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One week of cooking from Veganomicon

You've got loads of cookbooks right? You don't use them as much as you should? Yeah, me too. So in the mood to make use of all the recipes in my dirty great cookbook stash, I've had a crack at cooking all week from Veganomicon.

First up, gumbo - Smoky Red Peppers 'n' Beans Gumbo, to be precise.

I've never had gumbo in any form apart from a cookbook or two, so I've got nowt to compare it to - does gumbo taste like this in the Deep South? Who knows? In South England, it tasted just fine, but seemed to be crying out for a fist-fight with an angry bottle of hot sauce.

Still, it meant I got to use okra and black beans, neither of which I cook often enough and if memory serves, do something good for you. Lots of calcium? Shiny coat and a wet nose? Again, who knows? I defer on this to someone that knows what they're talking about.

I also had a crack at making White Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits. Daft sod that I am, I didn't look at the recipe's yield and ended up with a portion big enough to feed me and my other half for a few days. Maybe I'd have liked this recipe with its comforting, in the bleak midwinter-y, pub food-ness if I hadn't eaten it for several days on the trot. Alas, due to my own stupidity, it recurred with a worrying frequency for lunch and dinner and by the end felt more like a persistent rash than a treat. My bad. Don't let me put you off - just maybe make half portions first time around.

The next recipe that got a going over was Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes, served with 5-Minute Mango Chutney and Sauteed Spinach and Tomatoes.

When I told my other half I'd be cooking a mixture of curry and spud, he practically did a dance with joy.  He was right to.

Potatoes are always a winner in curry, and turns out curry is a winner in potatoes too. The spinach and chutney also get the thumbs up - a happy mix and not an awful lot of effort for a good deal of reward.

Another recipe I cooked was Chickpeas
Romesco - a mix of chickpeas, ground almonds tomatoes and a few flavourings.

Other half is an avowed almond-eschewer, but even he had to admit grudgingly, after a few teaspoons, that this was all kinds of good.

I took this to work and a couple of co-workers commented on how good it smelled. I didn't share. Bad Flicking the Vs.

It does look a bit like it came out the wrong end of a digestively-troubled mammal, but beauty is in the eye - or in this case, the stomach - of the beholder. And I found it beautiful.

Cheater Baked Beans also got a couple of curious looks from my colleagues, but maybe it was because I left the dish in the oven too long and ended up with oddly blackened baked beans. Bit sweet for my liking, but the molasses and beans combo kidded me into thinking I'm doing well on hitting my RDA of iron. That, and my RDA of iron still tasted pretty nice with a couple of vegan frankfurters.

By now, we're onto the weekend. Normally  a hot breakfast for me is a couple of Linda McC sausages in a bap. Still, it's Veganomicon week and I've promised to cook up some pancakes - welcome,  Blueberry Corn Pancakes.

The eagle-eyed among you - and, let's be frank, the myopic too - will spot the distinct lack of blueberries. I didn't have any in the fridge so I substituted it with what I did have, bananas and pecan. Alright, so we're not talking identical twin pancakes, but forgive me, Isa, I couldn't be arsed to go to the shop.

The end result, apart from some pan-sticking (turns out that's why you don't put sliced banana in pancakes) it was one damn fine breakfast.

I didn't love everything I made from Veganomicon, but I loved making it all. When it worked, it worked cracking, when it didn't, it still gave me a recipe base I'd tweak and use again in future. Not a bad investment that Veganomicon.

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