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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

The magnificent book of vegetables by Alice Hart

Encouraging you to eat a rainbow every day with over 80 vegetarian recipes, is the promise of this book; and it does so – loudly, proudly, and tastefully in every way. As the introduction notes: “This book is a proud celebration of vegetables with their rainbows and riots of colours, arranged according to the seasons, to provide inspiration to increase your daily intake of veg [sic] in the most delicious ways.”

The cover itself is a delicious riot of colour. Beautifully designed with oranges, pinks, yellows, greens and golds. The gold lettering augments the 70s vibe and lifts it to new heights; and that tasteful promise continues inside, on parchment pages illustrated with gorgeous graphics and photos.

As a corollary, I love the layout and simplicity of the seasonal contents page across a double page spread which allows the potential variety of vegetable and vegan options to speak for themselves. And I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I do like a cookbook arranged to inspire seasonal (therefore local and affordable) options which are easier on transport miles.

There are far too many inspiring options to choose from to name just a few but some standouts for me are the recipes for Popcorn Cauliflower which I have aspired to nail for myself after first trying it some years ago at Good George on the wharf in Paihia. I also love the spring option for the Vietnamese Omelette Breakfast Salad and its near neighbour which includes a recipe for carrot hummus. This summer, I’ll also try the intriguing Greek-inspired cucumber, watermelon and olive salad with baked feta. Doesn’t that make your mouth water?

For those readers hoping to be inspired to eat less meat, and to sub in some more vegetables, without sacrificing flavour or nutrition, I love Hart’s notes for the colours and the graph which shows in an easy-to-read graph what the vegetable rainbow actually means in terms of nutrition. Think bright green for anti-oxidants, Vitamins K, A and C; vitamins A and C, plus potassium, in the yellow/orange range; or move along to purple violet for anthocyanin and carotenoids etc.

Finally, as a further nod to the designer, I am absolutely enamoured of the gorgeous graphics Susan Le has created which add a stunning flourish to an overall splendid book.

Reviewer: Peta Stavelli

Allen and Unwin


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