Book review: Great British Vegan, by Aimee Ryan

14 January 2021 by
Book review: Great British Vegan, by Aimee Ryan

Veganuary may not be at the top of every chef's mind this month, with many kitchens limited to takeaway or delivery, or closed altogether. But it cannot be ignored that more customers than ever are exploring meat-free options or going fully vegan, and operators need to cater to this growing demographic, even when they are able to reopen and Veganuary is over. For those looking to explore new techniques, get creative in their own kitchens and expand their repertoire, now could be the time to finally give vegan a go if it is a dark area in your skillset.

Great British Vegan is written by recipe developer, writer and photographer Aimee Ryan, who is also behind the vegan Wallflower Kitchen blog. The book offers 80 classic British dishes turned vegan, such as breakfast sandwiches, crumpets, shepherd's pie and Victoria sponge.

This book could be a good place to start for a pub chef looking to offer vegan alternatives to British classics rather than making drastic changes to a menu.

Recipes include Coronation chickpea salad, a Lancashire hotpot using jackfruit and oyster mushrooms, and, of course, a lentil loaf and a squash nut roast. Meanwhile, the back of the book contains easy-to-follow instructions on how to turn coconut milk into an alternative for condensed milk or whipped cream, and how to whip aquafaba into royal icing, for instance.

Separated into breakfasts; soups and salads; weeknight dinners; sweets, puddings and desserts; and British bakes, there are also chapters dedicated to veganising the Sunday roast, festive feasts, pub grub and the classic afternoon tea, none of which are complicated or include unrecognisable ingredients for even amateur cooks.

The best British dishes are simple and unfussy, full of comfort and nostalgia, and Great British Vegan rightfully recognises this and approaches recipes in the same vein. Ryan ensures that these familiar dishes lose none of their warmth or heart, but simply become more inclusive for those with dietary requirements or preferences.

Great British Vegan, by Aimee Ryan (White Lion Publishing, £20)

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