We've been looking forward to the release of From the Veg Patch since way back in January, so naturally we wasted no time getting stuck in as soon as our copies arrived. Author Kathy Slack has been contributing regularly to The Happy Foodie all year, dispensing tips on all things veg patch-related, and her debut book is just as informative and delightful as her monthly columns. Every recipe puts a hero vegetable centre stage, building a dish around its distinctive flavours and textures, from pumpkin tikka masala to crispy courgette and lime fritters. This book will be by your side from the depths of winter through to the heights of summer, offering a plethora of recipes to celebrate each season's crop. To road test some of the recipes, we gathered a team of eager volunteers and got cooking. Scroll on to see how we fared.
Who: Alice King – Publicity Manager, Ebury Publishing
What I made: Pea & Paneer Curry
What I thought: This was a perfect weeknight dish. I love a dish that doesn’t take too much chopping and can be left to simmer away while you get on with other things and this was exactly that. The paneer kept its bite and was golden and delicious, while the sauce was really thick and flavoursome. Definitely one I’ll make again, and there is even an option for overnight maturing which I’ll try next time!
Who: Emily Brickell – Editor, Ebury Publishing
What I made: Beetroot, Tahini and Almond Brownies
What I thought: A really simple recipe that came together very quickly. I roasted the beetroots the night before so that I didn’t have to wait for them to cool. SO delicious and chocolatey, without being too rich. This is going to become one of my go-to bakes! And one of my five-a-day (maybe).
Who: Samuel Heaton – Editorial Assistant, Ebury Publishing
What I made: Kale, Sesame and Soy Fried Rice
What I thought: One skill that I can never seem to nail is cooking the right amount of rice. Whenever I make a curry or a stir fry, I always seem to end up with mountains of excess rice which sadly often goes into the bin. This comforting and nutritious meal is easy to prepare and will prevent me from wasting food in the future. The mix of kale, spring onions and ginger is delicious and proves that you don’t need loads of ingredients or time to create something special.
Who: Abby Watson – Marketing Manager, Ebury Publishing
What I made: Leek and Prawn Pie with Herby Topping
What I thought: This was an incredibly easy recipe to make, ideal when you want something quick and delicious after work that you can throw together with ease. It’s an unassuming dish packed full of flavour, and you don’t miss the mash you would normally expect on a fish pie – the herby topping is so light and really complimented the filling. I served it alongside peas and broccoli but it would be great with any kind of vegetable. I just wish my food photography was as good as Kathy’s!