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The List's resident foodies lost through a jungle of cookery books in search of quick and easy cuisine.


Fast Whole Food: Healthy Meals in under 40 Minutes Maria Middlestead (Hodder & Stoughton £8.95) Salman and Ella Piat D’Or were due for dinner in an hour. Bags of time, I thought, leafing through Maple Muddlehead’s copiously unillustrated flapback. ‘Feel comfortable and enjoy yourself,‘ she says, ‘take the time ifnecessary to change your shoes and clothes, even have a quick shower, maybe pour yourself a glass of wine , put on some fine music and savour all phases of the experience.’ I did as encouraged but time was pressing on though I smelled sweet as I jitterbugged to a Dire Strait’s sonata and slurped VAT a la Keith Floyd. I leafed for a menu and found ‘Indian Dinner’ a rather romantically titled little number, I thought, just the thing to remind Salman of the hot foothills of home. It looked a dawdle: lentil balls, tofu sauce, lemon and ginger salad. Forty minutes from now it would be on the table. I set the stop-watch. ’The lentils require two hours

soaking. . . This was a setback. But

RESTAURANT Tue—Sat (evenings only) 'l‘able d'l-Iote and a la Carte menus BRASSERIE Seven days: lunchtimes and evenings. Wide range of meals available.


10! Maple has the answer: ifcaught short substitute one ingredient with another. How neat! Instead oflentil balls we‘d have spaghetti bols. I did as Maple says and put spag, water. parsley, chopped chillis, coriander. etcetera (a thimbleful) into the blender, took a slurp of VAT. and pressed the button. You could have

launched a space shuttle quieter. But .

eventually the machine had unstarched the spag, though it was still a bit gritty, and it was time to start frying. The oil had to be 180 degrees but I didn’t do a finger test. While five or six balls were sizzling I got to work on the salad. ‘Marinate‘, says Maple. What? For how long? The bell went: ‘Twas Salman and Ella and I still hadn’t managed to look up tofu in the dictionary. I introduced them to Vladimir from Warrington and jumped back into the frying pan.

The balls were coming apart and beginning to singe but I tended to the salad which now she tells me! has to be chilled. Into the freezer with it

. r «Mr -- 3: ,._ m?‘ It“ . \.'. ,' d

powder, cumin powder and herb salt. Where am I going to get Savoury Tofu Whip at 8 o’clock on a Saturday night? Maple rides to the rescue again: yoghurt will do instead and I have a fridge full of raspberry Ski. Into the blender it all goes and mingles aromatically with the residue of spag bols. This. says Maple, is how creative new recipes are born. I spoon out and read: ‘serve at room temperature.‘ Which room? By now Steve Davis could pot the spag bols and the salad is like plate glass. ‘Don‘t panic’. advises Maple. ‘Anyone fancy a Chinkie?’ asks I. ‘Ifwe hurry we might catch one still open.‘ (Alan Taylor)


Madhur Jailrey's Far Eastern Cookery (BBC £7.95) Madhur Jaffrey is famous both on TV and through her ' books for her down-to-earth demystification of foreign cuisines, so testing her new book is probably unnecessary the recipes are bound to work. More demanding might be the search for the necessary ingredients.

The dishes in this book are the sort

and on with the tofu. ‘Combine all the ingredients’, says Maple. viz, Savoury Tofu Whip, coconut

of thing it would be good to be able to produce for dinner parties but which, once your store cupboard was stocked up with exotic ingredients,



What’s new in Glasgow and Edinburgh eafing?


I Bab Ha's 53 Ilutchesons Street,()4l 55315-15. Mon—Sun noon—2pm;

7—1 1pm. A bar'restaurant and pensione opened towards the end of last year and already a popular ‘local‘ for Merchant (‘ity and business folk alike. The comfortable timber- panelled bar serves excellent bar food. menu changes daily. whilst downstairs the restaurant concentrates on Scottish fish and game. (£25) IJanssens 1355 Argyle Street. 334 9682. Mon—Sun 9am—midnight. Situated across from the Kelvingrove Art (iallery. this cafe/restaurant proves very popular after Sunday afternoon promenades. However. the good selection of fresh food and


the friendly atmosphere should be experienced any day of the week. (£12)

