|Soaking the walnuts|
|7 ⅓ oz|
|For the cavolo nero crisps|
|8 leaves||(7.3 oz)|
|1 tbsp||(0.47 oz)|
|1 dash||(0.01 oz)|
|For the mushroom stock|
|1 stalk||(1.1 oz)|
|5 ½ oz|
|10 corns||(0.01 oz)|
|2 cloves||(0.21 oz)|
|1 leaves||(0.01 oz)|
|1 ¼ liter||(42 oz)|
|For the walnut filling|
|30 ml||(0.97 oz)|
|50 ml||(1.8 oz)|
|1 tbsp||(0.1 oz)|
|For the tortellini|
|175 ml||(6.2 oz)|
|½ tsp||(0.01 oz)|
|15 ml||(0.49 oz)|
|For the red wine reduction|
|200 ml||(7 oz)|
|1 leaves||(0.01 oz)|
|For the mushrooms|
|8 ½ oz|
|3 ½ oz|
|2 tbsp||(0.98 oz)|
Preparations for the walnut filling (overnight or the day before)
Put the walnuts in a small bowl and cover with at least 2 cm (¾ inch) of cold water. Put into the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight.
For the cavolo nero crisps
Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).
If using large cavolo nero leaves, remove the stem from each leaf and trim the edges if necessary. Toss in a little oil and salt and place the kale on a baking tray (sheet). Bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes until dry and crisp but so that they have not yet taken on colour, then leave to cool and crisp up.
The author uses cavolo nero, a special type of kale, which is also called Lacinato kale, or dinosaur kale.
The cavolo nero chips can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days.
For the mushroom stock
Peel the onion and slice the onion and the carrot, celery and button mushrooms to a 3 mm (⅛ inch) thickness. Put all the ingredients, except the porcini mushrooms, into a covered saucepan and then pour in the water. Gently bring to a boil – it should take about 20 minutes to reach the boiling point.
The author uses chestnut mushrooms, also called button mushrooms, which are immature, brown portobello mushrooms.
Once boiling, simmer very gently for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Immediately add the porcini mushrooms, stir to make sure they are submerged, then cover the top of the saucepan tightly with cling film (plastic wrap).
Leave the stock to cool completely, then drain off the stock through a large sieve into a clean saucepan, discarding the vegetables.
Continue with the walnut filling
Put the potatoes (including skins) for the filling into a small saucepan with 1 litre (4 cups) of water and 10 g (1¾ tsp) of salt and gently bring to a boil, covered with a lid. Simmer gently until the potatoes are soft, then drain.
While the potatoes are still hot, drain and rinse the walnuts. Put the walnuts into a blender and blend as finely as possible.
Transfer the walnuts to a large bowl and add the warm potatoes (with their skins on) and the walnut oil. Mash well, then return to the blender and process until a smooth, creamy texture is achieved, adding a little water if necessary.
Be careful not to add too much water because the dough should be fairly firm.
When smooth, transfer to a bowl and stir in the dill.
Add a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper and check and adjust the seasoning.
Transfer to a piping bag or small container and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours to firm up.
For the tortellini dough
Heat the water. Grind the saffron to a fine powder using a pestle and mortar, then add the boiling water and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
Once the saffron is ready, put the semolina into a large bowl, add the canola oil and measure in the saffron water, adding cold water so that you again have 175 ml (¾ cup).
Since canola oil ontains a significantly higher amount of essential fatty acids than olive oil, we have chosen to use canola oil for the tortellini. The original recipe calls for olive oil.
Using a spoon, bring the pasta mix together to form a rough dough, then transfer to a clean, dry work surface. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes, until smooth and supple.
Wrap in cling film (plastic wrap) and put in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest, and ideally for longer as it will get firmer and easier to work with.
The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Simply take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before using.
Shaping the tortellini
Roll out the pasta using a pasta mashine. Use the second-to-last setting on the machine.
Dust your work surface with semolina and place the dough on top. Using a cutter, cut rounds the same size as the width of your pasta sheet (up to 15 cm / 6 inches), ), continuing until you don’t have any dough left.
Line a baking tray (sheet) with cling film (plastic wrap) and lightly oil it.
If you don’t have a pasta machine, you can also use a rolling pin.
Mix together 50 g (generous ⅓ cup) of plain (all-purpose) flour and 100 ml (scant ½ cup) of water into a paste in a small bowl and set aside. Pipe or spoon 1 small tablesoon of the filling into the centre of each round. Using your finger, spread the flour and water mix onto one half of each pasta round to act as a glue and then fold each round over into a half-moon shape, encapsulating the filling in a neat bulge in the middle.
Using the soft pad of your thumb or finger, carefully but firmly press the pasta down firmly, pushing all the air out of the middle as you do so.
Getting the right amount of filling is critical – too little and the pasta is disappointingly empty – too much, and it will burst open.
