During long quarantine days with not much to do, I’ve found myself watching a lot of vegan cooking videos on YouTube, Rachel Ama’s being one of the channels I spent a good while viewing. Being a cookbook addict, and much preferring to have the recipe written down, I decided to invest in Rachel’s book so I could recreate some of her delicious looking dishes myself.
I’m such an all or nothing person that I couldn’t help myself following half a dozen recipes from the book within the first week of it arriving. Luckily there are seven main sections in Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats to keep our meals interesting:
- Breakfast and Brunch
- Lunch and Light Bites
- Sides, Sauces and Dips
- Smoothies, Juices and Hot Drinks
- Basics and Essentials
I flipped to the back of the book first, to check out those essential recommendations. Rachel has included lots of really helpful information here, particularly for new vegans, such as various egg replacements, instructions for making your own plant-based milks, a glossary for some of those less well-known ingredients, and then just a generally handy to have conversion chart for if you prefer to use imperial measurements.
The introduction is kept short, but Rachel shares her journey to veganism and her desire to “continue to eat all the flavours and meals that I used to love”, which is exactly how I like to approach food too! She also points out the other feature that I really love about the book – some of the recipes are accompanied by suggested songs to get dancing to in the kitchen. Such a great concept and makes the book that bit more interactive.
On to the food! I began my journey in the breakfasts and brunch section. There are loads of eye-catching dishes in here, from pancakes to pastries, smoothie bowls to sandwiches. My eyes were drawn to the One-pan Breakfast (p37), as I’m definitely a savoury person, and I don’t have a dishwasher, so it generally sounded ideal. A comforting plate of crispy fried potatoes, mushrooms, sweet tomatoes and spinach was the perfect start to the day.
Following Rachel’s easy chickpea chuna recipe (p150) was a breeze, and of all the times I’ve made this fish replacement, this is the recipe I’ll be coming back to. I used it to treat us to the Chuna Ciabatta Melts (p67) from the lunches section of the book, pairing with Tesco’s mature vegan ‘cheddar’ for a warm, crisp, and comforting sandwich. The rest of the lunches have a focus on fresh, vibrant veggies, and I’m looking forward to discovering some new flavour combinations from the ideas on these pages.
For dinner, the Caribbean Channa (p124) was genuinely one of the tastiest curries I’ve ever made, and it’s going to be placed right there in our regular meal rotation now. The Caribbean twist on the Indian staple was so yummy – though sadly we couldn’t get hold of plantain for the fried plantain side, and I’m looking forward to trying that in the future when we can. I also made the Beefless Stew (p129) which you can find on Rachel’s YouTube too. I used King Oyster mushrooms, half sliced, half shredded. The rich flavours in this dish were incredible! The ultimate warming bowl of comfort food, and again so easy to make.
Lastly in the puddings section, again there were so many recipes that I’m looking forward to trying, many that are pretty indulgent and would do great for a special occasion. As most of us seem to be feeling during lockdown, I’m really enjoying baking, so I decided to whip up the Spiced Ginger Cake (p215). As vegan baking goes, it was a really straightforward recipe to follow, and came out perfectly. It wasn’t too sweet, and I loved the combination of warming spices. As the recipe states, ‘it’s hard to stop going back for more’.
All of the recipes I tried out from Rachel Ama’s Vegan Eats so far are very clearly written and easy to follow, using generally readily available ingredients, which is nice when so many vegan cookbooks can get a bit complicated. Most (though not all) of the recipes have beautiful, bright and bold photographs. There really is an explosion of different cuisines in this book, for whatever type of food you fancy that night. I’d recommend getting your hands on it and giving them a go!