Table Manners by Jessie and Lennie Ware

Cover of Table Manners by Jessie Ware and Lennie Ware

What’s the USP? The hosts of the hugely popular Table Manners podcast bring together popular recipes from the series, alongside homespun family favourites and a smattering of traditional Jewish dishes.

Who are the authors? Jessie Ware is a critically-acclaimed pop star with four albums under her belt. Lennie is her mum – a joyful presence on the podcast, where the duo have celebrity guests over to dinner in their South London home. The podcast has had a regular presence on the charts since launching with guest Sam Smith in November 2017. Since then, they’ve hosted around ninety episodes, featuring pop stars, actors, politicians and plenty of famous food writers.

The show makes the most of Jessie and Lennie’s irresistible chemistry – the loving bickering between parent and child, their mutual reverence for home-cooked meals, and the occasional awkwardness that comes from having frank, relaxed conversations whilst your mother is present (a recent episode saw Aisling Bea explaining the difference between ‘doggy style’ and ‘dogging’ to an endearingly curious Lennie).

Is it good bedtime reading? There’s not quite enough here to call the Table Manners cookbook bedtime reading. There’s a relatively lengthy intro by Jessie (which has that distinctive writing style usually seen in celebrity biographies – easy to read, but informal and a little… ghostly) and a significantly briefer intro by Lennie (which is exactly as straight-forward and dryly sentimental as your own Mum’s occasional Whatsapp messages).

Beyond that, there are short chapter introductions from the duo, as well as brief descriptions ahead of each recipe, which Jessie and Lennie take turns to do. There’s no real depth or insight in most of these – at least, nothing that fans of the podcast won’t already have heard plenty of.  Curiously, then, for a celebrity cookbook, Table Manners real draw is the recipes themselves. Now that’s a pleasant surprise.

Why’s that, then? Because – and there’s a little generalising here, but bear with us – celebrity cookbooks are generally a bit crap. For the most part, they’re built around the cult of the celebrity themselves and, with so many celebrities living intensely regimented existences, the recipes tend to be basic, uninspiring and intensely worthy.

Pop star cookbooks in particular tend to be soulless collections of healthy bean stews and endless salads or, in the case of the curious sub-genre of cookbooks by rappers, big portions of American stodge. It’s rare to find a book that is filled with genuinely tempting recipes, foodie knowledge, and a true representation of the author’s personal food culture.

There have been, of course, a couple of exceptions to the rule. Action Bronson’s Fuck, That’s Delicious has been widely lauded, and Kelis (who happens to be Cordon Bleu trained) has, in My Life on a Plate, created a book that genuinely deserves a place on any bookshelf. But titles like these are few and far apart. That Table Manners might well deserve a spot alongside them is a decent feat.

What will I love? Though the two authors don’t really show their personalities off in their writing, they absolutely shine through their dishes. On the podcast, Lennie’s cooking, in particular, often sounds absolutely irresistible and it’s nice to see that come across here as well.

In keeping with the show’s premise you’d be proud to serve any of these dishes at a dinner party. Despite Lennie’s frequent hesitancy towards vegan cooking on the podcast, there are plenty of options for vegans and veggies alike throughout the book.

The highlight of the entire collection is a chapter dedicated to the Jewish dishes that have played a big part of family life over the years. Lennie’s chicken soup has found a cult following of its own since Table Manners started three years ago, and it’s showcased here alongside brisket, gefilte fish and the most alluring chopped liver I’ve ever seen.

What won’t I love? There’s not much to call this book out on. The crisp, bright design does have a distinct air of a ‘clean-living’ cookbook, but there’s no proselytizing here – in fact, though many of the recipes might fit the mould, you’d likely not even think about it if the design didn’t so frequently echo that of an Amelia Freer or a Hemsley title.

Should I buy it? Table Manners is a lovely collection of recipes – bright, delicious dishes that capture the heart and soul of the podcast and its stars. The excellent selection of Jewish recipes will offer many readers insight into a cuisine they might not have explored before. It isn’t a vital addition to any shelf – but it still has plenty to offer.

Review written by Stephen Rötzsch Thomas a Brighton-based writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @srotzschthomas.

