If you ever needed to know what food porn was, then you'll find it in Yotam Ottolenghi's 'Plenty'
Though not a vegetarian himself, Yotam writes 'The New Vegetarian' column in the Guardian and I bought this book around 6 months ago after reading about it in a magazine. It's been the only recipe collection I've ever carried on using after the novelty of buying the book has worn off, having been so bowled over by the finished results that I just can't wait to try the next thing.
I have to admit, it's also been the only cookbook that I've actually taken to bed to read! So excited I was at the fabulous fare it contains. Yotam is from Israel and the cuisine is Middle Eastern influenced, where vegetables are used in far more interesting ways than in the UK, it seems.
You will not find a boring array of pasta bakes and 'fake meat' concoctions here. And it's certainly not a book 'just for' vegetarians - committed carnivores will find that the taste sensations in this book are so unique and compelling, that meat will not be missed.
Some of the recipes call for unusual ingredients that need to be found at Middle Eastern grocers or ordered online, but they are worth the effort.
I have a couple of recipes that I could say were my favourites so far. One is the Aubergine and Lemon Risotto, which is divine, though I'd suggest this makes only enough for three people as a main course. The other is the Mushroom and Herb Polenta (but I must mention, I have done my own variation on this both times I have cooked it, since I did not have the same herbs handy!).
Cook from this book and you will be producing top notch, gourmet cuisine in your own kitchen. I promise.
Please note that I was vegetarian when I wrote this review, therefore I was not looking at this book on its vegan merits. I just wanted to make a few comments now that I can reflect back, since I am still including this book in my review list for the time being.
There a few of recipes in this book that are literally knock-out vegan recipes, and that have become firm favourites of mine. So, it still does come in handy for me as a cookbook. His soba noodles with aubergine and mango recipe is just unbelievable - and this is one I frequently serve at dinner parties (often with the additon of some seitan pieces).
There is another which is the Seasonal Vegetable Tempura (no link), that again brings sighs of delight whenever I serve it (though it's a messy one!) and I'm working on creating vegan versions for some of the others I enjoyed in the past.
There are lots of recipes that heavily rely on eggs and cheese - if you are prepared to substitute (although the egg ones tend to be actually centred around the eggs), then you may still find this book useful if you are vegan. But there are also lots of wonderful 100% vegan cookery books on the market too :)