I think I am going to become very good friends with the Vegan Food Pimp.
I own a lot of cookbooks, but most just sit there looking beautiful; pretty spines all in a row. Only a few ever get opened, and even fewer get used regularly. But it’s going to be different with the Vegan Food Pimp, and I knew it the second I opened it…
Lynn Nicholson cooks with love, and she writes with love too. It grabs you and pulls you close as soon as you start to read. A treasure trove of words and pictures, the Vegan Food Pimp is no ordinary cookbook… Rather, it’s a story, a family photo album, and a scrapbook. You see, there is no Vegan Food Pimp without Jacob’s Ridge; the animal sanctuary that Lynn created with her family in Murcia, in south-east Spain. And the Vegan Food Pimp cookbook is the story of that. Tales of the Ridge animals sit snuggled between the recipes, and you’ll find an involuntary smile spreading across your lips as you flick through the pages.
Most of Lynn’s food was created at the Ridge; served up in huge bowls to the army of compassionate volunteers who flock to the sanctuary every summer. This is soul food in the truest sense – wholesome, hearty and comforting. Real food that you want to make and, more importantly, want to eat. And that’s why I know it’s going to be regularly propped on my kitchen counter.
The filo parcels have already become a ‘go-to’ meal in our house, last served up for my niece’s 18th birthday, and filled with mac & cheese. A total hit with the meat-eaters in the family, who had no idea that vegan food could be so indulgent! Another firm favourite is the tagine, which is flavour-packed and warming on these cooler autumn nights, and can be easily adapted to include all of that leftover veg in your fridge.
What I like most about this cookbook is that it contains the sort of food that families actually eat, not some posh nosh with hard-to-find ingredients and about a million elements. Lynn’s love of food (and life!) is contagious, and she chats to you like a friend throughout; encouraging you to cook with a sense of joy and fun, and to give things a try.
If you’ve stayed at Jacob’s Ridge then this book is a must. But if you haven’t, please don’t be put off. Because what you’ll get is a snapshot into a very magical world, created by beautiful people and filled with truly gorgeous animals. It will inspire you, delight you, and reward you over and over again. It’s a book about life, a book about food, and a book about love. My copy’s already got food stains on it. And I’m pretty sure Lynn will take that as a compliment.