Monday, 13 May 2013

Book Review - Happy Herbivore Abroad

The third low-fat, plant-based offering from Lindsay Nixon, with a focus on international flavours. (Review of previous book here) The idea behind this one seems to be both a presentation of food from around the world, and a travelogue / commentary about life and travelling in other parts of the world. Cuisines represented included those such as Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, with a smattering of Middle Eastern, African, and others thrown in, but on the whole I found the recipes to be very Euro-centric, and the travelogue part was basically about European travel, which I would have liked to have seen expanded to be more truly "around the world". While the premise is a good one, combining food and travel tips from places all over the globe, I do feel there could have been more of a global presence.

The book itself is bright and colourful, with photos of many recipes, and snaps of many of the places mentioned in the travel commentary. I'd have liked fewer photos of the author and more of both the food and the locales. The chapters are logical, the recipes easy to read and follow, with chatty but not overly familiar introductions. Some of the recipes were really too simple to be recipes for anyone other than a brand new cook, but at least any brand new cook won't be overwhelmed by this book.

The recipes I made -
Page 20 Goulash
This was OK. A little underwhelming, and I felt it needed something spice wise to liven it up.

Page 23 Taco Soup
H loved this one. I was a little less enamoured but her wanted more! I'll make again for him for sure.

Page 51 Nona's Chickpeas
I would have liked these a little saucier - maybe with some tomato added, but that is personal taste. They were good, but I do love chickpeas!

Page 93 Thai Mango Curry
In the introduction is states that this is based on a dish eaten in Maui. I don't think it captures anything Thai at all (and is no way an authentic Thai dish) and should have been left as a spicy Hawaiian influenced dish. Tasty but not Thai.

Page 127 Paella
Simple but nice, would have been good with artichoke hearts added in too. The picture shows carrots and beans which are not in the recipe.

Page 169 Bolognese Sauce
Loving mushrooms I had high hopes for this one, but it didn't really hit the spot for me. It was OK, just missing something which would have made it awesome. A dash of acid from Balsamic vinegar maybe?

Page 178 Cheater Pad Thai
Cheater being easy to make, and not really Pad Thai. The sauce is more of a peanut sauce, and pad thai may be garnished with peanuts but doesn't have peanut butter in the sauce. Tasted good, so was worth making, but it's not pad thai.

Page 237 Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
Interesting this one. Used in another recipe. I've never had a commercial vegan worcestershire sauce so can't comment on how it compares.

If you're a fat-free / low-fat eater then I'm sure you'll find a whole lot to love about this book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this honest review! I wish I had seen it before. I bought the book and I really don't like it. Like you said, it is nit really "around the world". The recipes are so uninspiring and not a single one is authentic. I'd rather use my other international cookbooks, use authentic recipes wirh authentic ingredients and just leave out the fat.