A feast for vegetarians (+recipes)

By Grant Allen

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Push the meat aside and make room for veges.

Easy tomato & feta tarts. Photo / Doug Sherring
Easy tomato & feta tarts. Photo / Doug Sherring

Statistically speaking, there must be at least one Holst cookbook on the bookshelf of every New Zealand home.

The combined sales of Alison and Simon Holst's titles (in excess of 4.3 million) equates roughly to the population of our country.

Not bad going, and totally understandable when you use the recipes of the mother-and-son cooking duo. Theirs is commonsense, no-nonsense cookery with ingredients which are readily available and economical. Their ideas are relevant to family feeding and have a great balance of tastiness and nutritional value.

The Ultimate Vegetarian Collection is a compilation from their numerous columns and books pulled together in one fresh volume. Along the way it includes lots of tips and explanation.

Vegetables are moving to plate central these days. No longer the mere accompanists, they often sing solo. Think meatless Mondays.

Through the rest of the week, the old order is reversed. Smaller quantities of meat, simply cooked, are being served with interesting vegetable combinations and compositions.

Whether this is in the interest of health or economy, vegetables are the "new black" in food.

My thinking is that the rise of interest in veges also has to do with our renewed interest in home gardening, the growth of farmers markets and our concerns about where our food comes from and how it is produced.

This book is full of new and old ideas and it doesn't come across as a faddist, alternative collection. The food looks hearty - you could be forgiven for not realising no meat is involved.

I predict this book will be an immensely popular addition to your Holst collection and a valuable resource for all cooks.

Here are a few of the recipes to try:

* Avocado with Mediterranean dressing

* Potato frittata

* Easy tomato & feta tarts

* 'You'd never know it' cookies

- Herald on Sunday

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