Cuisine: European/Jewish
Suitable for: Beginners and confident home cooks
Cookbook Review Rating: Four stars

Buy this book
Table Manners: The Cookbook
£22, Ebury Press

Cook from this book
Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
‘Triple Threat’ Chocolate Brownies
Chicken Soup

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce by Jessie and Lennie Ware

045_Turkey_Meatballs

These are light as a feather and seem to invite a confession, like when my dear friend the singer/songwriter Sam Smith explained they thought Mexico was in Spain while we fed these beauties to them.

50g fresh white breadcrumbs
75ml whole milk
500g minced turkey thighs
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely grated
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 egg, beaten
40g pecorino or Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra to serve
2 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried oregano
about ¼ nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tsp fine salt
freshly ground black pepper

TOMATO SAUCE
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 heaped tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp paprika (mild or hot)
2 × 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 large handful of basil leaves
½–1 tsp caster sugar (optional)
salt and pepper

Serves 4–6

First, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or shallow casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion and a good pinch of salt and gently fry for 5–10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes, then stir in the tomato purée and paprika and cook for another 2 minutes.

Tip in the tomatoes and chopped basil, then gently simmer for 20 minutes. Taste to check the seasoning, adding salt, pepper and a little sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes if needed.

Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Place the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl and pour over the milk. Add the turkey, garlic, lemon zest, egg, cheese, oregano, nutmeg, salt and a good grinding of black pepper. Using your hands, gently combine, taking care not to overmix. With wet hands, gently shape the mixture into about 20 small–medium meatballs (about the size of golf balls – roughly 40g each and 5cm in diameter).

Gently drop the meatballs into the simmering sauce, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes, turning them after about 10 minutes and giving the pan a shake from time to time.

Remove the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve the meatballs with the basil leaves and a grating of pecorino or Parmesan.

Cook more from this book
‘Triple Threat’ Chocolate Brownies
Chicken soup

Read the Review

Buy this book
Table Manners: The Cookbook
£22, Ebury Press

‘Triple Threat’ Chocolate Brownies by Jessie and Lennie Ware

271_Brownie_1 cropped

People have requested this recipe the most after hearing about it in the Ed Sheeran episode. A triple shot of chocolatey goodness, my doctor brother Alex says that it’s more like a ‘triple threat’ to your cholesterol levels, but don’t let that stop you from making them.

Get creative! Add whatever you like to your brownie batter. Generous chunks of white, milk or dark chocolate will all work well, as will roughly broken-up Oreos or any other chocolate confectionery. I generally add three things to mine, hence the triple threat. Experiment. Ultimately, whatever you choose will be delicious. 7

These brownies are best if slightly undercooked, so they still retain their gooeyness. What you want is a brownie that gets stuck to your teeth when eating it.

Makes 9–18 (depending on levels of greediness)

200g unsalted butter, cubed
200g dark chocolate, chopped
3 large eggs
275g caster sugar
90g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
250–300g ingredients of your choice to add to the mix (white, dark or milk chocolate, chocolate biscuits, your favourite chocolate bar), chopped

Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 5. Line a 23cm square baking tin with baking parchment. Put the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and leave until they start to melt. Stir regularly, taking care not to burn the chocolate. Once completely melted, remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.

In a large bowl, using an electric whisk on high power, beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and almost doubled in volume. Add the cooled chocolate and butter mix and gently combine, using a figure-of-eight motion to fold the 2 mixtures into one another.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder together and then fold into the chocolate and egg mixture. Again, fold gently using a figure-of-eight motion until all is combined. It will appear dusty at first, but be patient and it will come together. Take care not to overdo the mixing: as soon as you cannot see any dusty flour mix, you are there.

Now add your extra ingredients and gently fold in, reserving a few to scatter over the top if you like. Transfer the mixture to the lined baking tin, levelling it out and pressing any reserved ingredients into the top of the mixture. Bake for around 35 minutes. The top should be just firm, but the middle should be slightly undercooked and gooey: it will continue to cook in the tin once removed from the oven. Leave the tin on a wire rack to cool before cutting into squares.

