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Terre â Terre – Book review

15 January 2010

Terre à Terre: The Vegetarian Cookbook
By Amanda Powley with Philip Taylor (photography by Lisa Barber)
Absolute Press, £20
ISBN: 9781906650049

The image of vegetarian food being dull, grey gruel has long gone, but still too often the veggie option on a menu is restricted to a salad, risotto or omelette.

But TerreàTerre, the first book from Amanda Powely and Philip Taylor, owners and chefs of the Brighton restaurant of the same name, has taken vegetarian cuisine to a new level.

Possibly the most exciting recipe book of the year, it's not so much a vegetarian cookbook as a cookbook that just happens not to use meat and is a reflection of the ethos of their restaurant since its inception in 1993.

Flicking through the pages, it's hard to remember this is vegetarian cookery - the creativity and innovation, all presented with a slight tongue-in-cheek irreverence, are inspirational judged on any cheffing level.

Dishes include creations such as Between the Sheets - lasagne with goat's cheese, salsa verde, seared cherry tomatoes with courgette noodle tangle and cheese fritters; Fancy Nancy - fried coconut spiced rice with peanuts, spring onions chilli-sizzled shallots and beansprout egg foo yung; and Send my Regards to Broadway - lemon pickle, broad bean and mint millefeuille served with asparagus, broad bean and fennel salad with seared cherry tomatoes.

The recipes also take in ingredients from around the world. Powley and Taylor readily admit: "We have been prolific culinary globetrotters with magpie gathering tendencies".

But this only serves to make the book richer, with dishes such as Miso Pretty - reverse-rolled ginger sushi in Szechwan dust, served with cashew and coriander salad, roast yellow pepper and miso dressing, tamari and lime glaze and hot and sour tea; or a dessert of Thai One On - deep-fried lime rice ice-cream with hot palm Szechwan pepper pineapple and mango and lemon grass cooler.

A description of this book wouldn't be complete without a nod to Lisa Barber's photos - characteristically vibrant and good enough to eat, they bring to life dishes that would otherwise be hard to visualise and could entice even the most committed carnivore.

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