Mini Reviews: The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook & The Colorful Kitchen

First things first: I love cookbooks. I love looking through them, I love the colourful pictures and I love being inspired by them. But I find reviewing them strangely difficult unless I absolutely adored them. Which is why today I am posting two mini reviews. I received both of these cookbooks curtesy of NetGalley and BenBella Books in exchange for an honest review. Given that BenBella has published my all time favourite cookbook I was very excited to be able to review these books. BenBella cookbooks are always extraordinarily well published with amazing pictures and an overall brilliant look.

The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook by Victoria Moran & JL Fields

34196232I requested this mainly off the beautiful, stunning cover. As usual with BenBella, the book is wonderfully designed with wonderful pictures and brilliant layout.

The recipes are written by lots of different cooks and as such there will be something for everybody in here; but this also means that there will be recipes that do not appeal.

I maybe should have taken the title more seriously – because this is indeed more of book for people just starting out with both cooking and eating vegan. While I usually eat vegetarian, I often cook vegan as well and as such I am not really in need of indepth explanations. I still think the little tips (“coaching corner”) added throughout the book are going to be helpful for people trying to ease into a vegan lifestyle and I can see this being popular with a different customer.

Find it on Amazon (US).

The Colorful Kitchen by Ilene Godofsky Moreno

36027489This book is, simply put, stunning. The pictures are vibrant and made me want to immediately cook many of the recipes. This is a book I want to own.

There is something for everybody in here, I am sure. The recipes are easily replicated and you don’t need to hunt down rare ingredients. Still, Ilene Godosky Moreno combines ingredients in a way I find highly original and appealing. It is the kind of non-fuss vegan food that I adore.

One other thing that I like is how she breaks down the time needed to prepare the dishes into “total time” and “active time”. This makes planning so much easier and gives me an estimate on how my kitchen will look afterwards (that always depends on whether I can clean while I cook or not).

PS: I find the current obsession with kale slightly bemusing. In Germany we call it “Grünkohl” and it is such a staple that I cannot get over how hyped it is elsewhere (if that makes sense).

Find it on Amazon (US).

Cookbooks #1

I love love love cooking. It is one of my favourite things to do and I think I am reasonable good at it. My partner is a very good sport and tries all the recipes I want to try. To be fair, we have a very similar taste, so that definitely helps.

The last few months I have tried two different cookbooks, both I got from NetGalley to review in exchange for an honest review.

Sheet Pan Suppers – Raquel Pelzel

Published by Workman Publishing Company, October 2017

Verdict: Beautifully done, but not for me.

Find it on Amazon.

I love the idea of this: all types of recipes, to be done on a sheet pan. The book is divided into eight sections:

1 – Bits, Bites and Snacks
2 – Soups and Salads
3 – Veggies with a side of Vegetables
4 – Grain Bowls and Beyond
5 – Beans and Legumes
6 – Pasta, Bread and Pizza
7 – Breakfasts and Brunches
8 – Desserts

Now, quite a few of those things I would not have thought to prepare on a sheet pan; and I love this. I love being challenged and I like trying new things. So that was definitely fun. However, there were not many recipes that really spoke to me; I also found it to get  bit gimmicky after a while. Still, like I said, beautifully done and I think a different kind of cook might really get a kick out of this.

The Vegan Cookbook – Adele McConnell

Published by Nourish, September 2017

Verdict: Intriguing and tasty.

Find it on Amazon.

I enjoyed this one a whole lot. I thought the pictures were absolutely stunning (always an important factor when it comes to cookbooks!) and there were so many recipes I tried. The ones I did try were great. I especially loved the soups and I am looking forward to cooking more of those in the next few months (who does not love soups in the autumn and winter?).

I also like that Adele McConnell clearly labels which recipes are soy-free, lactose-free, and so on, as I have friends with food allergies and this helps with the selection a lot.

Overall, it is a great vegan cookbook with recipes I am sure non-vegans would enjoy and I am definitely going to buy it sometime soon.

 

 

Look what came in the post

This week I broke down and bought some books although I am on a self-imposed book buying ban. I have too many unread books already and quite a few NetGalley arcs to get to – but sometimes you still have to buy some books! So, here they are, first the ones that I haven’t read yet and then the ones I had arcs for and wanted to own to look pretty on my shelves.

City of Blades (The Divine Cities #2) – Robert Jackson Bennet

28436115The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it’s little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who’s gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers countless threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?

This one is the reason why I bought books in the first place this week. I absolutely adored the first book in this series – City of Stairs – and just had to know how the story continues. And then the book arrived late. And then I started a different fantasy book already. And now it is smiling at me from my night stand and testing my resolve. I am beyond excited to get started with this.

