Jackie Kearney’s Vegan Mock Meat Revolution seemed like a welcome addition to my already heaving cookery book shelf – you’ll see I often opt for meat alternatives while eating out, but I very rarely dabble with them when cooking at home. It’s a very different recipe book from most of those that I own, and I was keen to dive in and try some of the meal ideas out.
Welcomed by a novice like me, the book begins with some handy basic recipes for ‘bacon’, ‘chicken’, ‘ham’ and the like, as well as covering store cupboard ingredient’s you’ll want to hand before getting stuck in. There’s a very short and sweet introduction (which I tend to prefer), then it’s straight into the recipes. The bulk of the book is split out into sections:
- Asian street food
- Faux fish
- Fast food favourites
- Comfort food classics
It’s a fairly eclectic mix, and I promise that any ‘meaty’ meal you ever wished you could veganise is probably featured among its pages. I really liked the fact that while the book contains a number of more involved recipes requiring more specialist ingredients, there are also a handful which you could throw together in a pinch with stuff you probably have in your cupboards. The book leans towards the side of ‘processed’ foods, as you’d expect from a book promising mock meat, but there are also plenty of recipes using more natural, unprocessed ingredients like chickpeas, courgette, and jackfruit. We were inspired to try a few out – check out how we got on!
Masala chickpea scramble
A delicious, filling and comforting brunch dish, one I’d happily make again and is a decent replacement for a weekend plate of scrambled eggs. It’s a really interesting recipe, different from most of the other scrambles out there that I’ve seen, in that it involves mixing a baba ganoush style mixture with your mashed chickpeas and heating through. There’s nothing in the ingredients to make this taste eggy, but the spice mix makes it delicious. I made masala-spiced sautéed potatoes and garlicky wilted spinach alongside it as the recipe recommends. The meal kept me full for hours, just as a proper brunch should.
We’re not strangers to a homemade ‘fush’ and chips, having tried it out a couple of times already, but I really recommend this recipe for people who haven’t given it a go before. The addition of a little turmeric to the batter for that classic chip shop style look is simple but brilliant. All weekday recipes should be able to fit onto one page in my opinion, and this one ticks all the boxes, being straightforward but still making you feel pretty accomplished once you’ve finished the cooking. We’ve never bothered making tartare sauce before but in the spirit of the recipe we gave it a go and that also adds a really nice touch – I’ll be making this always in future. Served with minty mushy peas, it was a complete treat.
This recipe fits all on one page too – but the ingredients list is longer than the instructions! We absolutely love bao buns so despite various fiascos trying to make bread in the past, I just had to give these a go. PSA – don’t bother to attempt this if you don’t have a proper steamer. My makeshift steamer using a colander didn’t quite work out right. However, the buns were still edible and I’m pretty confident that had I followed the simple recipe to the letter, we would’ve had fluffy, pillowy bread. The recipe uses jackfruit, but neither Jamie or I are huge fans, so we swapped it out for oyster mushrooms instead. The sauce is sticky, decadent, and delicious – and despite the long ingredients list putting me off a bit initially, you can throw all the ingredients in together and mix in a matter of seconds. Loved trying something a bit different and fancy, and would like to try these again once I’ve invested in the proper kit.
The three recipes we’ve tried during lockdown gave us a good feel for the cookbook, but flicking through there are many I want to give a go – including finally facing my fears and trying homemade seitan! How do you feel about mock meats? I know there can be some mixed opinions. Would love to hear from you in the comments.
This cookbook was gifted to me by the publishers Ryland Peters & Small; this write-up is my honest opinion of the book.