Remember how I said that there was such an influx of great new cookbooks that it was hard to keep up with them all?
Alex Nieminen and Riikka Sukula have set the bar so high with their newly released tome Vege!, however, that I can’t see it being replaced in my kitchen – at least not anytime soon. I’ve been looking for a hearty vegetarian cookbook for a while now, one with only vegetarian recipes, so as not to have to go about modifying meat recipes only realize you’ve created an entirely new one.
A friend was given a copy of the book at the launch party, and my enthusiasm for it was tepid at best; even the pictures looked somehow all too ordinary. I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge! A week later, I browsed through my friend’s book again – slowly and carefully. First of all, I realized I loved the pictures. Haven’t I always fantasized about a summer in the Italian countryside, where I could set the table for a feast of delicacies made with fresh ingredients, sitting under a lemon tree and enjoying the food until sundown? Secondly, my stomach was growling with hunger as I pored over the recipes. They aren’t exactly the kind of day-to-day food that keeps me feeling healthy, but rather what I consider soul food: simple and filling meals from fresh ingredients, easily thrown together at home. The kinds of meals even a carnivore would love. Not a single recipe features tofu, soy products, or other processed oddities; only fresh, pure, and ordinary ingredients.
I was so inspired by the book that I ordered a review copy of it the very next day. The day after that, I made falafels. I didn’t get around to photographing them – they we’re too good. I did snap a picture of those scrumptious lumps for my Instagram account, however.
Today I made Sunday soul food: creamy chanterelle, tomato, and chili pasta. After I finish this post, I intend to curl up under a blanket and, purring with contentment, mainline Netflix. These recipes would please just about anyone and I intend to make my way through them all, from cover to cover. As test-tasters I will use my friends, or whoever happens to ring my doorbell.
Vege is the perfect vegetarian cookbook, just the kind that’s been missing from the market. I hope this book finds its way to the kitchens of as many (even meat eating) Finns as possible.
Have you checked out Vege yet?
Photos Katja Kokko
Translation Katja Nikula