|For the smoked cashews|
|For the croquetas|
|750 ml||(26 oz)|
|7 ⅓ oz|
|For the glazed beetroot|
|550 ml||(19 oz)|
|2 stalks||(2.1 oz)|
|1 leaves||(0.01 oz)|
|20 corns||(0.03 oz)|
|100 ml||(3.5 oz)|
|4 ½ oz|
|For the orange emulsion|
|1 tbsp||(0.44 oz)|
|1 tsp||(0.09 oz)|
|50 ml||(1.6 oz)|
|For the garnish|
Prepare the smoked cashews.
If you don't have a stove-top smoker, you can improvise using a steamer basket in a saucepan. Put a piece of foil on the base of the saucepan to prevent the chips from discolouring it. Put the smoking chips on the foil and heat saucepan on medium-high heat until the chips burn.
(If they don’t burn, then use a blowtorch, lighter, or match.)
The ingredients listed here are for the recipe that makes 4 servings.
Once they are burning well, put in the steamer basket (containing the ingredients intended to smoke) and then put on the lid. Leave for 10–15 minutes until the desired level of smokiness is achieved” (p. 116, Plants Taste Better).
Preparations for the smoked cashew croquetas
Add the smoked cashews to a blender with 500 ml (2 cups) of the water and the salt. Blend until very smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring continuously – as it comes to the boil, it will thicken dramatically. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
We have reduced the amount of sea salt called for in the recipe by ¾.
Add a small pinch of cayenne pepper and transfer to a small bowl. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) in contact with the surface of the mix and place in the fridge to chill.
For the toasted seeds
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Put the sunflower seeds on a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes until just golden. Allow to cool.
The author uses mixed seeds (sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds).
For the glazed beetroot
Take a large piece of foil and wrap the beetroot (beets) and 50 ml (scant ¼ cup) of the water tightly in it, making a watertight parcel. Put on a baking tray (sheet) and bake in the oven for 1 hour until soft, then leave to cool in the foil.
Meanwhile, make the orange emulsion.
Once cold, remove from the foil and transfer any liquid into a saucepan. Rub the skin from the beetroot (beets) and put the skin into the saucepan. Cut the top and bottom from each beetroot (beet), then cut each one into 1 cm (½-inch) thick slices. You need 20 slices for four servings. Using a vegetable peeler, trim the edges from each disc to round them off neatly. Set aside.
Line a chopping board with 4 sheets of cling film (plastic wrap) to stop staining, and use plastic gloves.
Finely slice the onion and celery. Add the beetroot (beet) offcuts to the saucepan with the skin, along with the finely sliced onion, sliced celery, bay leaf, peppercorns and the rest of the measured water (500 ml or 2 cups). Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat, allow to cool completely, then strain and return 200 ml (generous ¾ cup) of the beetroot (beet) stock to a clean saucepan. Boil the stock rapidly to reduce until it begins to thicken noticeably, almost completely evaporating. Add the red wine and port and simmer to reduce by three-quarters.
For the orange emulsion
Finely grate the zest from the oranges and then juice the oranges. Check that you have 200 ml (generous ¾ cup), and add a little more if necessary. Put the zest and juice into a small saucepan and simmer gently until reduced by half.
In the meantime, you can prepare the smoked cashew croquetas.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, then add the mustard and sugar and mix to combine. Using a stick blender to emulsify, slowly add the rapeseed oil and blend until it is thick and glossy.
The author uses Dijon mustard and superfine caster sugar.
According to the author, the emulsion can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
We have intentionally cut the amount of canola oil in half. If necessary, you can add a little more or increase the amount of orange juice.
Finish the croquetas
Put half the flour onto a plate and the other half into a large bowl. Whisk the remaining measured water (250 ml or 1 cup) into the bowl to form a thin batter. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate. Transfer the croquetas mix to a piping bag fitted with a 2 cm (¾-inch) round nozzle (tip).
If you don’t have a piping bag, just use a plastic freezer or storage bag and cut off the edge, creating a 2 cm opening.
Prepare your deep-fat fryer. Put the watercress in a small bowl and dress with a little olive oil. Pipe the croqueta mix in 5–6 cm (2–2¼-inch) lengths onto the floured plate and carefully roll to coat them in the flour. Repeat until you have 8 perfect croquetas.
You can information about preparing the deep-fryer on page 26 of the same book. You will need a vegetable oil of your choice that is suitable to be heated at very high temperatures.
In the original recipe, the author uses a handful of watercress.
With a knife, transfer the croquetas one at a time into the flour and water mix first and then into the breadcrumbs. Roll each one in the breadcrumbs, ensuring they are completely covered and then gently re-roll so you have a neat tube shape. Continue until all the mix is used. Deep-fry the croquetas, in batches if necessary, until crispy and golden brown, then drain on kitchen (paper) towel.
Continuing with the glazed beetroot
At the same time, put the beetroot (beet) discs into a large frying pan (skillet) and add the port glaze. Bring the glaze to a rapid boil and reduce it down until it forms a sticky shiny glaze. Turn the beetroot (beets) over in the glaze to make sure they are well covered – if the glaze is too thick, add a tiny splash of water.
Place 3 or 4 beetroot (beets) slices and 2 croquetas on each of 4 large plates. Drizzle the orange emulsion around the plate (remember it is a strong flavour). Scatter the dressed watercress over each plate and then sprinkle with the toasted seeds. Serve hot.
The author uses red mustard frill as additional garnish.
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
These smoked cashew croquetas with port-glazed red beetroot and orange emulsion are delicious vegan Spanish tapas.
Tapas: Tapas are appetizer or snacks in Spanish cuisine, which may be either hot or cold, and are often served with drinks.
Cashews: There is hardly another food that contains a higher proportion of the essential amino acid tryptophan than cashews. Tryptophan is an essential nutrient in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Cashews contain many minerals such as magnesium, which strengthens bones, and iron, which is an important component in hemoglobin and red blood cells. Since Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron, the addition of orange juice is beneficial for more reasons than just the flavor. Cashews sold commercially are not actually raw. Their shell contains a toxic oil (cardol) that has to be deactivated by roasting or heating. If "Raw cashews" is on the label, this usually just means that the toxic cardol they contain has been deactivated by steaming instead of roasting. It is only when the process is explained in detail and controlled that we can be sure the cashews are raw.
Red beets: Red beets (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris), also known as beetroot, are particularly well known for their deep red color that comes from the high concentration of the glycoside betanin, a compound in the betalain class of pigments. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or pickled. Beets are rich in Vitamin B, potassium, and iron, and are an exceptionally good source of folic acid. Red beets contain high levels of oxalic acid, which is why individuals who are at risk for developing kidney stones, such as Crohn’s disease patients, should avoid eating large amounts of the vegetable.
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.
See the author’s instructions for preparing the toasted seeds on page 114 and the smoked cashews on page 116 of the same book.
Toasted seeds: The author uses a mix of toasted seeds that includes not only sunflower seeds, but also poppy seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds.
Homemade smoker: Instead of using a stove-top smoker, you can make a homemade smoker (see step 1).