You are trying to do 3 things: shape the filling into a neat bubble surrounded by pasta, eliminate any air pockets from the centre, and press the 2 halves of pasta together.
Once you have sealed all parcels, take the cutter you used earlier and, using a rolling motion, trim the rough edge from your half-moon shape.
Now the tricky part. Dab one corner of the moon liberally with the flour paste and then, using your thumb to form a little crease in the filling bubble, fold both corners toward the middle sticking one to the other and pressing firmly.
Place the finished tortellini on the oiled tray, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and pop in the fridge for up to 8 hours until needed.
Please see photos.
For the red wine reduction
Bring the red wine to a boil in a wide-based saucepan, then simmer until it has reduced by three-quarters – you will need exactly 50 ml (scant ¼ cup), so measure to check and reduce further if needed.
Add the mushroom stock (from step 3) and bay leaf and bring to a boil, simmer again until it has reduced by two-thirds in volume – you will need exactly 350 ml (1½ cups) of reduced stock, so measure to check, and reduce further if necessary.
For the mushrooms
Cut each king oyster mushroom “log” into 7 mm (⅓ inch) slices.
Cut each button mushroom in half across the middle so that you have 2 flat discs, then cut these into 7 mm (⅓ inch) discs. Slice the shimeji mushrooms.
Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a small frying pan (skillet) and add the king oyster mushroom slices. Sprinkle with a little salt, brown one side to a golden brown and then flip and brown on the other side. Add the mushroom stock and reduce it down to make a glaze, then keep warm.
Given the reasons listed above, we have used canola oil instead of olive oil.
Heat the remaining canola oil in a frying pan (skillet) and add the button mushrooms, sprinkle with a little salt and fry for 2 minutes.
Add the shimeji mushrooms and continue to cook until the liquid has released from the mushrooms and evaporated again.
Add 4 tablespoons of the red wine reduction and cook to thicken slightly, then keep warm until needed.
Continue with the tortellini
When ready to cook, put 4 litres (16 cups) of cold water and 40 g (2½ tbsp) of salt in a large covered saucepan and bring to a boil. Line a baking tray (sheet) with a kitchen (paper) towel and have a clean tea towel to keep the cooked tortellini warm.
Now cook your pasta. Turn the temperature down, so the water is at a gentle simmer.
Gently place no more than 5 tortellini into the saucepan of simmering water and stir gently to prevent them from sticking to the base. You only need to cook for 1–2 minutes – they will float to the surface and the pasta will be firm but cooked – it must have bite.
As soon as they are done, carefully remove them, one at a time, using a slotted spoon and put on the lined baking tray (sheet). Cover with a tea towel to keep warm and prepare the next 5. Repeat until they are all cooked.
Once the tortellini are all cooked, place 3–5 tortellini into each of 4 pasta bowls. Spoon the diced mushrooms over the top of each and then arrange the king oyster mushroom slices on top.
Pour the mushroom reduction into the bottom of the bowl.
Add a cavolo nero crisp to each bowl and serve immediately.
Plants Taste Better – Delicious Plant-Based Recipes, from Root to Fruit will help you prepare all-natural, Mediterranean recipes for special occasions.
OverviewRichard Buckley presents a wealth of exquisite, creative recipes in his cookbook Plants Taste Better. The majority of the recipes take time and effort to prepare, which is why most of them are better suited for special occasions rather than everyday purposes. Plants Taste Better – Delicious Plant-Based Recipes, from Root to Fruit stands out on account of the all-natural, restaurant-quality recipes it contains.
SummaryPlants Taste Better – Delicious Plant-Based Recipes, from Root to Fruit contains many innovative and sophisticated Mediterranean dishes. Most of the ingredients for these often time-consuming dishes are fresh and can be purchased at any organic grocery store. Most of the recipes contain only a small amount of added oil. And sugar is primarily found as an ingredient in the small number of desserts included in this book. You will notice that preparation times are not included with the recipes. Since most of them are quite complicated and include several steps, it would be nice to have the estimated time required for each recipe included. It is, however, helpful that the author includes extra information about preparing certain ingredients, for instance, how to cook various types of pasta. Most of the recipes also offer a photograph of the finished dish, which is a nice touch.
Richard Buckley’s Plants Taste Better – Delicious Plant-Based Recipes, from Root to Fruit is a vegan cookbook filled with exquisite recipes that are primarily Mediterranean and feature clean foods. Since many of the recipes require good planning and working on several steps in parallel, this book is for special occasions and best for experienced cooks.
Plants Taste Better by Richard Buckley is available from The Quarto Group and on Amazon.
About the author Richard Buckley was raised vegetarian and initially studied British literature before entering the world of professional vegetarian cooking. Today, he owns the Acorn Vegetarian Kitchen in Bath, England, which is considered to be one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the world.
ContentsIn the introduction, the author explains the philosophy behind cooking with plants. The chapter "The Craft of Plant-Based Cooking" discusses flavors, taste, texture, and the required or recommended equipment.
