Kerstin Rodgers is a celebrated food writer and chef, who’s attributed to launching supper club/pop-up scene in the UK back in 2009. Known by her moniker, MsMarmiteLover, she shares her food experiences, recipes and stories from all over the globe. Last year, she published a vegan cookbook in the UK called V Is for Vegan. Now released this year in the US, this cookbook delivers on world flavors with insights with an interesting spin…Kerstin isn’t vegan.
Now now! Before anyone goes on a culinary witchhunt, understand that a book like this is pretty major! Kerstin IS vegetarian and has written this book not just for vegans to up their cookery skills. It’s a book for everyone, whether you’re looking to cut your meat and dairy intake, are vegetarian looking to transition or just want some new recipes to try.
What Kerstin has put together is not only a cookbook; it’s a resource. In the very beginning of her book, she outlines what being vegan means. While I don’t agree that vegan cooking is harder rather than being different (but I get what she’s saying), she provides an understanding of what veganism is and the impacts of today’s western diet (not just the Standard American Diet) on the food system. I also appreciate that she notes the global influences and openness that comes with vegan cooking. She answers many common & basic questions people have about going vegan. With that knowledge, readers can take their first step in connecting with the concept/philosophy of a vegan lifestyle.
Now let’s talk about the food, because that’s why we buy cookbooks, right? While Kerstin noted that vegan cooking is harder, her recipes are pretty simple. The recipe titles and accompanying photos may sound and look intimidating, but it’s really all about how you put these dishes together. In fact, I’ll take book on how to plate vegan food beautifully from Kerstin herself (Next book? PLEASE!), because these dishes are so drool-worthy from her colorful melange of hummus recipes to the Chocolate Smoky Tofu Mole Tacos with Grilled Calcots (see recipe below)
The only question we have for Kerstin is… “So, when are YOU going to go vegan?”
We actually are quite honored to review this cookbook, and even moreso that Kerstin is allowing us to share one of the recipes from V Is for Vegan: Chocolate Smoky Tofu Mole Tacos with Grilled Calcots! Looks beautiful, right?
- 2½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Generous 2 oz [60 g] vegan dark chocolate
- 8¾ oz [350 g] whole tomatoes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- 2 dried ancho chilies
- 2 dried chipotle chilies
- 2 Tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
- 1¾ cups [170 g] blanched or ground almonds
- 2 Tbsp strong agave nectar
- 14 oz [400 g] firm smoked tofu, drained and cut into 1-in [2.5-cm] cubes
- 1 pack of calçots, young leeks or scallions, trimmed
- 14 corn tortillas
- Sea salt
- Slices of avocado
- A fistful of alfalfa sprouts
- Sprigs of cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft, then add the chocolate, tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon, and allspice. Cook slowly over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the chilies.
- Meanwhile, split all the dried chilies and discard the seeds, then briefly toast the chilies in a dry skillet until soft. Place in a 1 pint [½ L] heatproof pitcher with the vegetable bouillon powder. Fill up the pitcher with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Put the almonds, the chili and stock mixture, the cooked sauce, agave nectar, and 1 Tbsp salt in a powerful blender. Starting on a low speed, process together, increasing the speed as you go, until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a deep, wide skillet.
- Add the tofu cubes to the sauce and poach until the tofu expands slightly and the sauce is bubbling but not boiling.
- In the meantime, roast the calçots, young leeks, or scallions in a dry skillet or directly over a flame, turning them, until soft and slightly blackened around the edges (this makes them sweet).
- To serve, place some of the tofu pieces and the chocolate mole in the tacos and fold so that the opening is upwards. Tuck in a leek or scallion and a few avocado slices. Top with alfalfa sprouts, the calçots, and cilantro. Season with salt and squeeze over some lime juice.
- Recipe posted with permission from the publisher, Quadrille.
Want to make some gorgeously delicious yet easy to make recipes by MsMarmiteLover herself? Enter for a chance to win a copy of V Is for Vegan right now! (U.S. residents only – SORRY!)
Winner to be announced on #VeganFoodChat on Sunday, April 24, 2016, happening at 8pm ET/5pm PT!