Cook more from this book
Chicken Soup
Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Read the Review

Buy this book
Table Manners: The Cookbook
£22, Ebury Press

No Sushi by Andrew Kojima

No Sushi

What’s the USP? Japanese food that goes beyond raw fish and rice, inspired by authentic recipes and experiences in Japan as interpreted by a UK chef and restaurateur. There are recipes for bao buns, udon noodles and karaage, but none of course for sushi.

Who is the author? Andrew Kojima is the chef and owner of Koj restaurant in Cheltenham. He was a finalist in the 2012 series of Masterchef and runs cookery classes. No Sushi is his first outing in print.

Is it good bedtime reading? It’s a genuinely entertaining and informative read. The first half of the book is dedicated to Kojima’s own story, from childhood to opening the restaurant, as well as some general background on Japanese cuisine and the chef’s own cooking style and culinary philosophy.  Recipe introductions are substantial and contain a lot of additional information and personal anecdotes. 

Will I have trouble finding the ingredients? You might need to go online or a specialist shop for a few things such as karashi (Japanese mustard), yuzu juice and bonito flakes but many supermarkets stock a decent range of the Japanese ingredients used in the book such as miso, mirin, bao buns and panko breadcrumbs.

What’s the faff factor? There is some fine slicing and shredding required but for the most part the recipes are short and enticingly simple.

How often will I cook from the book? Although this is a restaurant cookbook, the recipes are very achieveable and many of the recipe would be ideal for a mid-week meal or weekend snacks and treats.

Killer recipes:  Tamari almonds; panko cauliflower, yuzu pickled red onion, curry mayo; Koj Fried Chicken; miso marinated cod, bok choi, radish; chicken curry udon; ox heart meat balls, crispy leeks.

What will I love? Let’s face it, there are more than enough cookbooks on the planet already so if you’re going to write one, the only way to make it stand out from the crowd is to inject your personality into it. No Sushi has that in spades. From the utterly charming picture of the author as a baby with his late father to the anecdote about the day he proposed to his wife, Kojima lets the reader into his world. Once you learn that his mission to dispel the myth that there’s nothing more to Japanese food than sushi was inspired by his final conversation with his father, you are with him all the way, eager to try out the recipes and spread the word. The book looks great with plenty of images of the restaurant as well as some snapshots from Kojima’s family album. Very simply shot, the food is allowed to speak for itself, and it says, ‘I am delicious, eat me.’

What won’t I like so much? The book contains just 34 recipes (including 5 variations on bao buns although no full recipe for the actual bun is included) plus 9 cocktail recipes which is a fair few short of enough, especially for the £30 price tag. It’s frustrating, as the recipes that are included are terrific and another 50 or 60 of them would have been very welcome indeed. As a former Masterchef semi-finalist myself, I would have loved to have learned more about Kojima’s experiences on the show which is dealt with in a couple of paragraphs. 

Should I buy it? If you’re a regular at the restaurant, you’ll want to own a copy. If you’ve ever dreamed of opening your own restaurant, Kojima’s story will be inspiring. If you’re new to Japanese food, this is a great introduction. It’s just a shame there’s not more of it. 

Cuisine: Japanese
Suitable for: Beginners/Confident home cooks/Professional chefs
Cookbook Review Rating: Four Stars

Buy the book
No Sushi by Andrew Kojima
awaywithmedia, £30

Slow Roasted Peppers With Chilli, Lemon and Garlic Beans by Rukmini Iyer

Slow roasted peppers with chilli, lemon & garlic beans

My favourite dish when working in a restaurant kitchen was peperonata – red and yellow peppers softened down slowly in a frying pan along with oil, garlic and onions until they almost melted. It was, as many good things are, time-consuming to make, so I wondered if one might achieve a similar result with oven cooking – and the answer is yes. With garlicky beans, this dish is perfect piled on to rounds of thickly sliced toasted bread.

Serves: 4
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour

5 vine tomatoes, quartered
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 orange pepper, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
1⁄2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper

BEANS

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 clove of garlic, finely grated
1⁄2 teaspoon chilli flakes
1⁄2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 x 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1⁄2 lemon, zest only

TO SERVE

Rounds of thickly sliced,toasted bread

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas 6.

Tip the tomatoes, peppers, oil, herbs, salt and pepper into a roasting tin large enough to hold everything in one layer, mix well, then transfer to the oven and roast for 50 minutes. If after half an hour it looks as though the peppers are catching a bit too quickly, turn the heat down a fraction. Meanwhile, stir the extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes, salt, cannellini beans and lemon zest together in a bowl and set aside.

