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Savour the rich flavours of our greens


Oriental twist: butternut squash laksa from Root & Leaf

Chef Rich Harris focuses on vegetables in his new cookbook - despite not being a veggie himself. Ella Walker gives her verdict on Root & Leaf.

Who will love it?

Veggies, vegans (although check the ingredient lists), flexitarians and those bored of their standard sides. For instance, steamed broccoli is fine, but chargrilled and topped with miso? Now that's a jazzed-up side dish.

What is it trying to get us cooking?

Big, bold vegetarian food it says on the cover, and it's tough to disagree with the statement. It starts with some, quite frankly, decadent breakfasts (carrot cake granola, sweetcorn French toast with blueberries), before moving onto intriguing nibbles (flatbreads with feta and sticky aubergines) and mains that will make you forget meat even exists (butternut squash laksa, Singapore noodles fragrant with coconut milk, fennel tarte fine). But Harris is clear, just because this a book dedicated to vegetables, that doesn't make it healthy: in fact, he's put veggies first and made them incredibly indulgent, without tofu in sight.

How easy is it to use?

There are some recipes that call for a whole string of ingredients, which can be intimidating (although they are all mostly easy to get hold of), while others involve processes that beginner cooks may struggle with (making honeycomb, curing egg yolks, salt baking, deep frying pommes dauphines). However, a large chunk of the ideas are straightforward to put together at home.

The best recipe is...

A close call between the halloumi with chilli and mint pesto and the grilled corn salad with feta and burnt chilli dressing.

Overall rating:

7/10 - not accessible to all, but seriously gives vegetables their due, which is very welcome.

Root & Leaf by Rich Harris, Kyle Books, £19.99

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Oriental twist: butternut squash laksa from Root & Leaf