The recipes are divided into six chapters:
Recipes:Snacks:You will find a large selection of recipes for finger foods including baked seeds, fried vegetables, oven-baked crisps, dips, and chutneys in this section. Most of the featured recipes are Mediterranean and include snacks like Tempura Kale, Garlic Panisse, and Fig Chutney. Given the methods used to prepare them, we feel that many of the recipes in this section contain too much oil.
Soups, pâtés & light lunches:Alongside soups and pâtés, this section also includes pickles and light vegetable dishes that can be served for lunch or as an appetizer. The author uses all fresh ingredients with the exception of one recipe that calls for canned beans. There is a very wide range of dishes, but about one-quarter of them contain fairly large amounts of oil. Some examples include Pea and Herb Soup with Almond Foam, Carrot & Cashew Pâté with Rye Crisp Breads and Pickles, and the Roasted Donkey Carrots with Cashew Cheese and Seeded Buckwheat.
Salads:This section primarily includes garnishes and toppings such as seeds, nuts, and powders, along with a handful of recipes that would work well served as appetizers. These include dishes like Roasted Cylindra Beetroot with Crushed Blackberry Dressing and Pistachio Purée, Mixed Toasted Seeds, and Orange Zest Powder.
Mains:You will find a nice variety of Mediterranean dishes here like homemade pasta, risotto, Spanish croquettes, and purées. The chapter also includes extensive information about making various types of pasta such as tortellini, gnocchi, and cavatelli.
Half of the recipes contain medium to high levels of fat. The ingredients are all fresh except for canned chickpeas, which are used in only one recipe. This chapter includes a wide range of recipes from Walnut Tortellini with a Red Wine Mushroom Reduction to Smoked Cashew Croquettes with Port-Glazed Red Beetroot (Beets) and Orange Emulsion, to Kale Purée.
Desserts:This short chapter includes cakes, mousses, and fruity desserts such as Spiced Pineapple with Candied Fennel and Olive Oil Semi-Freddo as well as Poached Pears with Frozen Pistachio Cacao Cream and Tarragon Granita. Most of these recipes contain large amounts of sugar, but lower amounts of added fats. Almost all the recipes include xanthan as a thickener and gelling agent, and some also include iota carrageenan powder.
Breads:In this section, you will find recipes for Rye Bread, Rye Crispbreads, and Focaccia along with oils, butters, and milks.
The cookbook Plants Taste Better – Delicious Plant-Based Recipes, from Root to Fruit concludes with a recipe index at the back of the book.
Book review by Dr. med. vet. Inke Weissenborn
This Walnut Tortellini with a Red Wine Mushroom Reduction takes some time and practice, but the result is well worth it.
Walnuts: Walnuts are the nuts that have the highest content of linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is healthy for the heart. They are rich in tocopherols, a group of four different forms of vitamin E. They are also a good source of zinc, an element that is important for the liver and hair.
King oyster mushrooms: King oyster mushrooms are large, meaty mushrooms that look a little like porcini (or ceps) but have a meatier texture and more delicate flavour. They benefit from being a farmable mushroom and so are more readily available than porcinis. If you cannot find any, then you can substitute porcinis, pied bleu or even quarters of peeled portobello mushrooms.
Chestnut and portobello mushrooms: Agaricus bisporus has two different color phases and various names for each of these. When immature and white, these mushrooms are called button mushrooms, common mushrooms, or champignon mushrooms. When immature and brown, they go by the name of cremini mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms. When mature, they are known as portobello mushrooms, often shortened to just portobellos.
Shimeji mushrooms: Shimeji mushrooms are a group of edible mushrooms native to East Asia. Shimeji should always be cooked as they will otherwise have a slightly bitter taste. Cooked, these mushrooms have a nice, firm texture and a slightly nutty flavor that is rich in umami tasting compounds.
Semolina: The term semolina is used for a number of products. In this case, it refers to the wheat product that is a common ingredient in pasta.
Canola oil: Canola oil contains a significantly higher amount of essential fatty acids (esp. alpha-linolenic acid) than, for example, olive oil. It is used primarily as a cooking oil and in margarine. Canola oil is a cultivar of rapeseed bred to be virtually free of erucic acid and as such is suited for human consumption. This is essential because erucic acid can cause organ damage and heart problems in both humans and other mammals. In addition, the newer varieties (double zero) of canola contain only low levels of glucosinolates, which makes it easier to use as animal feed.
For the tortellini: To make this really well, you must remember a few basic principles: the most important of which is that your filling must be firm. If your filling is wet, it will make the tortellini hard to shape, and they will get soggy and split. I have suggested adding a little water to the potato mix, but I do so with extreme caution, as I would rather have a coarse filling than a wet mix.
Your pasta must also be delicate, and you need to make the filling a day in advance, which means you need to soak the walnuts two days in advance of eating.