Once the peppers have had 50 minutes, stir through the beans, then turn the oven down to 160°C fan/180°C/gas 4 and cook for a further 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed, adding a little more olive oil if you wish, then remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs and serve piled on to toasted bread. This tastes even better the next day, so it’s well worth making in advance and reheating.

Extracted from: The Roasting Tin Around the World Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer (Square Peg) 14th May, £16.99 HBK Photography by David Loftus. Follow Rukmini on instagram @missminifer

Cook more from this book
Peach and Dulce De Leche Cake With Meringues and Cream
Slow-Cooked Pork Pibil With Pink Pickled Onions

Read the review

Buy this book
The Roasting Tin Around the World: Global One Dish Dinners
£16.99, Square Peg

Slow-cooked pork pibil with pink pickled onions by Rukmini Iyer

Pork Pibil

SLOW-COOKED PORK PIBIL WITH PINK PICKLED ONIONS

You may have had pork pibil at your favourite Mexican restaurant: it’s a classic Yucatán dish of pork, slow-cooked in achiote, a paste made from annatto seeds, from which the dish gets its lovely colour. Achiote paste is easily available online, and once you have it, this dish will be a staple in your repertoire – it’s so easy to put together.

Serves: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 3 hours

1 onion, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano (Mexican if you have it)
8 cloves
250ml orange juice (ideally freshly squeezed)
2 limes, juice only
50g achiote paste
2 teaspoons sea salt
800g free-range pork shoulder, diced

PICKLED ONIONS
1⁄2 red onion, very thinly sliced
1 lime, juice only

TO SERVE
Chopped fresh coriander
Tortillas and sour cream

Preheat the oven to 140°C fan/160°C/gas 2.
Tip the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, cloves, citrus juice, achiote paste and salt into a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.
In a small deep roasting tin or lidded casserole dish, mix the pork shoulder with the spice paste. Cover tightly with foil or the lid, then transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours.
Meanwhile, mix the very thinly sliced red onion with the lime juice and set aside for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. (The acid in the lime juice will turn the onions a beautiful bright pink by the time the pork is ready.)
Once cooked, remove the foil or lid and shred the pork while hot. Serve with the pink pickled onions, chopped coriander, warm tortillas and sour cream.
Note: This dish isn’t at all spicy, so it’s a good one for kids, and can be easily made ahead, frozen and defrosted in portions.

Extracted from: The Roasting Tin Around the World Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer (Square Peg) 14th May, £16.99 HBK Photography by David Loftus. Follow Rukmini on instagram @missminifer

Cook more from this book
Peach & Dulce De Leche Cake With Meringues and Cream
Slow Roasted Peppers With Chilli, Lemon and Garlic Beans

Read the review

Buy this book
The Roasting Tin Around the World: Global One Dish Dinners
£16.99, Square Peg

Peach and Dulce De Leche Cake with Meringues & Cream by Rukmini Iyer

Dulche-de-Leche-Cake

In Uruguay, the original version of this cake is known as chajá – layers of light, fluffy sponge soaked in peach syrup, whipped cream, dulce de leche, peach slices and crumbled meringue. My version incorporates the dulce de leche and fresh peaches into an olive oil cake – serve it warm out of the oven, with crème fraiche or lightly whipped cream alongside.

Serves: 8
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes

225g olive oil
225g dulce de leche (you can use tinned Nestlé caramel, sold next to the condensed milk)
50g caster sugar
4 free-range eggs
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 under- to just-ripe peaches, thinly sliced
TO SERVE
175g dulce de leche (this is the remaining caramel in the tin)
A handful of crushed shop-bought meringues
Crème fraîche or lightly whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 160°C fan/180°C/gas 4.
In a food processor or by hand, mix the olive oil and dulce de leche together with the sugar until well combined, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour and baking powder, then pour into a 26cm by 20cm roasting tin or cake dish.
Arrange the sliced peaches over the batter, then transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
Melt the remaining dulce de leche in a pan until smooth and pourable, then drizzle this over the warm cake. Scatter with a handful of crushed meringues, then serve with crème fraîche or lightly whipped cream alongside.
Notes: As this cake contains fresh fruit, if you are not eating it on the day you make it, store it in the fridge. I like to warm it up slice by slice in the microwave – 30 seconds on high.

