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~ Why I Bought It ~
I came across this book on amazon while browsing through their vegetarian cookbooks. It sounded like a really good book and it was quite cheap so I decided to buy it. It is aimed at vegetarian students however I am not actually either of those things but nevertheless I have found it to be an excellent book.
~ Price ~
I paid just under £5 for this book and the retail price is £6.99. I think that this is really good value as the book is packed full of delicious, easy recipes and I have already cooked ten or so of the recipes in the space of about a month!
~ My Opinion ~
Me and my fiancé decided at the beginning on this year to start doing mealtless Mondays, where obviously we don't eat any fish or meat on Mondays. At first this was easy as I already knew a couple of veggie recipes but after a while I found my self bored with the same old food, so I decided to have a look at veggie cook books.
This is one of the books that I decided to buy and I have to say that it is my favourite as all of the recipes can be made on quite a low budget and all of the food in the recipes is easily found in supermarkets so there's no searching around for exotic ingredients! The book is absolutely packed full of information too and it is really well written and easy to follow. I actually found my self reading through it as I would a story book as it was so easy to follow and all of the recipes are really yummy sounding.
As well as recipes it also has quite a lengthy introduction which goes into ways to save money, how to go about living with carnivores and it also has a lengthy list of must have kitchen utensils, a list of cupboard basics and a lot more things. It also has a preparation page which has information on how to prepare certain foods including onions and vegetables. Now I found this a little bizarre but then again I have been cooking for several years so this part of the book is definitely aimed at people who are learning to cook for themselves for the very first time.
One particular part of the book that I found interesting was the 'read the label' section which tells you which foods can contain animal derived ingredients without you actually realising and it even warns that toothpaste can sometimes contain glycerine. As I'm not actually a veggie this didn't bother me but I found it interesting to know. The book also has a section on kitchen hygiene which personally I found to be quite patronising and basic but again, this part is probably aimed at people who are learning to cook for the first time.
I also really like the section which tells you the food groups and the vegetarian friendly foods that are in that food group - I found this really interesting and it gave me ideas for meals while reading it. It tells you which foods to eat to get certain vitamins and iron too. There's also a menu planner which just has a list of different meals under 'breakfast' 'dinner' 'lunch' etc headings and then the page number which has the recipe for that certain meal.
The recipes themselves are in different sections including: breakfasts, soups and salads, cheap eats, Italian food, oriental food, cakes, sweet treats, cocktails, fruit juices/smoothies and so on. Each recipe has its own page and the steps are very easy to follow and the ingredients list is written clearly with the measurements/amounts needed clearly written. Unfortunately there are no pictures which is the only disadvantage - it'd be nice to see how the meal should look once made, but this isn't really that much of a disadvantage.
I have cooked several meals from this book (around ten!) and they've all been absolutely delicious. One of my favourites is definitely the spicy bean burgers which are soooo filling! All of the food in this book (minus most of the desserts obviously!!) is very healthy and full of vitamins and fibre while still being filling and not tasting like rabbit food. It is obviously not diet food but a lot of the recipes can be adjusted a little to make them even more healthier.
~ All in All ~
A great value, well laid out book but its a shame there are no pictures of the food. I am going to give the book five out of five stars though due to the wide range of recipes and it is a very informative book with plenty of information that someone who is a vegetarian or transitioning to be a vegetarian would find helpful to know.
Before University my mum bought me this cook book and I have been using it ever since. Although I eat meat sometimes when out I mainly cook vegetarian and so this has been like a bible.
The best part of this book is that everything is back to basics, even if you dont know how to cook an egg it explains it all. It is divided into sections including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, deserts and the most important parts - Smoothies and cocktails.
The cocktail section of the book mixed with the smoothie recipes has provided many evenings of cheap entertainment using my blender and all the ingredients are easily found in your local supermarket.
I have tried pretty much every main meal recipe and the way that each one is set out makes it extremely easy to follow. On one side of the page is the ingredients and how much you need of each thing, to the side of that is the list of instructions with no complicated cooking vocabulary, just stating exactly what you need to do. Even the worst chef cannot go wrong!
The book is a lovely pink and green colour with the colours continuing throughout the book, it is very easy to read big print and can be propped up in the kitchen so you can refer back to it. It isnt a hard back and the pages just fall to the side now as I have used it so much.
I think at the time it cost £9.99 but it is at least 5 years old now and so you may be able to find it on amazon for a lot cheaper. If you are going to university or even if you are a really bad cook and want to learn some tasty but easy recipes then buy this book!
