Monday, March 18, 2013

River Cottage Veg Everyday, Refried beans on flatbread

About a month ago, I was having one of those days. I’d been booked for a job but my client was late delivering their material. I’d run out of coffee so I had to have tea for breakfast. Without my booked job to fill up my day I tried to do my own research but the words weren't flowing and the postmodernists were giving me the shits with their unnecessarily dense language (I do love a bit of pomo but it's so frigging hard to read sometimes). After an afternoon of unproductively staring at my computer my inner teenager emerged and I flopped on the couch, eating peanut butter from the jar and listlessly flipped through the channels, moaning at each progressively unappealing televisual choice (of course I had watched all of the DVDs I had and, although I had new ones waiting at the library to be picked up, didn't go because I was waiting for the job to arrive. Of course.) before settling the least boring of all of the boring choices, a show about cooking vegetables.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. The show was the River Cottage Veg Everyday and it featured an appealing foppish gardening nerd enthusing about vegetables and his produce and cooking in an old-fashioned stove. It was really appealing! So, after eating Chinese takeaway (which was average, of course), I ordered the book that accompanies the TV series from the library and went to bed. 
My dodgy photo non-withstanding, this book is really good! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is not a vegetarian but thinks we eat too much meat. For him, meat should be a garnish or a side dish rather than the main event. He states:

Call me power-crazed, but I'm trying to change your life here. The object of the exercise is to persuade you to eat more vegetables. Many more vegetables. And I hope to do so not by shouting from a soapbox, but through sheer temptation.

And the recipes are tempting. There's a huge range of dishes here including salads, comfort foods, tapas dishes and storecupboard suppers. I was even inspired to buy asparagus, which is not something I would normally do. I made the veggie stock and am trying the asparagus risotto with chili oil tomorrow.

My favourite item from the book so far is this:

The topping is the refried beans, which is fine - cheap and easy and pretty tasty with the addition of fresh coriander and ground cumin. The flat breads, though, were a complete revelation. They were delicious! The dough uses this recipe but, instead of being made into a pizza, is rolled as thin as you can get it and then cooked in a very hot dry pan for about two minutes a side. Sam didn't witness me make them and thought I'd bought them, which is a huge compliment given that my bread is usually a distant second to good store-bought bread. I can see the flatbread becoming a regular part of my everyday dinner rotation.

I give this book four stars and is one of the few books that I simply must buy for myself after borrowing the library.


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