Extracted from: The Roasting Tin Around the World Global One Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer (Square Peg) 14th May, £16.99 HBK Photography by David Loftus. Follow Rukmini on instagram @missminifer

Cook more from this book
Slow-Cooked Pork Pibil with Pink Pickled Onions
Slow Roasted Peppers With Chilli, Lemon and Garlic Beans

Read the review

Buy this book
The Roasting Tin Around the World: Global One Dish Dinners
£16.99, Square Peg

The Roasting Tin Around The World by Rukmini Iyer

Roasting Tin

What’s the USP? Globally-inspired dishes that can be put together within the happy confines of a roasting pan – ideal for the sort of person who would rather spend their Sunday afternoon planning their next holiday (whenever that might turn out to be) than up to their elbows in dirty dishes.

There have been a lot of these roasting tin books recently, haven’t there? Absolutely – and most of them have been by Rukmini Iyer. This is the fourth in her Roasting Tin series, which has had annual installments since debuting in 2017, selling over half a million copies in the process.

As well as Iyer’s books, the lure of the one-pan dinner has inspired several other cookbooks over the past few years, from Sue Quinn’s excellent Roasting Tray Magic to a forthcoming National Trust title. Even the Hairy Bikers have been drawn in, with last year’s One Pot Wonders.

So what makes this one stand out from the pack? Roasting Tin Around the World is a decidedly international take on the genre – though it’s fair to say the dishes are generally inspired by specific cuisines, rather than an authentic attempt to recreate the local dishes. Brazil, for instance, is represented by black beans and rice (spot on) with added avocado and radish, neither of which are common plate-fellows in the country. Not to start a riot, but the baked paella recipe absolutely features chorizo.

Iyer is pretty open about the dishes being her take on what is often little more than a loose idea of each nation’s favourite dishes. Like a supermarket ready meal, or Heinz’s frequent attempts to cash in on Britain’s burgeoning taste for international flavours, dishes are listed as ‘Cuban-style’ rather than ‘Cuban’. These dishes have been designed for accessibility, and Iyer seems to have that in mind on every page.

Will I have trouble finding the ingredients? Not at all – the major benefit of the book’s loose approach to each cuisine. The international flavours of each dish are generally summoned by the vegetables and protein rather than niche local ingredients. In fact, across the entire book there are, by my count, only half a dozen ingredients that you’d struggle to find in a big Asda. Given the range of nations and flavours on offer here, that’s something of an achievement.

What’s the faff factor? Unsurprisingly, it’s all tremendously easy. Iyer’s writing is unpretentious (ingredients lists might call for ‘pointy peppers’), and the joy of a roasting tin dish is, of course, the sheer ease of chucking everything in one place and watching it come together.

Will it make good bedtime reading? This is the one big failing of the book – besides a relatively unexciting introduction, there’s not much to sit down and read here. Recipe intros are short and practical – though bonus points for the repeated championing of Niki Segnit’s incredible Flavour Thesaurus.

Should I buy it? This all depends on what you’re looking for from your cookbooks. This is a fantastically practical entry point to international cooking – if you’re looking to expand your cooking repertoire on a weekday night, and have potentially fussy family members to worry about, this is the book for you.

If, however, you’ve already got a few international cookbooks on the shelf, some of these recipes might feel like a step backwards. Though the roasting tin angle does afford some functionality to the recipes, the truth is a basic understanding of cooking combined with any of the specialised ingredients you’ve picked up for other cookbooks, and you’ll like be able to knock up something equally delicious and potentially a little more authentic.

Cuisine: International
Suitable for: Beginners
Cookbook Review Rating: Three stars

Buy this book
The Roasting Tin Around the World: Global One Dish Dinners
£16.99, Square Peg

Review written by Stephen Rötzsch Thomas a Brighton-based writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @srotzschthomas.