I got this cook book a couple of months ago and I was really excited about getting it. Having been a vegetarian for 6 years and being a student at university I thought it would give me some cheap easy recipes that I could fit in with my busy lifestyle. It isn't too expensive so I don't regret adding it to my cookbook collection but it is definitely not one of the best. I found it too basic, which in a way is what I was looking for but I felt there just was no imagination in the choice of recipes and the general structure and look of the book. On a positive note, the recipes included are really clear and easy to follow. The book is separated in different sections which includes sections such as soups and salads, sweet treats and meals for mates. You can tell the book is directed to students but I just feel it's a little too basic. Another thing which I dislike as well is that there are no pictures. It's a slight disappointment because you don't really know what your food is supposed to look like.
The Vegetarian Student Cookbook is from the Hamlyn stable of cookbooks which if you have read my previous reviews; you will know I am a big fan of. Essentially, they produce reasonably priced no frills cookbooks (and by no frills I mean that they do not have any photographs), but with highly cookable recipes which are not overly complicated but still packed full of flavour and highly satisfying.
This book is 250 pages long and features over 200 vegetarian recipes which the blurb describes as being 'quick, cheap and tasty'.
The book itself is well made. It has a glossy but flexible cover. The pages are quite smooth and are largely quite resistant of stains and splashes if caught early enough. The spine is also flexible which makes it easy to bend back and cook from.
There is a 12 page introduction. This contains various sections - to start with ones giving specific information to students, including a section entertainingly named - 'living with carnivores!' Then onto basic sets of equipment and a list of 'store cupboard essentials.' Next onto 'preparations' which lists some staple ingredients and how to prepare them best for cooking.
Next there is guidance on how to accurately pinpoint which foodstuffs are actually vegetarian/pescetarian rather than those that only appear to be - ie cutting through the jargon and misleading information. Following this there s a small section on kitchen hygiene to ensure the risk of food poisoning is kept to minimum. Next there is some basic nutritional information detailing all the major food groups and how to keep them all at optimum level. Following this are menu planners which are split into the following sections - lazy breakfast, lunch on the move, converting the carnivores (!) and brain food - each section contains a short list of indicative recipes and their page numbers just as a starter.
Then we get into the recipes good and proper. The recipes are generally one to a page. Each idea has a short introduction with suggest some simple variations that can be made. There are bold circles going down the side of each recipe which clearly indicate preparation time, cooking time, the number that the suggested ingredient quantities will feed as well as some key words to sum up the recipe - eg tangy, mates, fun, snack, juicy, beer, fills, telly and so on....
The first section - Brilliant Breakfast features recipes such as the following - all variations on basic breakfast eggs including omelettes and Benedict, Rarebit, Boston Baked Beans, French toast, various muffins, granola, banana porridge, muesli etc as well as various recipes for energy bars that can be prepared in advance.
Following this are 'soups and salads' - one of my favourite sections as I am a bit of a soup fiend. Examples are: oven-baked vegetable soup, carrot and ginger soup, mushroom, butternut squash, and curried lentils. The salads are surprisingly substantial: potato salad, three bean pasta salad, curried butter bean etc.
Next is 'Cheap Eats' - satisfying but not extortionately priced main meals/larger lunchtime ideas, mainly focussed around carbohydrates - eg roasted vegetable baguette, fajitas, black bean chilli, spicy bean burgers (a personal favourite), spiced root vegetables (very useful), falafels, chickpea and mushroom bangers, baked potatoes, cheese straws. There are also accompaniments such as hummus (a keeper!), garlic, herb and bean pate, salsa and guacamole.
The 'Viva Italia' section as you can probably imagine is based on traditional Italian cooking, albeit catering for an audience which does not have masses of money and time. Examples are pizzas, various well flavoured pasta dishes including linguine and spaghetti - particular favourites are penne with vodka, tomato and cream and lentil Bolognese (very versatile and useful) as well as vegetable lasagne, stripy macaroni cheese and various risottos.
The next section - Orient Express gets its inspiration from Asian cuisine. This varies from Chinese - spicy coconut milk noodles (indulgent and flavoursome comfort food), stir fried vegetables with cashews etc; to Indian with a wide variety of spicy and versatile curries - lentil and rice pilaf (which I absolutely adore and is really simple and effective), vegetable curry (another favourite), simple vegetable biryani, mixed bean curry (probably my most repeated from this book), sweet potato and spinach curry, potato curry, onion bhajis etc.
Next we come to the 'meals for mates' section which produces main meals with the added bonus of being maybe slightly more impressive without being overly complex - eg red pepper and bean cakes, couscous with grilled vegetables (also great in a packed lunch), roasted vegetable and feta tart, bean and beer casserole (really great in the coldest months!), bean tagine, Spanish vegetable stew, vegetarian hotpot, various bakes, crumbly nut roast (firmly on my to-do list), fondues (including beer and onion!).
