Greenfeast: Spring, Summer

[A Cookbook]

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110 vegetarian spring and summer recipes that provide nourishing and simple plant-based suppers while paying homage to the warm seasons—from the beloved author of Tender.

Greenfeast: Spring, Summer is an eclectic and comprehensive collection of recipes, perfect for people who want to eat less meat, but don’t want to compromise on flavor and ease of cooking. With Nigel Slater’s famous one-line recipe introductions, the recipes are quick and easy and inspire you to dip into your pantry for ingredients.

Inventive recipes showcase the creative ingredients used such as Asparagus, Broad Beans & Eggs; Ricotta, Orange Blossom & Cherries; and Halloumi, Melon & Chile and provide a plant-based guide for those who wish to eat with the seasons.

Under the Cover

An excerpt from Greenfeast: Spring, Summer

Introduction


There is a little black book on the kitchen table. Neatly annotated in places, virtually illegible in others, it is the latest in a long line of tissue-thin pages containing the handwritten details of everything I eat. This is not one of the kitchen chronicles where I write down recipe workings and shopping lists, ideas and wish lists, but a daily diary of everything that ends up on my plate. If I have yogurt, blackcurrant compote, and pumpkin seeds at breakfast, it will be in that little book. Likewise, a lunch of green lentils and grilled red peppers or a dinner of roast cauliflower and a bowl of miso soup. Each bowl of soup, plate of pasta, and every mushroom on toast is faithfully logged. I don’t know exactly why or when I started noting down my dinner, but these little books are now filled in out of habit as much as anything else. The notes are often made at night, just before I lock up and go to bed. I suspect my little black books will be buried with me.

I occasionally look back at what I have written, often as I change one journal for the next. One of the points that interests me, and perhaps this is the main reason I have kept the daily ritual going for so long, is that I can follow how my eating has changed, albeit gradually, over the years. There are of course unshakable edibles (I seem to have started and ended each day’s eating with a bowl of yogurt for as long as I can remember), but I also find marked changes in what I cook and eat. The most notable is the quantity—I definitely eat less than I used to—and there is a conspicuous move toward lighter dishes, particularly in spring and summer.


But here’s another thing. Despite being resolutely omnivorous, it is clear how much of my everyday eating has become plant-based. Although not strictly vegetarian (the bottom line for me will always be that my dinner is delicious, not something that must adhere to a set of strict dietary rules), much of my weekday eating contains neither meat nor fish. I am not sure this was a particularly considered choice. It is simply the way my eating has grown to be over the last few years. I do know, however, that I am not alone in this.

Greenfeast, like Eat before it, is a collection of what I eat when I finish work every day: the casual yet spirited meals with which I sustain myself and whoever else is around. The recipes are, like those in previous collections, more for inspiration than rules to be adhered to, slavishly, word for word. But unlike Eat, this collection offers no meat or fish. The idea of collecting these recipes together is for those like-minded eaters who find themselves wanting inspiration for a supper that owes more to plants than animals.

HOW I EAT

I rarely hand someone a plate full of food. More hospitable and more fun, I think, is a table that has a selection of bowls and dishes of food to which people can help themselves. And that goes for a dinner for two or three as much as for a group of family or friends. That way, the table comes to life, food is offered or passed around, a dish is shared, and the meal is instantly more joyful.

In summer there will be a couple of light, easily prepared principal dishes. Alongside those will be some sort of accompaniment. There may be wedges of toasted sourdough, glossy with olive oil and flakes of sea salt. Noodles that I have cooked, often by simply pouring boiling water over them, then tossed in a little toasted sesame oil and cilantro leaves, or an all-singing-and-dancing Korean chile paste.

A dish of red pepper soup might sit alongside a plate of fried eggplants and feta. Crisp pea croquettes may well be placed on the table with tomato and French bean salad. Southeast Asian noodles might be eaten with roast spring vegetables and peanut sauce, and a mild dish of creamed and grilled cauliflower could turn up with a spiced tomato couscous. Two dishes, often three, are very much the usual at home. I find the thought of being able to dip into several dishes uplifting in comparison to a single plate piled high.

Much of what I cook in the spring and summer is exceptionally light, by which I mean it is unlikely to be carb-heavy or based on dairy. There are a few things that come out on a regular basis. Bowls of yogurt that have been mixed with chopped mint and cilantro, a splash of rice vinegar, and chives. There are often some lightly pickled vegetables: usually carrots, beet, or red onions. A tangle of sauerkraut turned with an equal volume of chopped herbs, or a tomato and basil salad. Like migratory birds, these are regular visitors to my summer table. There will be others too. Perhaps some rice with crisped onions and cilantro or noodles tossed with crushed tomatoes, sea salt, and red wine vinegar. There may be a dish of couscous with mint, golden raisins, and green peas, or new potatoes with olive oil, tarragon, and lemon zest.


It is no secret that I have a deep affection for the cold months, but my love of summer cooking, its ease and laidback feeling, is not far behind. There are highlights that turn up on the table from May to September and often beyond. A few pieces of melon rolled in the juice of a passion fruit for breakfast. A deep cup of miso soup with shreds of spring greens and lemon for lunch. The uppermost points of early summer asparagus tossed with ground sesame seeds and a trickle of toasted oil to accompany a salad of sprouted seeds and green peas. A single misshapen ball of burrata with an emerald ribbon of basil oil, or a cucumber, crushed and scattered with cool ricotta and mint leaves, next to a bowl of avocado and green wheat. The list is almost endless.

The recipes throughout the book are light. They are meant to be mixed and matched as you wish. A table with several little bowls of light, unfussy food to please and delight and, ultimately, gently sustain.

- About the author -

Nigel Slater is an award-winning author, journalist, and television presenter. He has been food columnist for The Observer Magazine for over twenty-five years. His collection of bestselling books includes the classics Appetite and The Kitchen Diaries and the critically acclaimed two-volume Tender. He has made cooking shows and documentaries for BBC1, BBC2, and BBC4. His memoir Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger won six major awards and is now a film and stage production. His writing has won the James Beard Award, the National Book Award, the Glenfiddich Trophy, the André Simon Memorial Prize, and the British Biography of the Year. He lives in London.

More from Nigel Slater

Greenfeast: Spring, Summer

[A Cookbook]

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Greenfeast: Spring, Summer

— Published by Ten Speed Press —