I had never heard of the Candle Cafe, but I’m trying to eat a more vegan diet, so I thought I would check out this recipe book.
From the title I expected this book to contain Christmas recipes; however it actually has recipes for a slightly peculiar selection of special occasions including Valentine’s Day, The Super Bowl, Passover and Cinco De Mayo as well as Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving.
As you can probably tell from that list, it’s a pretty American cookbook. But that’s to be expected as Candle Cafe is a New York based chain of restaurants. However, I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t be able to find all of the ingredients in a standard British supermarket (particularly some of the Asian ingredients). I suppose most vegans are used to going the extra mile to find specialist ingredients.
The book is broken down into sections based on the different ‘holidays’. Most sections start with recipes for drinks, they also contain savoury and dessert ideas. I’m a big fan of autumnal food, so I thought the recipes from the Thanksgiving section looked particularly appealing. Pumpkin seed-crusted tempeh with roasted ginger-maple sweet potatoes and cranberry-orange relish definitely sounds more interesting than your standard nut roast! The Mexican food in the Cinco De Mayo section also looks very appetising.
All of the sections contain very inspiring and original sounding dishes from lots of different cuisines. There are also suggestions for vegan versions of traditional dishes served on the featured ‘holidays’. As this is food for special occasions, most of the dishes serve about 10 people, so I would have to scale down most of the recipes before trying them for myself or my small family.
The book is quite attractive, however I would prefer there to be photos for all of the recipes. There’s probably photos for about one third of the recipes. There are also photos of random ingredients, these could be replaced with pictures of actual dishes. I like the fact that all the recipes have a written description at the beginning but I do think recipes should have nutritional info such as calories and details of whether they can be frozen.
The book includes introductions by famous vegans Alicia Silverstone and Woody Harrelson which are a bit cheesy, but the general tone of the rest of the writing is clear and concise.
I definitely plan to try lots of recipes from this book as many sound unusual and innovative and where there are pictures, the food looks very tasty. This book looks like it could appeal to anyone, if I didn’t know it was a vegan cookbook, I’m not sure I would have noticed straight away because the food sounds so mouth-watering!