Are you a vegetarian looking for a bit of variety or a carnivore wanting to feed vegetarian friends? No matter, this book is exactly the right choice. Simon Rimmer’s approach to vegetarian cooking is fresh and relatively uncomplicated, relying on colour and pizzazz to create an impression. As a self-taught cook and restaurateur, Rimmer runs and co-owns the popular Greens in Manchester, England, he focuses on good ingredients and unfussy preparation, even though the deep-fat fryer features a lot more than it does in my kitchen.
The starters, salads, side dishes, and ‘small platefuls’ are easy to handle, even for a cookery novice. Try your hand at making the lovely coriander seed flatbread, or Lancashire cheese sausages or even Rimmer’s take on rollmop herring (featuring aubergine).
The ‘large platefuls’ are a little more ‘restauranty’ in their approach, featuring roulades, curries, pies and Rimmer’s signature dish of Filo Strudel with Port Wine Gravy. They look impressive and may take a little more time, but are certainly worth the effort and well within reach of all but the most clunch-fisted of wannabe chefs.
The lengthy pudding section reveals Simon Rimmer as a card-carrying chocoholic, but also sports some unusual combinations, such as Strawberry and Coconut Trifle, Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake, or Rosemary and Olive oil cake. Then there’s a sublime strawberry soup and, definitely, more chocolate than is good for you.
Rimmer builds his recipes from ingredients that are easily available to anyone with access to a half-way decent supermarket. The recipes are laid out well and comprehensive, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Most of the recipes feed four, but are easily halved or doubled. Some are deliberately structured to feed twelve. So it doesn’t matter if you are planning a romantic candlelit dinner for two or a celebration meal for a crowd, the Accidental Vegetarian can cope.