Book Review | Vicky Goes Veg … green, fresh and exciting – and a copy to giveaway

‘Going green has never been so deliciously exciting. Bon Apetit…’
Farhan Akhtar

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes VegRoasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad from Vicky Goes Veg. Everything about the book is colourful, fresh, exciting, full of flavour and vegetarian of course! It’s an exciting new book by Chef Vicky Ratnani and holds a LOT of promise. Vegetarianism is no longer considered ‘second food. Slowly but surely vegetarian centric cookbooks are appearing on bookshelves, grabbing eyeballs as they do so!Vicky Goes Veg @ The Palms, GurgaonWe were hosted by Harper Collins & Nachiketa at the lush and beautiful ‘The Palms‘, Gurgaon for the book launch. Vicky Ratnani has infectious energy, is animated and absolutely passionate about food. I was fortunate to meet him in Jan last year at a tea & food pairing session, and it certainly was a pleasure to meet him again.Vicky Goes Veg, The Palms,.Gurgaon

Vicky Goes Veg He held fort by the poolside under the blazing setting sun, which shouldn’t have been quite so blazing in Mid March … but was! Sporting that he is, he didn’t blink an eyelid, no complaints nothing. He was there well before the guests began to arrive and after a short delay {thanks to the TV crew}, he fired up!

Eggplant & Bok Choy in Sambal, Vicky Goes VegSauteing, chatting, sharing tips and trivia and a load of his passion, he held the attention of the select audience. As he stirred up magic, we were served the same from the kitchen alongside. The flavours blew us away! Who wants to eat non vegetarian food if vegetarian food can be so exciting. Not me!! The Braised Plantain with Thai spices was out of the world good, as was the Eggplant & Bok choy in sambal.

Local produceI love the energy throughout the book. It entices you to ‘try’ something different. I also love that Vicky has stuck to the concept of  sourcing local produce, something that makes the locavore in me do a merry dance. The photographs that liberally colour the pages are a journey of the food chain in India including the merchants and the local bazaars.

Carrots,beets, home grown 2Vicky is often seen arm in arm with the guys who matter … yes, those who grow, deliver and sell local produce. It’s refreshing to see so much space dedicated to the local sabziwala i.e. vegetable vendors. The recipes in the book are unique, hail from across the world but come with an Indian twist, all green and fresh!

Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes Veg The good thing is that Vicky encourages you to think out of the box, constantly innovate and evolve. He offers his book as a stepping stone for new ideas in vegetarian cooking, and tells you to be fearless. If you don’t have this, use that. There’s plenty of trivia tucked within that makes the book even more interesting. One downside is that the number of portions or ‘servings’ aren’t specified.
Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad, Vicky Goes Veg So I set off to make the Roasted Red Bell Pepper & Broccoli Salad.  Of course, my heart followed his advice and my recipe meandered off as I was short on time. I didn’t blend the dressing, only whisked it. Substituted apricots for walnuts, simplified the dressing a bit. I also made Stromboli from the book which disappeared too quick!

If you’d like to win a copy of the book, VICKY GOES VEG, please leave a comment below telling me which your favourite vegetarian dish from across the globe is. Please be sure to leave a valid email address so I can contact you. This giveaway is open to residents of India, or anyone with an Indian mailing address. {Giveaway sponsored by Harper Collins}

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

No Bake | Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse … delicious eggless dessert in season #vegetarian

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse … yes, it’s that time of the year yet again. SPRING! I love it. It’s euphoria all around with new leaves unfurling everyday, flowering tomato plants that hold promise of a ‘good crop’, herbs that finally begin to expand like there’s no tomorrow. Also days when quark gets made beautifully and with ease!Spring And if there is homemade quark on hand, can dessert be far behind? I make huge amounts of quark, a curd cheese I love to love. Ever since I first discovered it 5 years ago, thanks to Hoglet K from Down Under, it has brought about a change in the way I think ‘desserts‘.Quark dessertsQuark isn’t just the sweet way home. I use it often to add wonderful tangy flavour to chicken like in theis Chicken Quark Cross Over Puff Pastry, as part of creamy dressings, in cold potato salads, in stir fries etc. A little goes a long way and once you start exploring, you will find a billion novel ways to include it in your everyday food. 