Next we come to 'sweet treats' otherwise known as desserts. These include fresh fruit salad, treacle sponge, various crumbles, rice pudding, bread and butter pudding, tiramisu, sweet pies and fondues. Immediately after this we come to 'brilliant baking' - with recipes for scones, fairy cakes, basic Victoria sponges and fruit cakes, muffins, biscuits, cookies and flapjacks.
Following this we have a perennial student favourite section - cocktails. This includes classic Pimms, Bellini, kir, martini, mojito, Irish coffee and eggnog! After all that indulgence, we quite fittingly come to the last chapter - beat the hangover which details various simple and nutritious juices which can be made for those in need of a detox!
I have a lot of recipe books, and I mean A LOT. However, this is without a doubt one of my favourites, and actually one of my most essential ones. As you can see the recipes contained within are varied, not dull and I can vouch that the many that I have tried have been absolutely delicious and really good and easy to prepare for myself and my husband after a long day at work. Whilst some recipes require a variety of fresh vegetable, there are a great number which can be made with a well stocked store cupboard of tinned pulses and vegetables.
The curries are particularly great and especially good when you consider that you can get a lot of meals out of your ingredients, particularly after purchasing your basic herbs and spices. The sweets sections are a bit more lightweight than the savoury ones but that is fine really because I would not imagine that its target audience really want to spend hours baking on a regular basis - yet provides all the basic recipes for baking that you are really going to need at this level.
I will just say though, that I am neither a student or a vegetarian, yet I see this as a fantastic book for just about everyone, not least because most of the ideas are so nutritious. There are enough ideas here for several weeks' worth of main meals without repeating yourself. The recipes that I have tried have been accurate in their portions size and timings and easy to follow. A lot of them are also good to make extra of and have cold for a packed lunch or a picnic.
In conclusion, I absolutely love this book and at such a reasonable price - I really do not think that you can go far wrong with this!
My sister bought this cookbook whilst a student at university. The strange thing was that she didn't move out and never ventured into the kitchen, instead relying on mum's home cooking! I remember her picking this up in Borders and saying "the recipes in here are so simple, I will definately be making some of these!" 4 years later she hadn't attempted a single one! I'm not surprised really - her idea of cooking is putting some frozen chips in the oven!!
During a clear out of her room she asked if I wanted the book and as I'm always pottering about in the kitchen I thought I'd give it a go.
The book is quite small. Around 20x20cm with a distinctive front cover - hot pink and lime green! If you stare at it too much it actually hurts your eyes. The front cover also has a series of circles each with a word in it to describe the recipes in the book. Some of these are: "simple, budget, tasty, cheap and fab".
Inside the front cover
As this book is aimed at students who are venturing away from home and having to fend for themselves for the first time there are a few pages at the front of the book giving some handy pointers on how to deal with budgeting, how often to shop, sharing a house with other students, some of whom will be meat eaters and basics on kitchen hygiene. There are also a couple of pages on what constitutes a balanced diet.
The recipes are split into various sections. These include:
- brilliant breakfasts
starting with the blindingly simple boiled eggs on toast and gradually getting more complex with recipes such as herb omelette with mustard and mushrooms and chocolate orange muffins.
-soups and salads such as tomato soup and potato salad. The tomato soup recipe made me laugh as it literally takes a can of ready made tomato soup and makes some additions to this! Can't go wrong really!
-cheap eats ranging from artichoke pittas to black bean chilli
-viva italia. A range of pasta recipes - a student staple!
-orient express. A variety of indian, chinese and thai inspired recipes.
-meals for mates. Great for sharing with a group of friends. Recipes include roasted veg and feta tart and baked stuffed butternut squash.
-sweet treats and brilliant baking. Crumbles, bread and butter pudding and scones to name a few!
- A guide to making cocktails. I suspect this will be the most used section!
Each recipe takes up one side of the page. The pink and green theme is continued inside the book. On each page there is a green bar in which the ingredients are listed and then the recipe is on a white background with hot-pink writing. Each recipe has a maximum of 5 steps and is increadibly easy to follow. There are also pink and white circles on each page showing the prep time, the cooking time and how many people each recipe will serve.
What I thought
I think this book is ideal for students and those that are taking their first steps in the kitchen. The recipes are imaginative, healthy and many are certainly a million miles away from beans on toast! They are also simple to follow and use everyday, easy to find ingredients and nothing fancy as it is aimed at students on a budget. In fact, given the current economic climate I'd say this book would be a useful addition to most kitchens!
We've tried many recipes from this book including pasta with aubergines and pine nuts, vegetable lasagne, baked butternut squash and stuffed peppers to name a few. All have worked well first time and have been very tasty. The only downside to this book is that there are no pictures so you don't really know what you're aiming for. This isn't too much of a problem though and I guess most students wouldn't be too bothered about the lack of pictures.
The book is priced at £6.99 but is available for around £5 in most bookshops. Overall thumbs up!