I Basil‘s Vegetarian Cale 184 Dumbarton Road. 337 l-ilo. Mort—'I‘liurs Ham—9.30pm; Fri—Sat 11am— ll).3(ipm. ('loscd Sundays. Run as a workers' co-opcrativc. it provides a wide selection of whole and vegetarian foods as well asorganic wines and coffee. Food is tasty. well presented and as proof. booking is recommended at weekends. (£16) I Chadi's 170 Bath Street. 3312257..\Ion-7Sat Ham—midnight. A stylish new bar and restaurant tucked under one of Bath Street‘s tow n houses. The atmosphere is relaxed. if not laid back. which belies the fact that the busiest area of town is round the corner. At night. lively. (£11) I Miller Street Catering Co 61 Miller Street. 226 5368. Mon—-l-'ri Sam- lilpm; Sat—Sun9arn~1tlpm. A combined deli. bar and restaurant offers croissants to take home. A selection of beers and beverages. or more substantial dishes with a continental edge to satisfy even the most undecided. (£16)


IThe French Institute 13 Randolph Crescent. 225 5366. Mon—Fri

12.3(l- 2.3(lpm; coffee and

snacksonly 5.3(L-ls’3ilprn. The basement cafe ofthe Institute and its vista over the Water of 1.eith have been opened to the public. (’afe tables. a daily changing menu and an unmistakable air of savoir-faire are the imported ingredients. The quiet atmosphere and low prices may represent the Scottish input. Definitely worth a trip before it gets taken over by that lot from (’harlottc Square.

I The Traverse Cate (irassmarket. 226 2633. Tue—Sun food 1 lam—8pm; bar closed in the afternoon. Revamped to resemble a w ell-worn 'l'uscan villa. the Traverse cafe has been taken over by (iill Farmer and Andrew Kerr who last fed audiences at the l‘ilmhouse restaurant. At the Traverse. they are hoping to encourage a lunchtime clientele with their reasonably-priced menu (nothing over £2.50) of interesting hot dishes, soups. salads and lots of home baking. Post-theatre suppers may appear if there is thespian demand.

I Casa Espanola 109 Hanover Street. 220-1854. Mon Sat 12.3(l-2.3(ipm and 7~- 10.30pm. Smart. plush restaurant in the cosy space ('ousteau's used to occupy. Delicacies of an lberian nature with a menu stretching from sopa to helados, all fairly reasonably priced.

you could easily, healthily, and divertingly find yourself eating every day. I decided to cook a Thai curry with glutinous rice, and try Japanese stuffed mushrooms for straters. I managed to track down all but one of the ingredients specified (in a Chinese supermarket and in Safeways) so it is possible.

I ended up eating rather late as some things required a lot of preparation and waiting about, but the resulting feast was well worth it and really rather sophisticated. The Japanese mushrooms were dead easy and quick. Since most ofthe recipes can be cooked on one ring, this is the ideal book for a nascent foodie student. You can even dispense with the cutlery if you want to be authentic. (Lucy Bailey)

ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS Vegetarian Student Jenny Baker (Faber £2.95) Somehow people expect vegetarians to be peaky-looking, have bags under the eyes which are scoopy enough to accommodate five pounds of potatoes and a drawly, protein-lacking way ofspeaking. This is especially true of vegetarian students. This paperback, unprotected by hard. spill-proof cover, tells you how to cook and eat like one. It‘s hard to imagine, given the above, why anyone would want to but there we are.

The basics are pasta, pancakes, rice, pulses, potatoes and the ‘anytime breakfast’ (another slur on the student reputation). Then there is soup, eggs and pudding. True to the (again assumed) tradition of cheat, cheap and fast-food cooking of academic life, there are such delights as peanut butter soup, eggs baked in mashed potato and grated cheese. It’s all challenging, innovative stuff.

I decided to test out the Tasty Italian Tomato Sauce For Pasta. The recipe was, frankly, daunting. Somehow I managed to open a can of Italian tomatoes, add a pinch of pepper, a pinch ofsalt and a pinch of oregano. Following the instructions on the side of the pasta packet proved even more challenging. Boiling a pan of water really took me to my culinary limit, but the meal did, I‘m pleased to say, take shape and it was much enjoyed by the collectively Tory-voting, disapproving-parents company.

Jenny Baker assumes a slight mother-knows-best and we-all- know-about-students tone which might be helpful to the floundering. All in all, it‘s a book for beginners who haven’t even started.

(Kristina Woolnough)


The Student's Cookbook Jenny Baker (Faber & Faber, £2.95) My Grandmother, a straight-backed Highlander from a large family that terrorised Edinburgh with their

eccentricity, made us hash. She was

the nearest thing to aristocracy my family has known and her talent for

58 The List 10 23 February