Vegetarian cookery has been a made a whole lot easier with the launch of Veggie Comfort Food at Lower Shaw Farm on 6 September.
Food writer and nutritional therapist Josephine Ashby has brought together more than 100 hearty meals that are fuss-free, quick to make and full of flavour. Known to visitors to the farm in West Swindon as Josie, she was asked by National Trust director of publishing Katie Bond to come up with simple recipes that anybody can follow.
Katie said: “If ever there was a book grounded in its community, it’s Josie’s Veggie Comfort Food. In my former role with Bloomsbury Publishing I had a lot of contact with Matt Holland as director of the Swindon Festival of Literature. When I joined the National Trust and started to visit the HQ in Swindon, I stayed at Lower Shaw where I discovered Matt also ran the farm with Andrea Hirsch.
“After several visits I started to realise what fantastic, delicious vegetarian dishes were being served and started thinking a recipe book would be a great addition to the National Trust offer, a book that would appeal to vegetarians, vegans and people who are just having a meat-free Monday.
“Andrea suggested I talk to Josie who had been preparing vegetarian dishes for the hundreds of people who visit the farm each year. And two years on, we have such a brilliant book, based on a great story going back many years.”
Matt commented: “The recipes have all been tried and tested over the last 30 years. In fact the roots of the book can be traced back to an old Morris Minor van parked at the market in Swindon town centre selling vegetables grown at Lower Shaw. This evolved into the Swindon Pulse shop in Curtis Street, a cooperative which is celebrating its fortieth year.”
Josie’s approach is based on the idea that food is one of the great pleasures of life and at its finest, can be a feast for all the senses by proving that vegetarian meals can be appealing to the eye, delicious to the taste buds and comforting to the body.
From buckwheat and avocado pancakes and spicy sweet potato, to cannellini bean soup to courgette, fennel, potato and feta gratin, smoky vegetable goulash and polenta pizza, Veggie Comfort Food is packed with incredible new recipes for crunchy salads, small plates to share, filling main meals and mouth-watering desserts.
Josie said: “I’m so lucky to have been able to write this book; it’s the culmination of 25 years cooking. I really enjoyed bringing the recipes together and would like to thank Andrea and Matt for giving me the chance, and trusted me, to develop my experience.
“I hope the book will become an old friend which people can turn to for quick easy recipes and inspire cooks to be creative with them.” Click on the video below to hear Josie talking about her book.
Veggie Comfort Food is available at £18.99 from Swindon Pulse in Curtis Street, from the National Trust Heelis building at the Designer Outlet Centre, and from National Trust shops around Britain.