Today I share a very special post. A review and giveaway of a great friend of mine’s book. Most, if not all of you will at least know of the stunning vegan blog An Unrefined Vegan and it’s warm, creative and artistic creator and writer, Ann Oliverio, or Annie.
There are just a handful of occasions in one’s blog ‘career’ when there is a sense of real honour and sheer delight at sharing something or being part of something. This is one of those moments.
“Cayonnaise” Building Block Recipes, page 38
A little under a year ago, I received a message from Annie sharing the wonderful news that she was writing a cookbook and that she’d like me to join in the ride. I was thrilled for her venture and touched that she’d ask ‘little old me’ to be a part of it. The funny thing was, despite being virtual blogger friends for quite a while, I was actually in the US at this time and soon to travel to meet her. It was like the perfect story.
“Cashew Coconut Cream Cheez” Building Block Recipes, page 36
Annie is quite probably the most hard working blogger I know. She always has new content, be it an abundance of giveaways and detailed product or book reviews or her incredibly unique and exciting recipes. Even when, I’ve known behind the scenes, she was having sleepless nights and dreams (nightmares) about food props and photography. And lest we forget the ground breaking Virtual Vegan Potluck! She has taken on a range of projects this past year, much related to her incredibly impressive photography which she pretty much self taught and yet, none of her loyal readers would ever know the strain, and I guess that is why we are so loyal. Annie is a supporter and a friendly face that we all love to see pop up in our notifications, she takes the time to read others’ blogs and leave a comment on her way.
“Cocoa-Cinnamon French Toast” Carbs, page 72
Annie has inspired me personally, more than she will know. It is Annie who influenced and encouraged me to give stevia a shot and to bake with nut butters instead of refined oils. It is Annie who taught me that soups were more than ‘diet food’ and that you could eat unrefined as a vegan and eat deliciously. That was before this book was even on the map, and now her passion for simply good food for the taste buds, the soul and the body, will spread like wildfire across the globe with so many others finding that same inspiration as I have felt myself.
“Malted” Milk’ Creamy, page 160
Annie is an honest vegan, who is not perfect and embraces that but does her best to nourish and strengthen her body and have a green day after a chocolate overdose. She is a vegan who found this way of life as a result of her brother’s terminal brain cancer, in a bid to try and help him. Along the journey she learned the ethics beyond a ‘plant based diet’ and became a compassionate vegan who made that all important connection between her dog, Ike and the cow that once sat on her plate. One of the things I love so much about this book is how Annie addresses the difference between a person who eats vegan friendly meals on a ‘plant based’ diet yet may wear leather or eat honey; and a person who chooses their lifestyle to avoid all use of animals.
“Malted Chocolate–Orange Smoothie” Chocolate, page 99
Annie’s story will move you and it will certainly push anyone toying with taking the plunge to make a change, for whatever reason. You just can’t deny her raw truth of transition from chilli dogs and buttery popcorn to the wonderful vegan goddess she is today.
I was privileged to be a recipe tester for this incredible piece of work which is as unique as you would expect from Annie. You won’t find a salad section here but you will find chapters such as ‘Green’, ‘Creamy’, ‘Salty’, ‘Carbs’ and ‘Comfort’. No recipes in each chapter fail to calm whatever craving ails you, but with no refined sugars, flours or processed foods and only extremely minimal (coconut) oil in a handful of recipes. The recipes are also gluten free or at least with the instructions on how to make it so.
“Super Seed Dressing” Sweet, page 267
The recipes work and they are delicious and many are suitable for adaptation to use what produce you might have at hand. I’m talking the most incredibly melting-orange tinged-solid-grate-able cheese, chocolate cookies that you can actually call healthy and the most soothing Iced Maple Latte Shake (it’s worth buying the book just for that recipe, by the way). This is a reliable book that may revolutionise how you eat and make you question why you eat what and when you do. At the same time, this isn’t a diet book or a list of how and what you should be doing but a collection of recipes to soothe cravings in a whole foods and cruelty free manner. Fine by me.
“Parmesan” Cheez’ Building Block Recipes, page 54 (I used the oven and unskinned almonds hence the darker colour)
I have made almost all of the recipes in this book, both in testing phase and since going to print and I am yet to find one I don’t like. This book has the bonus of helping you to use those ingredients gaining cobwebs in the larder and with ease. Think maca powder and hemp protein – they will now come to the front.
“Mango, Pineapple, & Cucumber Smoothie” Cool, page 140
I am also excited to share that a recipe of mine is in the book, specially deigned just for the book, you won’t find it anywhere else. It’s in the (ahem..) ‘Chocolate’ chapter!
“Butternut Squash Queso” Junk, page 204
So here’s the bit you’re dying to know about – one reader who resides in the U.S. or Canada will win their very own copy of the book when it is released at the beginning of May. ALSO one international reader will win the companion e-book, Crave. Eat. Heal. Outtakes.
“Carrot-Ginger-Turmeric Steamer” Warm, page 298
Now for a delicious recipe from the book, one I loved in testing phase and the first recipe I made when I received the PDF of the finished book and so I knew it was the right recipe to share with you. It is so simple especially with a powerful blender and is the perfect quick to prepare dish even for a weeknight that is oh so special. Since I couldn’t find any buckwheat noodles that didn’t cost my bank balance, I opted to use bean thread noodles instead which simply require soaking while preparing the other elements.
Gluten-free, Oil-free, Easy
BUCKWHEAT NOODLES WITH SPICY ALMOND SAUCE
- 4 Tbsp. natural almond butter
- 1 Tbsp. white miso paste
- 1/4 cup low-sodium broth
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. garlic chile paste
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp. tamari, soy sauce, or liquid aminos
- 2 tsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated or minced
- 3 cloves garlic
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- 6-ounces (170g) buckwheat noodles
- 2 cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups snow peas
- 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cucumber, seeded and chopped
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Fresh mint, for garnish
- Chopped roasted peanuts, for garnish
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Lightly cook the asparagus, snow peas and zucchini for about 3 minutes. You want the vegetables to retain their crunch and bright color. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables and rinse with cool water – or if desired, place the vegetables in a water/ice bath for a few minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
Now add the buckwheat noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
To make the sauce, place all of the sauce ingredients in a high-speed or regular blender and process until very smooth. If desired, thin out the sauce with additional vegetable broth or water.
Combine the sauce with the noodles, the cooked vegetables and the red onion, carrot, and cucumber, and top with cilantro, mint, and peanuts.
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Recipe reprinted with permission from Ann Oliverio and Front Table Books.
Links for more information:
Links to book and ebook: