Monday, 6 May 2013

Book Review - RawEssence

From the Montreal based team behind the restaurant Crudessence comes this book to showcase the dishes they offer in the restaurant, and to illustrate the food philosophy they ascribe to. The introduction sets out their mission as they see it, and provides a lot of interesting information about raw foods, ingredients, techniques, and equipment.

This is a very attractive book, paperback, yet hefty, and loaded with vibrantly coloured photos; mainly of the food but there's the odd one of the restaurant, and the authors. The recipes are laid out mainly 1 to a page (for the smaller/shorter ones they are combined), make good use of colour in the text so they are easy to read, and I found them easy to follow and not confusing at all. Each recipe gives you an idea of the time required for any pre-soaking, the hands on preparation time, as well as any specialised equipment you may need, allowing you to easily plan what to make. Many of the recipes have storage tips and variations noted as well. While I'm not completely set up for a fully raw kitchen, not having a dehydrator or a super blender, I still found the recipes, on the whole, to be accessible and easy to make. I completely skipped the Dehydration chapter, but saw some tempting dishes in there that I would have liked to try.

The recipes I made were -
Page 31 Soft Green Smoothie
Nice wow from the mint in this, and there is a sweet and creamy texture from the bananas and the soaked nuts which I really liked.

Page 33 Red Lips Juice
I often juice beets so knew I'd like this. Loved the spicy addition of ginger.

Page 62 Lettuga Tacos
Tasty lettuce wrapped tacos. Interesting with the raw leek, not something I'd had before, but will have again as I really liked the texture and flavour.

Page 68 Spinach Pistachio Cream Soup
Very impressive. Creamy and rich yet refreshing. I will make this soup again in the summer!

Page 85 Tabbouleh Flower
Genius - combining tabbouleh with grated cauliflower. Nice and simple but very tasty.

Page 93 Caesar Salad
Didn't make the croutons as I have no dehydrator, but this was great without them. The crunch would have added another dimension, but I enjoyed it as it was. The dressing got thick as it sat but that just made it more like a "real" caesar dressing.

Page 114 Hummus Sun Spread
Another genius - using soaked almonds in place of chickpeas, The texture was so creamy, and the flavour divine.

Page 118 Oaxaca Spread
Used on the Tacos this was a little spicy, just a little, and quite rich. I think I added too much water though as mine wasn't as thick as the picture.

Page 161 Crumesan
Used on the Caesar, this sprinkle was so tasty, and made with so few ingredients. I had to stop myself eating the lot off the spoon.

Page 181 Pad Thai
When mixed with the sauce the daikon and the zucchini really do have the texture of noodles! Refreshing, yet spicy.

Recommended for raw folks, and those who are wanting to take the plunge into eating raw, or just raw curious like myself.

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