This year has been a truly fantastic year in Vegan Cookbooks. I've been eagerly watching vegan cuisine (yes, cuisine) transform over the last 4-5 years or so, gradually rising from the ashes of the vegetarian craze of the 80s (with those dark, grey, nutty, vegetable-y recipe photos that hold absolutely zilch appeal to me) and various health food fads and transforming into something that stands on its own two feet as a legitimate, wonderful, decadent, and achievable way of eating. Plus, it has all the benefits of saving the world, and letting our morals and common-sense do the talking AND walking.
I realise there have been wonderful cookbook authors putting out criminally underrated, but solid releases over the last 15 years or so (hello, Bryanna Clark Grogan), but the new-found popular interest in Vegan Food perpetuated by well-meaning, but vapid celebrities and their blink-and-you'll-miss-it holier-than-thou (WOW, a double hyphenation, The Academic is shaking his head at me as he proof-reads this very sentence, I just know it) dietary choices are putting us in the spotlight. "Is honey-teriyaki turducken, like, vegan?". Coupled with the powers of this new-fandangled internet thingy, with its widespread access to forums, social networking and grassroots communication, driven by authors like Isa Chandra Moskowitz encouraging open-sharing of recipes and techniques, well, we're really soaring forward collectively.
No matter what your preferred style of eating, and your interest, or lackthereof, in the healthiness of the food you're eating, there's something in this year's Best of The Best - Top 5 Vegan Cookbooks Of The Year - edition for everyone. Trust me - you will have your mind blown by every one of these cookbooks, and their respective authors' back-catalogues. They're essential. I would even go so far as to say they are my favourite cookbooks of all time (with the addition of Dreena Burton's "Eat, Drink and Be Vegan").
Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson
Make: Skillet-Baked Panko Cutlets. This is actually the best thing I've ever cooked. Ever. Juicy, delicious home-made cutlets, breaded, fried and served with a rich tomato sauce. BUT MAKE EVERYTHING FROM THIS BOOK. EVERYTHING.
Celebrate Vegan by Dynise Balcavage
Make: I'm going to have to break with convention here, and recommend the Curry Cashew Casserole (And everything else) from Dynise's first book, "The Urban Vegan". It's unfaultable, so healthy, and so easy to put together and bake.
World Vegan Feast by Bryanna Clark Grogan
Make: Maple Chocolate Shoofly Pie. The Academic asks for this every second day (without fail). So quick to make and like a delicious, rich, brown-sugar textured chocolate custard - in a pie.
The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions by Celine Steen & Joni Marie Newman
Make: Meat-free balls. Triple the batch. Really. So, so, so, satisfying, umami, more-ish and customisable. Using either tomato paste or apple-sauce, you completely change the flavour.
Vegan Pie in The Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
Make: Duh. You've probably made everything already, twice!
What are your favourite recipes and cookbooks? Is there something you think I've not made, that I must?