Cook from this book

Slow Roasted Peppers With Chilli, Lemon and Garlic Beans by Rukmini Iyer
Slow-cooked pork pibil with pink pickled onions by Rukmini Iyer
Peach and Dulce De Leche Cake with Meringues & Cream by Rukmini Iyer

Rye Crostata with Peas and Asparagus

235 rye crostada

Gluten-free
Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus resting time
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Serves: 6 to 8

To enhance the flavor of the sesame seeds, toast them, covered, in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat until they start to crackle, then transfer to a plate and let cool. For a vegan version of the recipe, replace the egg yolks with a heaping tablespoon of millet flakes.

  • 1¾ cups (220 g) farro (emmer) flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • Scant ½ cup (50 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon brown flaxseeds (linseeds)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) plus 3½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, thinly sliced
  • 11/3 cups (200 g) shelled fresh peas
  • Scant 1 cup (200 ml) soy milk
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2½ tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • Salt and black pepper

In a food processor, combine the farro flour, all-purpose (plain) flour, sesame seeds, flaxseeds (linseeds), 3½ tablespoons of the olive oil, and a pinch of salt and process the mixture until crumbly. With the motor running, drizzle in 1/3 cup (75 ml) cold water and process until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap (cling film) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) with a rack in the lower third.

In the meantime, in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) oil over medium heat. Add the onions and asparagus and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peas and a scant ½ cup (100 ml) water and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle the vegetables with farro flour, drizzle in the milk, and stir.

Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce for 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the lemon zest. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool. Add the egg yolks and stir to combine.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out two-thirds of the dough into a 2 mm-thick sheet and transfer it to a 9-inch (22 cm) round baking pan. Fill the crust with the vegetable mixture. Roll the remaining dough into a thin sheet and cut it into ¾-inch-wide (1.5 cm) strips. Arrange the strips over the filling to form an open lattice. Press the lattice strips against the bottom crust to seal, then trim the excess dough around the edges.

Brush the lattice with a little water and sprinkle with the sunflower seeds. Bake the tart in the lower third of the oven for about 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Read the review

Buy this book
The Vegetarian Silver Spoon: Classic and Contemporary Italian Recipes (FOOD COOK)
£35, Phaidon

The Vegetarian Silver Spoon

Vegetarian Silver Spoon

Vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise in the UK. According to the shopping comparison website, finder.com, 12 million people claim they will be vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian by 2021. The Vegan Society say that the number of vegans quadrupled between 2014 and 2019 with 1.16% of the population (about 600,000) now living a vegan lifestyle. That’s a lot of home cooks and chefs on the look-out for something delicious and a bit more inventive than the ubiquitous mushroom risotto. With 200 Italian vegetarian recipes, many of them dairy free, gluten free or vegan (symbols identify which category or categories each recipe fits into, and there are lists for each category in the back of the book, making them quick and easy to find), The Vegetarian Silver Spoon is a godsend for anyone looking to expand their plant-based repertoire.

The book draws on the archives of The Silver Spoon, Italy’s bestselling cookbook first published in 1950, and also includes 150 new recipes developed by The Silver Spoon kitchen team. Divided into eight chapters, the book is a comprehensive survey of traditional and contemporary Italian vegetarian and vegan cooking covering snacks and small plates; breads and pizzas; salads and sides soups and stews;  pasta, dumplings and crepes; vegetable tarts and pastries;  grains, gratins and stuffed vegetables, and desserts.

There’s a homely feel to many of the recipes such as chard and chickpea soup with tofu; buckwheat lasagne with broccoli and eggplant-tomato strudel. Lesser known ingredients such as black chickpeas (used in a salad with apple and Jerusalem artichoke); millet (paired with beets and Romanesco), and Kamut flour (derived from Iranian red Khorasan wheat that’s high in protein, vitamins and minerals and used to make calzone with asparagus and egg) will invigorate any cook’s interest in meat and fish-free cooking, making The Vegetarian Silver Spoon a valuable addition to their cookbook collection.

This review was originally published in The Caterer magazine.

Cuisine: Vegetarian
Suitable for: Beginners and confident home cooks
Cookbook Review Rating: Four stars

Buy this book
The Vegetarian Silver Spoon: Classic and Contemporary Italian Recipes (FOOD COOK)
£35, Phaidon

Cook from this book
Rye Crostata with Peas and Asparagus