Posts Tagged ‘Cranks’

I learned to cook from my mom as a kid, and by making dinner for my family starting when I was about 12 or so. I never used recipes. Then one day I realized that I was stuck in a rut, making the same foods over and over again, with the exact same spices. I decided to buy myself a few cookbooks and to teach myself new techniques and flavor combinations by systematically cooking my way through them. (Also, I was given a couple of great cookbooks by my mother and sister last year.) While I have other cookbooks, these are the ones that are on particularly heavy rotation right now. That might change, but I am trying to exercise restraint and not buy any new ones until I have cooked most of the recipes in these.


Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero.

Olive Trees and Honey

Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World, by Gil Marks.

Both of these are large encyclopedic cookbooks that are great for the kind of large batches of simple everyday foods I mostly eat when alone. I’m a soup fiend and they both have a large number of great soup recipes. (I’m almost at my goal of having cooked every soup in Olive Trees and Honey.


The Cranks Bible, by Nadine Abensur was my first cookbook. Cranks is a famous vegetarian restaurant in London where Abensur, who is a French-Moroccan Jew was food director for many years. The recipes are sort of a veggie fusion with a South-Mediterranean tilt. It’s peerless for spectacular dishes to impress guests and show them how great vegetarian cooking can be, but some are a bit too rich and involved for my daily needs. It is, however, my first love among cookbooks and a major influence on the way I cook.

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Bread Bonanza

Normally I am the type to love kneading, also I am more of a savory bread-maker than a muffins and loaves girl, so it is a little out of character that I went and baked three no-knead, semi-sweet things in one week. But I figured I wanted to try a few different recipes from Veganomicon and also wanted a stock of bread in my freezer that can be eaten on their own, without spreads, should I so desire.

First I made Whole Wheat Soda Bread with Millet and Currants from Veganomicon. The amount of sugar given seemed a bit much to me, so I cut it to two tablespoons with excellent results. I remember having soda bread at my grandparents’ place when I was in London as a kid. This was every bit as good, if not better.

Whole Wheat Soda Bread with Millet and Currants

Then I made two bready things in one evening:

Applesauce Oatbran Muffins also from Veganomicon

(Reduced the sugar to one tablespoon.)

Applesauce Oatbran Muffins

And finally, an oldie but goodie: Walnut Raisin Loaf from The Cranks Bible my first cookbook, which remains one of my favorites despite the fact that it is a bit heavy on the dairy for my current mostly vegan food preference. Most things are easy to veganize though, as was this. I just skipped the eggs and used rice milk instead of cow’s milk.

Walnut Raisin Loaf

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