A world beyond the lentil

It’s almost twenty years since we published a book of recipes by Simon Hope, ‘Entertaining With Friends’. It was a book of restaurant recipes. Believe it or not, there weren’t actually that many of those kind of books around at the time. Rarer still, it was a book of vegetarian recipes. Food For Friends was a legendary institution in its day; and Simon Hope was one of the most inspiring figures on the vegetarian scene. Incredibly, Brighton was to boast a second wonderful vegetarian restaurant, one which in time would eclipse all others and be regarded far and wide as the very best in the country. That restaurant was Terre à Terre.

So, a few years ago, a publisher and his commissioning editor booked a table at this restaurant and enjoyed some of the most incredibly original and flavoursome food they could remember. Before they left, they managed to grab a few minutes with the restaurant’s owners and told them how very wonderful that meal was. They innocently asked had they ever thought about writing a book of Terre à Terre recipes. Turns out they had… just a bit. Another meal and another meeting later and a few ideas had been batted around and fleshed out (if you’ll pardon the non-vegetarian expression). Handshakes all round and Terre à Terre owners Amanda Powley and Phil Taylor were about to embark on their first book together.

And it was quite some time in the making. But then restaurant recipe books so often are: there is much to think about when putting to page recipes that will work in a home kitchen as effectively as they do a restaurant kitchen… but work effectively they did. Reading through the recipes was every bit as unique an experience as a visit to the place itself. The fun and curiously named dishes that appeared on the restaurant menus were uncompromisingly copied over verbatim to the book; introductions to each recipe painted an enchanting story of how ideas had come to life, how exciting flavours balanced one another in the dishes and how alternative ingredients and elements from other dishes could be brought together to take things off in a different direction. Lisa Barber came on board to photograph the food and managed to beautifully capture the sheer wit and brilliance of each and every dish over about eight days of location shooting at both the restaurant and Amanda’s home.

It was an incredibly long process, but by the winter of 2009, we had produced a book. It was a book that all of us were very proud of. It is, we believe, the best book of vegetarian restaurant recipes there is, but it is also quite simply one of the best vegetarian cookery books you’ll find. For vegetarians, it offers so many new and inspiring choices to cook. For meat eaters, it takes you to a place that is light years removed from dusty old stereotypes of lentil dishes and green salads. Above all, it is a book that gets you excited about food and about cooking, and in today’s world of cookbook publishing, that really is something to shout about. And so shouting about it we are, and since this week is National Vegetarian Week, there really is no better time to salute Terre à Terre and a cookbook which is nothing less than the perfect representation of the finest vegetarian restaurant in the country.

The Frugal Cook

Fiona Beckett’s highly praised The Frugal Cook: a wealth of fantastic recipes and a book for all who wish to avoid spending too much and want to cut out waste. Learn how to shop, source, pinch and save; when to buy and when to leave; what to store, stretch and set aside. More than 150 frugal recipes that cover breakfast and brunch, lunches and snacks, midweek suppers, weekend cook-ups and entertaining, as well as a thorough glossary of how to get the most out of ingredients and their leftovers. The Frugal Cook is a kitchen manual that no home can afford to be without: it will help you change the way you think about food for the better.

Fiona Beckett is an award-winning author and journalist who has written for most of the national press and currently has a weekly wine column in the Saturday Guardian magazine. She is the author of many books, including The Ultimate Student Cookbook, three Beyond Baked Beans student cookbooks, Sausage & Mash and Meat & Two Veg (all Absolute Press).


‘Perfectly timed for the credit crunch, Beckett cooks with inexpensive cuts of meat, buys fruit and veg seasonally when it’s cheaper, and turns leftovers into irresistible new dishes.’
The Independent

‘Definitely a good investment.’
The Daily Mail

‘…my choice for reading and cooking is The Frugal Cook. Beckett is a whiz at using leftovers and humble ingredients.’
The Times