It’s been a while that I want to write about the beautiful book, ’The vibrant table’ Recipes From My Always Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan & Sometimes Raw Kitchen written by Anya Kassoff. I bought it in July, before leaving on holiday and I took it with me as inspiration for my journey: it has been one of the most delightful books I have ever seen !
Golubka kitchen was one of the first blogs I fell in love with when I decided to change my eating style. What impressed me was its originality and Anya’s love for food. The book shows the same love, but maybe even at a higher level.
Anya starts her books with some words about her and her relationship with food. Nothing special maybe, but when you grew up in the USSR, food had to be a part of you: queuing in the shop for a ‘block’ of butter or a kilo of sugar makes you not only realize how important food is, but it becomes also a way of living. All these memories Anya translated so well through her recipes and the warm stories around them.
Even if it is not a book about traditional food, some recipes include lighter interpretations of familiar classics (pizza, pancakes, muffins). You will be impressed by some good looking and interesting ingredients, of what you have, maybe, never heard before but which make a healthy choice and an original meal. You have the feeling that Anya is sitting next to you making her recipes and telling you how she re-discovered them. Most of them are part of her childhood, made by her maternal grandmother Nina or her mother, but which went through a lot of changes to become the ones we see now in her book. I was pleased to find the recipes my mother (who is also of Russian origin) made us when we were kids, like apple and carrot salad but which Anya gave an original touch by adding an interesting sauce or like cottage cheese cake, which made me want to try it directly the day after I received the book.
Anya has a great talent of combining ingredients and of getting the most appealing and colourful salads I have ever seen in a cooking book. Strawberries and peas, peaches and zucchini, radishes and raspberries: her combinations are original, seasonal and so fresh!
I like the way Paloma and Masha, her daughters, are present in this book: while Masha gets the role of a talented photographer, Paloma is the one who takes part in making some delightful biscuits or green vegetables shake. Before, I wouldn’t have dared to mix chocolate and green vegetable to offer the most healthy and delicious shake to my daughters. Anya’s book is more than a cooking book: her food education towards her daughters makes the mothers reading this book change something in their daily cooking way.
One of the recipes which intrigued me when I first open this book was Anya’s oat yogurt, which became part of my daily life. The chocolate cake and zucchini pancakes are the favourite of my daughters and her dessert with chickpeas has opened my eyes on how versatile chickpeas can be. I owe a lot to this book and even though I bought it some months ago, this is without any doubts, one of my favourite food related story books which I look into several times per week.
The unique recipes, the page layout, the stunning photography and the rustic touch make from this book a must in your collection you would want to read cover to cover and you will come back again and again.
All the dishes are interesting, but my favourite ones are the chocolate/buckwheat bars and the amaranth pumpkin porridge. But if I have to pick up a recipe from this book, I would definitely choose apple and carrot breakfast salad, as I have too many memories linked to this meal. This is something really easy to make, but so tasteful. This salad is a confirmation that cheap and easy to find ingredients can also make something delicious and healthy!
For the dressing:
6 TbSp almnd butter
6 TbSp water
4 TbSp honey
1/2 TSp bee polen
1 TSp ground cinnamon
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
For the salad
3 medium firm apples, peeled, cored and shredded
3 small to medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup raisins, soaked overnight, then drained
1. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
2. In a large bawl, combine the salad ingredients and pour the dressing over, mixing well. Distribute the salad among bowls and serve.