We started a cookbook club!! It’s amazing. A larger group (there’s around 15 of us in total) vote for a cookbook and set a date to feast together. The concept is fairly straight forward; we each make a recipe from the chosen cookbook and get together to sample each one. That way we all get to try multiple dishes from the cookbook and decide if we want to purchase the book or not. It’s a very pleasant way to test out new cookbooks, see each other, and generally have a good time.
Our first cookbook was Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Plenty is not new by any means, but was randomly selected out of a few suggestions that came in from the group. The dish shown above and shared below was my recipe pick, Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango. I really liked this dish, it’s served at room temperature so I could make it in advance and has really great vibrant flavours that I normally wouldn’t be attracted to. I’ve made it a few more times since cookbook club and since I hardly ever remake a recipe this should speak volumes.
The dish that was picked as the favourite from our group was the Black Pepper Tofu dish. Almost everyone said it was their favourite. Other interesting points from the book was that although it is a vegetarian cookbook nothing came off as particularly healthy. The amount of fat (oil and/or butter) per recipe was actually somewhat alarming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not part of the fat police when it comes to food, but 10 tablespoons of butter in one savoury dish is a bit shocking. We actually skimmed some butter off of one dish to make it less greasy.
Overall Plenty, was well received. Out of 10 I’d wager that most people gave it a 7. I don’t believe anyone from the group ran out to buy the book after cookbook club, but it’s worth the time to check it out from your local library. It is a great resource to feel inspired by vegetables.
Our next meeting is this weekend and we’re doing Donna Hay’s The New Easy. It got the most votes out of 8 different books that were being considered. I’m making the Salted Chocolate and Caramel Tart … I can’t wait to eat it 🙂
Do you have a cookbook you’d like to suggest for our next session? I’d love to hear about it.
Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango
10 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 fresh red chile, finely chopped
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 2 eggplants, cut into 3/4" pieces
- 8 to 9 oz soba noodles
- 1 large ripe mango, cut into 3/8" pieces or 1/4" thick strips
- 1 2/3 cup basil leaves, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
- In a small sauce pan gently warm the vinegar, sugar and salt, until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute over medium. Remove from heat and garlic, chile and sesame oil. Set aside and once cooled add lime zest and juice.
- Heat up the sunflower oil in a large pan and shallow-fry the eggplant in 3 or 4 batches. Once golden brown remove and place in a colander, and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave there to drain.
- Cook the noodles in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse well under cold water. Shake off as much water as possible.
- In a mixing bowl toss noodles with the dressing, mango, eggplant, half of the herbs and the onion. The dish can rest for 1 to 2 hours if you'd like. When ready to serve add the rest of the herbs and mix well.