I want this life. It is very beautiful.Â From the wraps secured with greaseproof paper and black string to the wooden table laid in the garden where there are no flies, the cherries in the white bowl seem far from wilting and you can tell there was no stress involved in carting it all from whatever perfect barn it came from.
The book is the result of an apparently successful blog authored by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl who with their daughter Elsa live in Stockholm. Â And the blog too, is very beautiful. But this is a recipe book, 256 pages of high production values, matt paper (of course) and lots of recipes. Â What of the recipes? I lusted after the Beetroot, Apple and Goatâ€™s cheese wraps; the Flour-free Banana and Coconut Pancakes; the Hazelnut, Aubergine and Mushroom parcels and the Courgette Noodles with Marinated Mushrooms. Â It all looked so beautiful.
The wraps I made were not as picture perfect as these (I couldnâ€™t find even my white string) but like a lot of vegetarian food there was a lot of making to produce the wrap. Â The Quinoa, Cauliflower and Ramsons (wild garlic) were really yummy and did look just like the picture, or they would have if Iâ€™d the time or inclination to stack six of them on top of each other. Â As for the flour free pancakes (banana mainly), these too, were a winner with us all (we are a family of four).Â (See what you think by following their recipe below).
I was less impressed by the family main courses, not because there was anything inherently wrong with the recipes, more that they were too often incomplete. Â The Courgette noodles with marinated mushrooms were pleasant, but not â€˜enoughâ€™. Â Ditto the Hazelnut, Aubergine and Mushroom Parcels. Â I suppose you could say this about meat or fish main courses, often there is an assumption youâ€™ll add starch and maybe a vegetable to the protein but this is a constant refrain about vegetarian cooking. Â It is so much work!
Would I buy this book? Itâ€™s full of welcome twists on old favourites, intriguing flavour combinations and a real sense of adventure (broccoli pesto anyone?). Â A good addition to the shelves and an inspiration to us non-vegetarians to at least occasionally put the vegetables in our lives to the fore.
Flour-Free Banana & Coconut Pancakes extracted from The Green Kitchen published byÂ Hardie Grant Books
You will need:
- 3 ripe bananas
- 6 eggs, lightly beaten
- 50 g (2 oz/Â½ cup) desiccated coconut, plus extra for sprinkling
- 150 g (5 oz/1 cup) blueberries (fresh or thawed if frozen)
- Â½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp coconut oil, for frying
- 2 tbsp of maple syrup or plain
- yoghurt, for topping (optional)
Makes 10 pancakes
These pancakes are nothing less than a family classic. We always prepare a large stack of them when we make brunch. We have been making them for years and shared the recipe with most of our relatives and friends. And from what we have heard, they have passed the recipe on to their friends. The pancakes have a lovely fruity flavour and are easy and quick to make. What is also great is that they only call for very few ingredients, are completely flour-free and still very thick and rich. They also make a quick snack anytime of day, and a perfect post-workout meal.
Mash the bananas with a fork. Place in a medium-sized bowl and whisk together with the eggs and coconut. Add the blueberries (reserve a few for serving) and stir well.
Heat the coconut oil in a 25 cm (10 in) non-stick frying pan over aÂ medium heat.Â Add two to three tablespoons of batter for each pancake. You should be able to fit 3 to 4 pancakes in at a time. Use a spatula to carefully flip the pancakes when they have set and the bottom is golden â€“ about 2 minutes on the first side and 1 minute on the other.
Stack the pancakes and top with the reserved blueberries. On weekends we like to drizzle ours with maple syrup or yoghurt and sprinkle with a little extra coconut.