I have a whole shelf of cookbooks. Some have frayed pages, dotted with spots of oil and splashes of sauce or cake mix while others are almost pristine, as if they only joined the shelf yesterday. I have scoured the pages of these books, read through the recipes time and time again, and salivated over the photos but have yet to actually make anything from them.
Why, you ask?
Because some cookbooks are filled with amazing-looking recipes that happen to use exotic ingredients or ones that just aren’t staples in my kitchen, so they require forethought and planning; not my greatest strengths when it comes to cooking. I’m generally quite impulsive and cook whatever I’m in the mood for (or whatever my fridge and pantry inhabitants allow).
So when my housemates and I decided to have friends around for dinner and board games (because we’re cool like that), I jumped at the chance to ruffle the pages of a book I bought several months ago but hadn’t yet used: Prashad by Kaushy Patel, the cookbook from the Indian vegetarian restaurant of the same name.
It’s a gorgeous book; the kind you can while away the hours with, reading the back-stories and drooling over stunning photos. The design is beautiful with matte pages and full-colour photos, not just of the dishes but the family behind them, making it a much more personal experience. The recipes range from typical curries, rices and breads to more unique recipes like Fenugreek and Coriander Pancakes, Stuffed Colocasia Leaf Rolls, and an Avocado and Cardamom Milkshake.
We decided on the Aubergine and Potato Curry as it had a mild masala paste, which was a safe option when we weren’t sure of the heat tolerance of our guests and who doesn’t like potatoes?! After a trip to Sainsbury’s to stock up on asafoetida, which I’ve never used before (it smells horrendous on its own but seemed to blend in nicely to the curry!) and a few other less common spices, we cut up a tonne of vegetables, including butternut squash as our own recipe addition, and cooked up a colourful and aromatic curry that received compliments all ’round!
The cold weather has really hit London, so I wanted to make a warm dessert to follow the curry. As I had several green apples in the fruit bowl, I went for an apple crumble, using the Apple Streusel Pie recipe from my trusty Big Vegan cookbook. As I made it sans pastry, it was a relatively healthy vegan dessert that left the pie dish empty and everyone scraping their bowls! It was incredibly easy to make and happily I got to use the coconut oil that I bought at Vegfest for the tasty crumble topping. In all the excitement I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, which I’m kicking myself over but it looked (and smelt) pretty darn amazing!
Good food, good company and some intense rounds of Articulate, Cranium and Cards Against Humanity made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. And not one carnivorous guest lamented the fact that the entire meal was vegan. Success!