Sunday, 7 July 2019

Cookbook Review - Bish Bash Bosh

The original Bosh! (exclamation mark theirs, not mine) was one of my favourite books of 2018. I love their modern, fun take on plant-based food where there are just as many recipes for burgers and curries as there are for salads and smoothies. I found it one of the most accessible of all my vegan books and would definitely recommend it as an "entry-level" plant based book. I still cook from it regularly, with the BBQ kebabs, sweet potato korma and sweet and sour tofu being my faves.

I pre-ordered Bish Bash Bosh as soon as I knew about it and couldn't wait to cook from it. The only downside was, it came out the week before we got married, so with the stress of the final details, the wedding itself and then our minimoon, it was actually a couple of weeks before I got to properly cook from it!


First Impressions
Obviously my expectations on this one were super high, and I was not disappointed from my first few flicks. There were so many recipes I wanted to make!
I also got my copy from Waterstones so I got bonus recipes and it was signed both by Ian and Henry, so that was nice!

It's not completely clear if this is a "themed" book, but mostly feels like a traditional sequel to the original, rather than having a focus on specific types of recipes, but as I loved the original so much that was fine.

Here's what I made...

Bang Bang Noodle Salad
Remember that very brief warm period a few weeks ago? Yeah no me neither. But once upon a time it was warm and I made this salad for tea. It was super easy and tasty, with a delicious peanutty dressing (I'm a sucker for any kind of peanut butter sauce). I swapped out a few veg but I like that it's the kind of recipe where you can just swap in whatever you have and smother it in delicious sauce.

Piri Piri Bake
This was a bit of a manic and long cook, despite the intro describing it as quick and easy. It took about an hour, and that was including microwaving the sweet potatoes (just to add, I love that it recommended this as an option. It's just such a quick fix, especially if you don't know you can do it, and it's perfect in a recipe like there where there's a lot going on). There's a lot to do and there isn't an awful lot of down time. For a "roasting-tin-esque" recipe I found it quite intense!

You have your sweet potatoes, then you have to roast some veg, then you make some veggie "chorizo" and then you make homemade Piri Piri sauce. Phew! 

I really liked it and the idea, but I'm not sure the end result was quite worth the effort but I could definitely adapt it with plain veggie sausages and a bottle of Nando's sauce!

Sweet potato tagine
I love a tagine and this was super easy. It took about 45 minutes but never felt manic, and it relied on Ras el hanout and harissa which mean once you've bought those you can easily throw this together with whatever other veg you have to use up. Next time I'd definitely mix it up as the sweet potato got a bit boring after a while, and I think some peppers and mushrooms would be a great addition.

Aubergine Katsu
I made this when a friend came over for dinner as Phil isn't a huge aubergine fan. I'm a bit nervous about shallow frying but it seemed to go okay. The sauce was delicious but I should have used double the amount for two of us as I found it a bit dry. I would make this again but probably with tofu.

Shepherd's Pie
This is classic Sunday food - something comforting that takes longer than I'd bother with on a weekday. It was quite faffy, and there's quite a lot going on, but I was interested in the combo of red wine, sundried tomatoes and Marmite. In the end the red wine seemed quite overpowering so perhaps it didn't cook off enough, and the texture of mine felt quite mushy, but this might have been because I swapped the (expensive) puy lentils for (cheap) green ones. I do really like the use of "mushroom mince" which is something they use in the first book, but I'm not sure it quite accounts for all the liquid that mushrooms produce once cooked.

It said it served 4-6 and I got 6 good portions out of it with peas and broccoli. It wasn't my favourite shepherd's pie but I know Phil really enjoyed it so I might adapt it for another time.

Ximxim
This was a bonus recipe, and when I looked it up I couldn't seem to find anyone else doing a vegan Ximxim which was weird! So I didn't really know what this was or what to expect so I definitely cannot vouch for its authenticity! It's apparently a Brazillian dish with peanut butter and coconut milk, and this version is made with squash, aubergine and okra. I didn't have okra so I used mushrooms. It was really tasty and even got Phil eating aubergine which is always a plus! I would definitely make the sauce again with different veg.

Speedy Spaghetti
Anna Jones' lemon and kale spaghetti has legendary status in our house. It was the first thing I ever cooked in our house, it's Phil's favourite thing I make and I bet I've made it a dozen times (which is a lot for me who rarely remakes a recipe!). This follows a very similar format of creating a sauce from the starchy spaghetti water but with a slightly different sauce with olives and basil. I made a bit of a mess of it and had the heat on too high, so the water evaporated a bit too quickly to cook the spaghetti fully so I had to top it up a bit which I think affected the final flavour. I'd definitely give this another go as an alternative to our fave!

Singapore Noodles
Stir fry is one of my favourite ways to clear out the fridge, so this was perfect for a Thursday night. Really easy and tasty and really simple to adapt. I topped it with my favourite crispy tofu. Definitely one to make again.

Neuvos Rancheros
From my first look through the book this was one of the recipes I was most excited to make. I love weekend brunch and this sounded absolutely perfect. I halved it as it was just for the two of us, but I did use a full can of tinned tomatoes as it seemed a bit dry. We topped it with avocado, spring onions and cherry tomatoes but the whole thing was a bit one-note a disappointing despite being a bit of a faff to make! 

Sweet potato tikka masala
The Bosh boys are big on making their own curry pastes, which is cool, but my Nutribullet is a bit knackered so I'm always a bit nervous about getting it out! So in this case I decided to skip blending the tikka masala sauce so there was one less thing to wash up!

The sauce was absolutely insane and tasted just like a tikka masala - in fact it was my favourite thing I made from the book! It's quite hands on and time consuming so I don't think it's something I'd make too often midweek, but I'm definitely keen to make the paste again and mix up the veg. A huge success!

Vietnamese Tofu
"Add this to the list, mate" - Phil loved this one! Crispy tofu in a sticky sauce is right up my street so I knew I'd love this. I didn't want to buy coconut water, so I used the liquid from the top of a can of coconut milk and used the rest to make coconut rice in my Instant Pot as a side (in hindsight, a bit overkill with the sweetness of this sauce!). It was very rich and sweet and maybe a little bit too rich for midweek, but I'd definitely make it again on a weekend!

Conclusion
I would say this is a step up from their first book, which I think is their intention. The first book is very accesible for both a beginner cook and a beginner vegan, whereas I think this goes a step further without being overly complicated or requiring too many weird ingredients.

I would definitely recommend it as a complement to the first one and I know I'll be picking it up a lot! A great addition to any shelf, vegan or otherwise.

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