Book Review: The Global Vegetarian Kitchen

When The Global Vegetarian Kitchen recipe book by Troth Wells landed on my doormat I was rather eager to see what East European inspired dishes would be included.  While Eastern Europe is not renowned for its tolerance of vegetarianism there are plenty of renowned vegetarian dishes from the region.  I was rather pleased to see that of more than 100 recipes, Wells has included some East European delights in this latest book promoting vegetarianism.

The first recipe to grab my attention was the Turkish Thick Lentil Soup on page 58.  With onion, garlic, red lentils, cumin and chilli, this is a version of lentil soup which I particularly enjoyed at breakfast while in Istanbul.  This is my ideal of heaven on cold, winter days.

Rather more excitingly was the Turkish Moussaka recipe on page 108.  I would personally normally associate Moussaka with Greece but apparently this version is spelt musakka in Turkish which derives from the Arabic for chilled.

Yet another one of my favourites can be found on page 110: Mushroom Stroganoff.  The beef is substituted with chestnut mushrooms.

The ‘Swooning Imam’ or aubergine bake on page 138 particularly caught my eye.  Using onion, peppers, cumin, coriander, tomatoes and parsley, these stuffed aubergines look fantastic. It’s no wonder the Imam fainted at the taste!

For those with a sweet tooth the Russian Gramma cake featured on page 228 looks to be particularly pleasing and is complete with old family recipe (is there anything better than that?).

Of course the book also contains fabulous recipes from all over the world: America, India, The Orient etc.  This is quite possibly my favourite cookery book to hit the shelves this year.

The Global Vegetarian Kitchen
Published by New Internationalist
Author: Troth Wells
ISBN: 9781906523381
Publication date: October 2010
Price: £20.00
Available from and all good bookshops

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14th Vegetarian Festival in Budapest

Vegetarian Festival BudapestOn the 28th and 29th of August The Health Foundation will hold its 14th Annual Vegetarian Festival in Budapest.  From 10 am to 6 pm the Pataky Cultural Center (1105 Budapest, Szent László tér 7-14.) will be a hub of activity and celebrations.  As ever the focus will be on how important a good diet is, particularly how a vegetarian or vegan diet can be beneficial for those with health problems.  Presentations will aim to educate on the topics of lifestyle, health and allergies.

For more information (currently only available in Hungarian) visit the festival site

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Central European Stuffed Mushrooms with Spinach

This makes an ideal starter because you can easily prepare the mushrooms and just finish off under the grill to serve to your guests.  Alternatively, they make a great lunchtime or supper snack for the peckish among you.  Also, this dish makes a great vegetarian dish if you omit the bacon and perhaps include some chopped chestnuts or meat substitute if you so desire.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Stuffed Mushrooms

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St Petersburg Restaurant Recommendations

There are three restaurants I recommend to anyone visiting St Petersburg.  The first is Yolki Palki (Nevsky Prospekt 88, metro Mayakovskaya), a typically kitsch restaurant (now a chain), where the waiting staff are dressed up in costumes and the walls are adorned with everything from fake vines to the heads of animals.  OK, this place might sound like your worse nightmare but it’s good fun and produces some reasonable quality food which is also relatively reasonably priced, a rarity in this chic and cosmopolitan city.  Yolki Palki will give you a taste of provincial Russian cooking and does not adhere to the airs and graces many restaurants attempting to emulate a European vibe will.  The Kalinky pancakes with stuffed meat, or alternatively with salmon, make for great hearty dishes, perfect after a days sightseeing.  Even more of a rarity in Russian and Eastern Europe as a whole, is that this restaurant actually offers some great vegetarian options.

Yolki Palki
Yolki Palki

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