Saturday, 1 October 2011

Vegan MoFo 2001 #1: Welcome and 'The Vegan Cookbook'

It's the most wonderful time... of the year! Well, for some. For the vegan blogging world, it is certainly the most hectic. Vegan MoFo is here, the vegan month of food. Over 600 blogs are participating this year, all with the aim to post almost daily for the month of October about vegan food.

I did not take part last year, and the two years before that I did take part but didn't reach my hoped for posts. This year I am back in the ring and ready to take on the challenge!

I am having a theme for this MoFo, though it is kind of the theme of my blog. Each post I will be reviewing one of my cookbooks, as well as posting photos of some of my favourite meals and some recently cooked meals. Books will range from some of my older books, to the hot new things, to those books that have made the biggest difference in my cooking. I'll be going into more depth about the book itself than I usually do in my photo round-up posts, so looking at layout, writing style, recipe selections and things like that. I'd also love to hear from you about your favourite cookbooks - I am always on the look out for more!

Here are some of my cookbooks, the rest are scattered around in piles on other shelves and on tables. I am currently in negotiation for more shelves of this bookshelf for my books, given that I actually use my books so it is handy for me to have them neatly near the kitchen! Plus it is pretty to see them all together!

The Vegan Cookbook
Alan Wakerman and Gordon Baskerville, Faber and Faber, 1996

The Vegan Cookbook

I am kicking off MoFo with my first ever vegan cookbook. My parents gave me this for Christmas one year, I can't remember which year it was, but I think maybe 1999. I was definitely still in Wagga. It was pretty exciting to be in possession of a completely vegan cookbook, I think this was even before I was fully vegan!

The book is a simple paperback. No photos. Chapters include Soups, Startes, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Salads, Desserts, Sauces and Dressings, Spreads, Baking, The Alternative Dairy, and Miscellaneous Recipes, as well as appendices on vegan nutrition, reasons for veganism, glossary of ingredients and others. Recipes in chapters are arranged in order of quicker/cheaper/simpler (for everyday use) and slower/dearer/more elaborate (for special occasions). The recipes are easy to read, and include both metric and imperial measurements as well as a nutritional breakdown, serving sizes and preparation time.

Although I have had this book the longest, when I first got it my cooking bug hadn't fully bitten yet, so I haven't cooked extensively from it. The recipes are, for the most part, quite appealing. It is definitely a cookbook of its era (it was first published in 1986, and there is are several recipes for vegetable flavoured jellies and mousses). I do find that the recipes trend towards the bland/dry side, so mix things up to your preferences. It was my first introduction to making loafs, vegan baking, breads, cream substitutes and other things that we now just whip up without a moments thought.

This book introduced two very important recipes to me.

Rum And Cointreau Truffles

Rum Truffles
I still make this recipe almost every Christmas, I love them! Though I find it doesn't have a strong enough rum flavour, so I add a few more slugs. Warning: the alcohol is NOT cooked out of these! I have also made a fun variation where I switch out the raisins and rum for dates and Cointreau. Really, you can make all sorts of fun stuff!

Rum and Chocolate Cheesecake
My first ever vegan cheesecake, this was before the days of vegan cream cheese. Tofu is the base, but the flavours of the chocolate and rum mean there is no soy taste. I made this when I was living in my uni house, and everyone loved it. Though, funny story, the only rum we had at the time was OP Rum... Hooooo heeeee! That made for one super rummy cake! Alas no photos, this was long before the days of my digital camera!

I don't have many photos from this book, but I will share a couple of soups I have made recently (I still pull this book out every now and then for old times sake).

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup
This is super quick to make, and has a strong tomato flavour. However, I found it lacked a depth of flavour compared to other tomato soups I have made.

Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup
Nice enough, but a little bland.

Sorry I don't have more exciting photos! I am very fond of this book for sentimental reasons, and I find some of the recipes kind of amusing (I will make those jellies one day!). I don't think it has the same sort of iconic nostalgic value as some other older cookbooks (none of which I have, but which I read about on people's blogs... Tofu Cookery?).

What was your first vegan cookbook?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sleeping Dim Sim

Kitty photos are back! Here is Dim Sim's sweet sleeping face.


  1. ohh would love to know the rum ball recipe?

  2. Happy MoFo! I like your theme, and that rum & chocolate cheesecake sounds AWESOME!

    My first vegan cookbook was Vegan with a Vengeance... it definitely has a special place in my heart!

  3. Hehe, those old school recipe books are so lacking in aesthetics.

    But look at your collection!

    My first vegan cookbook was How It All Vegan. I don't use it at all any more, but I still cook one of my favourite quickie lunches which is based on one of the recipes from it.

  4. YAY!
    I have total cook book envy and Dim Sim LOVE!!!
    Happy MoFo'ing buddy

  5. Happy MoFo! My first vegan cookbook was How It All Vegan and 9 years later!

  6. I haven't ever heard of that book! But the rum balls look yummy. I think my first vegan cookbook was VCTOTW or Vegan Recipes for Health & Happiness :)

  7. Hooray! Another Aussie MoFo :)
    My first Vegan cookbook was actually photocopies of Vegan with a Vengeance from my local library. I'm only just starting my library really.