Ever since I first happened upon this book I lusted after it. Generally speaking I’m a bit unconvinced by ‘wellness bloggers’ – I find they rely too much on miracle superfoods, and everything has a rose-coloured tint about it. I don’t see Anna Jones like this, though – although she does use some ingredients like coconut oil, agave syrup and quinoa, they are only there to enhance the flavour and texture of her dishes, and they do just that.
Much to my delight, my sister gave me A Modern Way to Cook for Christmas. I spent the next few days devouring it, holding up the book to my family with insightful comments like ‘oooooh’ and ‘doesn’t this look great’! A few weeks later, I’ve written out some more coherent thoughts and cooked a few of the recipes, and still have a number of bookmarks sticking out the top of the book with things I can’t wait to make. If you’re a vegetarian who’s interested in modern, healthy and vibrant food, this book is definitely for you.
Pan-roast lime feta and chilli greens burrito (page 124)
Like Anna herself says, I am also not a fan of rice in my burritos. I bookmarked this recipe to try as soon as I saw it – the ingredients list delighted me, and when it came to making (and eating) it I was not disappointed.
The beans – squidgy, spiced and comforting – are lifted by the bright freshness of the tomato salsa, while the zesty lime transports me out of rainy January, and into summer and garden parties and cocktails. The soft, salty tang of the feta – both crisp and slightly melted around the edges – brings the whole dish together. I have nothing negative to say about it at all, and will definitely be making it again! I’m planning on experimenting with the vegan version, too – Anna gives firm tofu as an alternative to the feta, which I’d love to try.
Salted almond butter chocolate bars (page 320)
These are a homemade, more grown up version of a Bounty bar. They are also healthier, and yet they feel much more decadent and special! Since making them yesterday I have already eaten far more of them than I should have.
The only criticism I have is in the clarity of the recipe – a definite anomaly for Anna Jones. The first word of the recipe title is ‘salted’, and yet no salt is listed in the ingredients. The method instructs you to add ‘a good pinch of salt’ as you make the filling, but in mine you certainly couldn’t taste it; perhaps my pinch wasn’t big enough. The accompanying photograph also shows a sprinkling of salt flakes topping each bar, which the method neglects to mention. When I made mine I followed suit, and I’m glad I did – the salt gives a beautiful tang and somehow accentuates the sweetness of the chocolate. Despite any salt-related discrepancies on my part, though, I’ll certainly be making these again.
For the most part, the recipes are clear, and all are mouth-watering and inspiring. There aren’t quite as many photographs as I’d have liked (I’m a firm believer that every recipe should have an accompanying photograph, and this is closer to every other), but, while usually that would irritate me, with this book it attracts my curiosity – I want to make things in order to see how they look. This is fast becoming my go-to veggie cookbook!
Other recipes I’m keen to try include the spinach and lemon polpette; smoky pepper and white bean quesadillas; squash, greens and quinoa fritters and sumac yoghurt; sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi with almond pesto, and pistachio and raspberry brownies. If you like the sound of any of these, you can buy A Modern Way to Cook here. You can check out Anna’s website here, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram for more wonderful recipes.
Don’t forget to keep voting for me in the UK Blog Awards – you can vote once per day until 25th January, so there are just 4 days left! Click the image below for a direct link.