Wednesday 16 September 2009

Heidi Swanson's "Super Natural Cooking"

So any of you who were concerned that I had to make my own birthday cake, don't worry - I was well spoiled this year! Vegan leather jacket and boots, tickets to Nick Cave AND 2 new cookbooks - Heidi Swanson's "Super Natural Cooking" and finally, "Vegan Brunch".

Well, regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of Heidi's website, 101 Cookbooks, having made several dishes from there and loving every one. Truthfully, I've made way more too, but couldn't blog them all risking this site turning into a copy! I've wanted her cookbook for ages and am so glad I finally got it. Lots of recipes in here that are not on her website and the whole book is simply gorgeous! It is vegetarian, not vegan but it really does not matter. Most things are vegan or very easily vegan adaptable, ie -just don't put the parm on top! Only in the back where there are baking recipes is it more tricky but us vegan's can easily move around that :)

I immediately got started making anything that appealed to me in this book and have LOVED everything. It's all so healthy and natural too, no faux anything and I direction I will enjoy going. I will post a few pictures of things that I have made with any notes on changes etc. but no recipes here as they are from a cookbook (sorry!) but really, I cannot recommend this book enough!

Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans"Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans"

This is one of those dishes that might not look too pretty but OMG what it lacks in photogenics it makes up for in taste! I got this book not even a week ago and have made this 3 times already. It's hands down one of our favorite meals. I used dried cannellini beans which are, after soaking and cooked with onions, garlic and fresh thyme, pan fried till crispy on the outside and soft and creamy in the middle. I added fried portabello mushrooms and more fresh thyme, felt it was calling out for mushrooms! Her recipe called for swiss chard but I used kale as I almost always have that in the house. It is so, so good, I like to salt this one until just about 'too much' - naughty but works well :)

Spring Minestrone with brown rice"Spring Minestrone with brown rice"

I have a confession to make - I've never made my own vegetable stock. Shocking I know, well, until now that is! This recipe, also featured on the cover, called for homemade veg stock, I immediately thought, well, I'll just use marigold, but when I read her version only took 1/2 hour and looked dead easy thought I would use it. Well, it's not only easy but sooo good, and so much healthier than others having about like half the sodium. This was delicious, really fresh and light (although hearty!) and I will make it again and again. The stock has proved invaluable in my fridge as well, so handy to throw into this and that, in fact I added some to the bean dish above last night to help with dryness.

Peanut Butter Krispie Treats"Peanut Butter Krispie Treats"

You gotta love a healthy treat - I have always loved rice krispie squares, the traditional ones with marshmallow but these were just as good. The ingredients are simply organic brown rice cereal, natural peanut butter, maple syrup and agar agar. I will make these again for sure, in the photo there you'll see some with chopped pistachios on top. She recently featured this recipe on her website and added the pistachios, I wasn't sure so made them all plain and just added some on top to taste. Well, both my husband and I loved them in there and next time I will definitly add them throughout the squares.

Recipe is here .

Big Curry Noodle Pot"Big Curry Noodle Pot"

Now really I've probably made so many changes to this one I could morally post the recipe but as all the taste is in the broth (which I haven't changed) I won't. Loved this, originally it called for tofu, which I love but am cutting soy out of my diet, plus my husband hates tofu so it works well for us. Changed that with chick peas as they always go nice in curries. Once you have cooked onion and chickpeas, or tofu, in the creamy turmeric curry coconut milk sauce you stir in the brown rice udon noodles and top it all off with peanuts, cilantro and shallots. Now I hate cilantro so added parsley the first time which didn't go, husband loved the peanuts and shallots but I wasn't too keen on the texture of having peanuts in a soup. So this time I omitted all that and stirred in some baby spinach until just wilted. Loved that in there!

Altogether have loved everything I have made in this book and can't wait to have a crack at 'Vegan Brunch'!!!!!


  1. Nice one. I have Vegan Brunch and have been eyeing Heid's book, but have not got it becasue I thought most of it would be on her website, but you have convinced me otherwise. so this too will be on my birthday wish list.

    Bring on the other dishes you made, can't wait to drool over them.

  2. Sounds like you got some fantastic b'day pressies!

    I want to make those rice krispie treats and the curry noodle dish too.


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