the world and there's a lot of evidence that it's also best for the consumer, but the government's campaign to get people to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day seems to have fallen rather flat – not least because it comes across as rather preachy. What's needed is to make eating vegetables tasty, satisfying, enjoyable – and simple. For the sake of our future and our children's future we need to eat vegetables rather than flesh.

So, we have a book and a television series – but will they be enough to tempt you to the path of righteousness? I can't speak for the TV series but the book has a lot going for it. There are over two hundred new recipes, full of flavour and all with look of something you want to tuck into. Each recipe is accompanied by a full-page colour picture, which is one reason why the book has a chunky look and feel to it.

There's a good variety of recipes to suit most occasions – I'm hard-pressed to think of a time when one of these recipes wouldn't be suitable. Vegans can use many of them (they're clearly marked) and others could be adapted without many problems. I was particularly taken by the first recipe in the book – for aubergine parmigiana. It takes a while to prepare but will freeze and has a wonderful, full flavour. We're great fans of Kedgeree here at Bookbag Towers so I was interested to try Vegeree. For me it lacked the essential taste (and the fact that I can put it together in about a quarter of an hour whilst thinking about something else) but it was certainly enjoyable. The revelation was the courgette and rice filo pie, which made me regret the fact that I'd just cleared my courgette glut – and then found a recipe I would willingly make on a regular basis.

I've a lot more recipes I want to try – particularly those involving mushrooms which I've always thought to be a reasonable alternative to meat – and I think we'll be having a lot of good meals as a result. By the way, Hugh gave up the vegetarian lifestyle after filming was completed. He fell for the charms of a mackerel.

If this type of food appeals to you then you might like to try Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi.

Buy River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall at Amazon.com.


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