Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Cafe Paradiso Cookbook & Paradiso Seasons by Denis Cotter

Cafe Paradiso Cookbook Paradiso Seasons

The secret, I think, of good vegetarian food is to produce a dish where there is no place for meat and, if it was there, it would be out of place.

Denis Cotter does just this.

These two cookery books have to have some of the most inspirational vegetarian recipes I have ever seen. I've had great reactions at a dinner party to the Oyster Mushrooms in Ginger Butter that I cooked from a recipe in the Cafe Paradiso Cookbook, and I have to agree with them, and the Sweet Chilli Fried Tofu with Leek and Coconut Broth from the second book managed to convince a meat-eating friend of mine that there is a place for tofu on this earth.

In both books he produces superb, complete dishes that really show what can be done with vegetables. Of the two books, I prefer the first one (Cafe Paradiso Cookbook) but the difference between the two is pretty marginal. The recipes are imaginative, colourful and above all, tasty. Some of them are a bit fiddly, but the effort is rewarded when you tuck into the finished dish.

I've been lucky enough to eat at his restaurant, and it is well worth a visit. And while you're there, stock up on the various local ingredients to use in the recipes when you get home.

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