We’re not a vegetarian household but that’s how we eat a lot of the time. I’m always interested in getting a bit more variety in my diet than the monotonous meat and two veg. So I was highly excited when my copy of Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson arrived on the doorstep earlier this year. I rapidly bookmarked a whole bunch of recipes to try out, but then moving to Ireland and setting up a new life got in the way of doing… well, anything else really. It’s only recently that I’ve had the opportunity to dive back into this book and get cooking.
Chances are, if you’re into food blogs then you’ve probably come across Heidi by now. And if you’ve enjoyed her blog then you’re likely to enjoy the book too. What I like about her writing is that she doesn’t ever really say ‘eat this, it’s good for you’. Instead, she lets the recipes speak for themselves: interesting, often new (to me, anyway), ingredients from around the world, brought together in tasty combinations that stand confidently on their own, without anyone hankering wistfully after animal protein. It happens to be good for you? That’s just a bonus.
And the photos? Everything looks so vibrant and beautiful, with rich, jewel-like colours shimmering on every page – colour is such an important part of stimulating appetite and appreciating food (as Heidi discusses) and the pics certainly reflect that. Also, it has to be said, I’m a sucker for interesting photography and thoughtful design – this book has it in spades. Nice paper choice too – it feels good to run your fingers across the pages. (Yes, I like to stroke books… doesn’t everyone?) This is a book that’s been put together with love from start to literal finish of the inside cover.
So, once I’d snapped out of my book-lovin’ reverie, I had to decide where to start. Oooh – sticky teff-kissed spice loaves… Well, I’ll have to go on a teff hunt first, so that’s earmarked for another day. Gnocchi alla Romana… that sounds good but we’ve eaten lots of pasta and sauce over the past couple of days, so, again, reserved for a future date.
Then I remembered a conversation with my former workmate Chloe (hi Chloe!), in which we’d both drooled over the gorgeous-looking chickpea burgers. Yes, I thought, that’s a good place to start. And what an inspired bit of thinking (Heidi’s, not mine, I hasten to add) – turning the burger into the bun and stuffing it with extra veggies. No more too-sloppy or too-crumbly, tasteless concoctions for this kitchen – so often the problem with veggieburger recipes. This is a tasty, beautifully-textured burger, indeed.
I changed nothing. Not a thing. How often does that happen? Oh, actually, I left out the micro sprouts but that’s just because I had a ‘senior moment’ when I was out shopping and forgot to buy any. (I’m only 31 – this doesn’t bode well.)
These patties were also good as leftovers – very easy to split open when they’re cold and then stuff with whatever’s to hand in the fridge. That’s my lunch you’re looking at in the photo at the top 🙂
For some reason, I’m now thinking that these would work well in a wrap with some salad and tzatziki. Mmmm – time to make some more!