Trying to choose a recipe out of Luscious Vegetarian, a new and most fabulous cookbook by Sonia Cabano and Jade de Waal, was rather difficult for me to do. I eventually settled on their ‘Greek walnut shortbread’ recipe because this is one of my all-time favourite baked things, and I was in the mood to do some baking.
Before we get onto this exquisite recipe, which I feel so privileged to share on Drizzle & Dip, I want to talk a bit about this book.
I grew up in an era where vegetarian eating was not at all mainstream, and making a variety of delicious meat-free meals was challenging. Seeking out restaurants that catered for vegetarians was also difficult and this I knew only too well as my older sister decided to become one at age 16. Thank goodness the times have changed and vegetables and vegetarianism are fully mainstream now.
Despite this, many vegetarian recipe books have a distinct ‘hippy’ vibe to them with a focus on very wholesome earthy recipes that often require complicated cooking techniques. Luscious Vegetarian is not anything like that. Its fresh, modern and has a set of recipes that will appeal to a health-conscious eater as well as a person looking for a delicious non-meat feast. It has a bit of everything in it. The recipes are all entirely manageable and most will slot perfectly into any person’s busy schedule.
Beautifully styled by Brita du Plessis and photographed by Sean Calitz, the images make you want to jump into each page and scoop out the contents. I love the way the chapters are arranged into: quick, light, pure, feast, relax, bake, and basic. Each chapter is filled with recipes that entice you to want to run into the kitchen and make.
I can’t wait to try the falafel with tahini in a pita, the potato chive, and pea pancakes, the ricotta puffs with honey & almonds, and the wild mushroom lasagne (amongst many others). This is an inspiring vegetarian cookbook for the vegevore and the carnivore alike.
I’m lucky enough to know both the authors – Sonia Cabano and her niece Jade de Waal, and this book is a heartwarming family collaboration between these two wonderful women.
Sonia lived in London and Europe for 12 years, training at various famous restaurants. After returning to South Africa she ran a successful catering business in Cape Town with numerous high-profile clients and worked as a freelance stylist and journalist for various South African publications. Currently, in demand as a demonstration chef, she is a very busy working mother of two young children. Sonia is the author of Easy, Simple & Delicious and Relish, also by Struik Lifestyle. Luscious Vegetarian is Sonia’s fourth cookbook.
Jade is a jazz music student with a passion for food. During her matric year, she started to Eat Your Heart Out, a ‘made for the web’ cooking show. Jade also hosts regular ‘Food Jams’ at which attendees are invited to improvise and explore their cookery skills. Jade reached the Top 9 contestants in the first season of MasterChef South Africa and was aptly named the quirkiest contestant.
Recipe | makes 24 – 26 biscuitsPrint
Greek shortbread biscuits
Delicious Greek shortbread biscuits (cookies) with walnuts (or almonds).
250g unsalted butter (I used salted)
11og icing sugar sifted twice, plus extra for dusting
1t vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk (free-range of course)
300g cake flour sifted
1/2 t baking powder
90g walnuts, very finely chopped (I used almonds here instead)
2T orange flower water (I left this out as I could not find this ingredient and they still tasted amazing, I can only imagine that this would have added an extra lovely layer of flavour)
Preheat the oven to 160 C and line your baking trays with baking paper or silicone baking sheets. I managed to get this onto 1 large tray, but you could use 3 smaller ones.
Beat the butter until it is pale and fluffy, then add the icing sugar, vanilla extract, and egg yolk. Beat until well combined.
Add the flour, baking powder, and nuts and stir until these are incorporated.
Roll tablespoons of dough into sausage shapes, and then bend into a half-moon shape. Place them 3 cm apart on the baking tray and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until light golden brown.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the orange flower water and then dust with the icing sugar while they are still warm. Once they are cool, dust with more icing sugar. Store in an airtight container, and I guarantee that they won’t last for long.
Keywords: Greek, shortbread, biscuits, cookies, walnuts,
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