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This is indeed a rather interesting and useful recipe book. It is like a savory travel around the world, as many of the recipes originate from different countries (explained in a mini-introduction to each recipe), which I think is somewhat mystical! I have backpacked all over, and this book is nostalgic to me. The measurements of ingredients and temperatures are given in different systems (e.g. cups and grams), which is of great help since it allows you to be versatile. There are also some extra tips or variations to most of the recipes, so you can adjust to your own preferences.
However, there are no desserts. You get soups, quiches, casseroles, breads, crackers, and whatnot.... But no recipes for the sweet tooth. That I find a pity. If you want to experience foreign, curious sweets, you have to look elsewhere. Also, be aware that this is not a vegan cookbook.
Overall, I doubt you will be disappointed in this cookbook.
This book is probably a good thing for every vegetarian to have on their shelf. It covers a lot of base, both in terms of types of recipes, number of recipes, and different cuisines. As the title suggests, it contains 500 recipes, which makes it a great staple cookbook, but sometimes a little overwhelming. Unlike a lot of vegetarian cookbooks, most of the ingredients are pretty accessible, even if you don't live somewhere with exotic grocery stores. Most of the recipes I've tried have been great; my favourites are the mushroom and okra curry, the french onion soup, the North African spiced soup, and the Polenta with Mushroom Sauce (the polenta takes forever, but the sauce is such a nice classic sauce). My least favourite is the cassoulet, I don't know if I made a mistake somewhere, but it was the worst thing I've ever made, dry and flavourless. I think you could probably be using this book for 10 years and not make everything in it, which is great for adding variety in your diet. While many recipes contain eggs or cheese, it's also got plenty for vegan cooks. Some cons about the book are that it's a little impersonal (I like my cookbooks to have a little whimsical character), and some of the ingredients lists can seem so long that it's a little off-putting. In the interest of health, they have purposely not included desserts, but they make up for it with a good bread-making section. Overall a great all-purpose book.
I am not going to use this review to speak in favour of being a vegetarian, although I am one, many of the people closest to me are not, and I can see the merits of being a veggie or a meat eater. This book however is an excellent example of showing that veggie food can be very tasty and exciting for all, and can at times be enjoyed by even the most passionate meat eater.
As the title suggests it contains 500 recipes covering a wide range of meals. These include a section on starters with traditional dishes such as French onion soup, tomato and basil soup to more exotic and unusual recipes such as Jerusalem artichoke soup, vegetable terrine with brandy and one of my favs spring onion and ricotta fritters.
There are indeed a range of meals including classic vegetarian dishes, to hot and spicy dishes and low fat options. One of the best things about this book is that the steps are very simple to follow and there are never more than five or six steps involved, so it is always very simple to follow. You are also told at the start of every recipe how many people it serves, however it would be useful if you were told how long the recipe took to cook, so you could see which dishes you have time for straight away without having to read the details.
There is also an excellent section on how to make basics such as tomato sauce and mayonnaise, alongside various breads and pizza doughs many of which I have tried and are excellent. I have obviously not attempted to make every meal, but I have tired very many and the large proportion turn out very well indeed. My personal favourite so far is the spinach and walnut lasagne, and the pizza dough and recipes are also excellent. A small problem is that there are no deserts in this book, most obviously because most deserts are veggie anyway, but this is not always the case by any means and this would have complemented and rounded the book off nicely I feel
As I have tried to highlight then, this book could be enjoyed by veggie and meat eaters alike, and no doubt many of the recipes could be adapted to contain meat, although this may defeat the purpose somewhat, and with so many recipes on offer, you are bound to find several things that take your fancy,