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Cooking from Veggiestan part deux

After my first successful soujourn in the land of Veggiestan, I decided it was time for a return visit.

Not only had all the recipes I tried previously turned out pretty darn well, the cookbook is filled with all sorts of fun dishes I'd never seen before, and the text that accompanies them is really interesting - local history, cooking tips, and personal reminiscences from the book's author (how Peckham delight got its name made me happy, given I'm a fellow south Londoner).  In short, spending time with the book is always a bit of a pleasure - you can read it as well as cook from it.

The first recipe I tried cooking this time around was a salad:

I'm not sure why I cooked this particular salad (spinach, apricot and bulgur wheat salad), given I really don't like dried apricots, nor almonds unless it's in almond milk or sweet dishes. Turns out I was wrong all along - they're pretty nice if you cook them up with bulgur wheat, spinach, red onion carrot and dill.

I don't eat a lot of salads at home, but this one is pretty much everything I think about salads but completely the opposite: it's tasty, it's filling, it's nutritious and it keeps well - not like any salad I normally make!

The next thing I cooked up was a plate of a few things, including that old favourite, stuffed peppers.

The peppers were stuffed with mograbieh (or Israeli cous cous), herbs and veggies and my spice kryptonite - cinnamon in savoury dishes. Bleurgh. Why attempt such foolishness? Because the bulgur wheat experiment convinced me that Veggiestan could do no wrong. But it turns out even its crazy magic can't turn around the grimness of cinnamon in savoury foods. (Cinnamon in sweet foods? Yes. But most things in cakes are good by me.)

The peppers' costars were Afghan carrot hotpot again (love that stuff - it kind of makes itself without human intervention. It's like watching culinary evolution happen in a petri dish before your very eyes!) and loubi bi harissa. Bonus points for that one for using up all the harissa and rosewater in my cupboard, and for using them up to make a fragrant, sharp dressing for lovely green veggies. 

Not quite such a pretty face is mung bean casserole (hey, wait, don't leave - mung beans are great, they just have bad press!) but it manages the same kind of culinary alchemy as the Afghan carrot hotpot - you just chuck a lot of pulses, veggies and a bit of spice in a pot, wander off to read the paper, come back and dinner is served.

Granted, I'm not doing the mung bean lobby any favours with pictures such as these, but I know you're not the type of person to be swayed by the way they look. Just look past this, and give the recipe - and Veggiestan - a go. They're definitely worth the trouble!

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  1. wow it looks so delicious! thanks for sharing! :D

  2. Me too, I don't like dried fruits in my salads except for cranberries, but the salad definitely seems tasty and filling with the bulgur wheat! Mmm, I love Israeli cous cous, I had it on my Air NZ Business Premier flight, with pumpkin and veggies.

  3. I dunno, I think that the mung bean casserole looks like the most delicious meal here! Granted, I'm a salad grump. And anything that I can throw in a pot and walk away from is a big time winner :)

  4. Oh man that salad looks good, I'm a big fan of bulgur, the chewniess makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I eat it. What's with the dried fruit hate? Dried fruit in salads is the bomb....says the girl who just teleported from 1995.

  5. I bought a bag of bulger wheat but haven't gotten around to trying it in anything. With these lovely dishes, it's time to crack open that bag. :-)

  6. Matt has had this book for a while. I'm sending him a link to this review in the hope I'll get to sample something from it soon ;)

  7. I love cookbooks like that, that are interesting to read as well as to cook from! And good on you for trying things that you don't like, because you never know when you'll be surprised. And yeah, I don't find cinnamon works well in savory foods, but maybe our taste buds are broken? Ha ha.

  8. Everything looks great; thanks for the tip on that cookbook :-)

  9. The Afghan carrot hotpot sounds so good. But so does the mung bean casserole. I love mung beans but I never think of cooking them. Maybe tonight.

  10. I have browsed this book often and thought it looks interesting - just too heavy for a bulging cookbook shelf (or 4) - but you have inspired me to try and really focus on the cookbook I bought yesterday - they gather dust too easily - I just want some recipes that make themselves and anything with apricots is fine by me

  11. These dishes all look delicious! I adore Israeli cous cous and haven't made any for so long but now I'm craving it.


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