Chicken Quark Crossover Puff PastryI made Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse just before we left for a short vacation {which might explain why it’s been so quiet around PAB}. The mousse was addictive and a huge hit with everyone. It got added texture from some chocolate coated homemade granola which I was experimenting with.

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse I love the way the colours, textures and flavours came together in this dessert which is a celebration of spring. These days we have a virtual flood of seasonal fruit in the market with cape gooseberries {locally called ‘rhasbhari’ meaning filled with juice} and strawberries ruling the roost. It’s a riot of colour with the fruit piled up high at local bazaars and on handcarts lining the roadside.

Strawberry & Cape Gooseberry Quark Mousse With daytime highs already hitting the early 30′s, it’s just a matter of days before summer arrives. Then of course we’ll welcome days of luscious stone fruit; sizzling hot 45C+ temperatures will be part of the deal though! Until then, this is a great way to enjoy spring fruit.

Summer Salad with orange vinaigrette You can go the salad route too with them! Rocket or mixed salad greens, strawberries, cape gooseberries, feta or cottage cheese, grapes, walnuts, orange, red onion all tossed in a nice tangy orange vinaigrette!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

No Bake | Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding … indulgent, addictive and gluten free. Eggless too!

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.”
Erica Bauermeister

Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding {GF Eggless} Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding turned out bowl scraping good. It was just an experiment. The result was deeply, soul satisfying, smooth and beautiful texture; quite delightful for an eggless chocolate pudding. Using oats meant that it was gluten free too! Did I mention I put in some whole kumquats too? They added delightful citrus undertones! Hazelnuts and kumquatsLife has been busy as usual with annual exams on and the kids hungry ALL THE TIME! It’s a wonder they ever get anything else done because IMHO they are always eating! It’s also a wonder I get anything done at all because I am always in the kitchen.

Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding {GF Eggless} Chocolate is one thing that needs to be on hand all the time. Chocolate everyday, and the savoury nibbles too. Store bought anything is a huge NO with the daughter, so I am BUSY!! It’s a double edged sword though. I love being in the kitchen, I get to experiment {read LOTS} …  yet on the other hand  I have time for nothing else!

Whole foodI’ve been diving into bags of oats of late. When it’s not oats, it’s amaranth flour, peanut flour, walnut meal and barley flour. Adds new dimensions to what you can do … and often what you cannot too! In a larger perspective, it helps you push your boundaries, something which I currently enjoy! The failures are there of course.

Hazelnuts & Vintage NutcrackerSo the pudding was meant to be just a chocolate pudding, but then along came Ruchira visiting from Islamabad. Among bagfuls of exciting stuff, she also brought hazelnuts. That was inspiration enough. Suddenly a Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding made more sense! Kumquats because they are in season and hanging heavy on the branches of my tiny tree!

HazelnutsThe rest of the day just went in trying to save the pudding from the ‘forever hungry for dessert at anytime of the day‘ kids, and attempting to shoot the brown in a nice way. Well, brown isn’t easy to shoot! I tried!

Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding {GF Eggless} The Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding turned out heavenly good. Fuss free to make and eggless. I used oats instead of cornflour to thicken it and that paid off well. The texture was smooth yet had some viscosity maybe from the kumquats or possibly cooked oats.

Dark Chocolate Nutella Kumquat Pudding {GF Eggless} Everything about it was delightful. Scraping the bowl {or rather pottery mug} the lad asked several times if he could have more. “I can eat this forever,” he declared … and I rolled up my eyes! Thats how good it was!

Don’t miss a post Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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