City of Miracles (The Divine Cities #3) – Robert Jackson Bennet

31522139Revenge. It’s something Sigrud je Harkvaldsson is very, very good at. Maybe the only thing.

So when he learns that his oldest friend and ally, former Prime Minister Shara Komayd, has been assassinated, he knows exactly what to do and that no mortal force can stop him from meting out the suffering Shara’s killers deserve.

Yet as Sigrud pursues his quarry with his customary terrifying efficiency, he begins to fear that this battle is an unwinnable one. Because discovering the truth behind Shara’s death will require him to take up arms in a secret, decades-long war, face down an angry young god, and unravel the last mysteries of Bulikov, the city of miracles itself. And perhaps most daunting of all finally face the truth about his own cursed existence.

I am squinting very hard as to not read the synopsis I just pasted above. I do not want to spoil the second book for me. I am a bit annoyed at myself that I – again – managed to buy books in the same series in different editions but at the same time I don’t want to get too hung up about it because I try to still see whats inside the books as way more important than their covers.

Monstress Vol. 2: The Blood – Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda

33540347This is the second volume in the brilliant Monstress series. I adored the first book and had this one pre-ordered for months. I haven’t been reading that many graphic novels lately but want to remedy that. I love the artwork done by Sana Takeda and I adore how very feminist this work is at its core.

My review for the first volume can be found here.

 

 

 Bitch Planet Vol. 2: President Bitch – Kelly Sue DeConnick & Taki Soma

29972029A few years down the road in the wrong direction, a woman’s failure to comply with her patriarchal overlords results in exile to the meanest penal planet in the galaxy. But what happened on Earth that this new world order came to pass in the first place? Return to the grim corridors of Auxiliary Compliance Outpost #2, to uncover the first clues to the history of the world as we know it…and meet PRESIDENT BITCH.

Again, I am very excited to finally have this in my hands. I loved the first volume when I read it forever ago. Again, super feminist graphic novel, which is something I usually enjoy.

 

Stay with me – Ayobami Adebayo

31349579Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Me asks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of family.

This is one of the books I had an arc for but wanted to have for my shelf. I adored this book and was very pleased to see it short listed for the Bailey’s Prize for fiction, even if it ultimately did not win. You can find my gushing review here.

Little Nothing – Marisa Silver

29429934In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a child called Pavla is born to peasant parents. Her arrival, fervently anticipated and conceived in part by gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, stuns her parents and brings outrage and disgust from her community. Pavla has been born a dwarf, beautiful in face, but as the years pass, she grows no further than the edge of her crib. When her parents turn to the treatments of a local doctor and freak sideshow proprietor, his terrifying cure opens the floodgates persecution for Pavla. Little Nothing unfolds across a lifetime of unimaginable, magical transformation in and out of human form, as this outcast woman is hunted down and incarcerated for her desires, her body broken and her identity stripped away until her soul is strong enough to transcend all physical bounds. Woven throughout is the journey of Danilo, the young man entranced by Pavla, obsessed only with protecting her. Part allegory about the shifting nature of being, part subversive fairy tale of love in all its uncanny guises, Little Nothing spans the beginning of a new century, the disintegration of ancient superstitions and the adoption of industry and invention. With a cast of remarkable characters, a wholly shocking and original story, and extraordinary, page-turning prose, Silver delivers a novel of sheer electricity.

I adored this. It ticks all my boxes: lyrical writing, fantasical retelling, matter of fact story telling, wonderfully drawn characters. My review for this wonder of a book can be found here.

Blissful Basil – Ashley Melillo

29502542Experience the happiest side of life through beautiful, nourishing foods.

Ashley Melillo believes in enjoying a wide array of wholesome foods in order to thrive—physically, mentally, and emotionally. For her blog, Blissful Basil, she finds innovative ways to use plants for fun, flavorful dishes that keep her readers coming back. Her gorgeous debut cookbook brings brand-new recipes, plus a handful of signature dishes, from her kitchen to yours.

Blissful Basil focuses on bringing out the best flavors of whole foods and features more than 100 plant-based dishes that will delight vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike. What’s more, most of the recipes are free from gluten, soy, and refined sugars.

This is, hands down, the best cookbook I have ever seen, own, or tried recipes from. Since I had the pleasure to receive an arc for this, I have tried and loved many of the recipes here. Some becoming favourites of my partner and me. Especially the vegan Chili is absolutely to die for and has impressed many of our friends so far. You can find my review here.

I am so glad to finally own the book because it is even more beautiful this way. I adore the pictures accompanying the recipes and I cannot wait to try more dishes.