Roadtasting: Simon Bryant’s Vegies
Our resident foodie Chris Gordon takes Simon Bryant’s Vegies for a road test in her own kitchen.
Firstly could I commend the designers for the front cover of this wonderful collection of recipes by Bryant. What is there not to love about a man holding spring onions and a lettuce wearing a very cheeky smile? It certainly got my attention. That image and the title - Vegies. No beating around the bush here. The title says it all - this is a book totally full of things to do with vegies.
I’m enjoying the move away from slick sauces and plates used as palettes to bowls of steaming vegies. It seems more accessible, more comforting and certainly it’s better for you on many levels. Bryant’s book inspires this type of eating because he is able to turn the simple vegetable into a meal.
In this book Simon, known best for his starring role next to our very own Maggie Beer on TVs The Cook and the Chef, divides the book into seasons with quite brilliant tips on cooking techniques that make your vegies appear shiny and vibrant. An example of this is his excellent idea to sprinkle tomatoes that appear somewhat lacklustre with a little salt, sugar and red wine vinegar for a few minutes. Consequently the tomatoes taste like summer.
So here I am, impressed by this beautiful book, impressed by the easy language and the photos of the food, impressed by the seasonal diary supplied by the chapters and thinking to myself, a bowl of vegies for my family dinner sounds spot on. In my garden I’ve plenty of silverbeet and so with the weight of feeling worthy out I go, pick a bundle and head for the kitchen.
I spot a recipe (page 120) that caters for my load. Pomegranate, Yellow Chard and Wild Rice Salad. I follow the recipe exactly, except my chard is actually all green, not yellow…still.
I cook the rice.
I cook the vegies.
I make my kitchen look like a blood bath with pomegranate juice splattering all over the entire room (4 pomegranates are a lot to use.)
The result…delicious, almost like a crunchy risotto with the pomegranate seeds almost popping juices in our mouths. The kids are ho-hum about it to be honest, but my bloke and I love it.
A few days later my bloke makes the dish again. Except this time we have not bought the very expensive wild rice so he uses brown rice and only one pomegranate. Upshot? The kids love it, and the nuttiness of the brown rice seems to equalise the explosion of pomegranate seeds. This meal will become a family staple.
I reckon this is the sign of a good cook book. After all, it should be all about inspiration. And simply just cooking.
Simon Bryant’s Vegies is out now.