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Hello Fellow Austerians, today I’m doing something a little different.  Instead of rambling, musing, whining, I’m going to stay on topic and address an aspect of this month’s topic (dietary austerity) by doing a book review of my favourite cookbook, “Market Vegetarian” by Ross Dobson.

Fittingly, it was a gift from my starving husband.  Now, he’s no fool.  It was a pre-approved gift.  The thought of buying me anything house-related that might imply I should do something house-related wouldn’t linger as a thought for more than a second.  I have a sister-in-law who received an iron from her hubby, my brother.  Glenn wondered if he had a death wish.  Turns out, she was thrilled and poor Glenn realized that some women like those things. Why? – we both wondered….

But I digress.  The cookbook in question has two things I will forever now require in future cookbooks: 1. A photo for each and every recipe.  Turns out I’m a visual girl.  And, 2. Recipes I will actually make.  I have more than a few cookbooks that are stunning, but I haven’t made a single thing in them. (Yes, they’ll be purged.  Anyone in the market for cookbooks???)

Being vegetarian for 35+ years now (holy crap! I’m old!!!), you’d think I’d have stumbled upon a cookbook I like prior to Christmas 2010, but nope. Most veg cookbooks are weird.  I’m vegetarian, yes, but I don’t want to eat eggplant any more than your average Joe.  And tofu is fine very, very occasionally – if I cut it up small and marinate it in soy sauce.  I grew up with British parents who became vegetarian in their forties, so my mom’s version of a vegetarian dinner was, literally, a roast beef dinner without the roast beef.  Imagine roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, onion gravy and veggies boiled beyond recognition.  My mom was a fabulous cook – of her genre – but unrecognizable veg seem to be a hallmark of British “cuisine”.

Another massive bonus about this cookbook is that my kids actually like the food made from its recipes.  Can I get a fist pump, please?  The family favourite seems to be the Napolitana lentil stew….

Although his Smoky Hotpot of Great Northern Beans is awesome, too.  Just be sure to cook the beans thoroughly enough.  Just sayin’…

And, last but not least, is a new one.  I just made this the other night to unanimous happiness – Barley Risotto.  I made it without the radicchio though because the ones at the grocery store looked like zombie brains.

It was so yummy, there are no words.  Now, I am more than happy to type out the recipes, with my adjustments, but you’ll have to ask.  Seriously, folks. Just a tiny bit of effort and I will happily comply.  I would even be happy to feature more of his fabulous recipes and perhaps start a recipe page if there’s enough interest.  Until next time, I will be cooking with Ross…  s. xo