Author: Vi Ve
As a self confessed Masterchef fan, I was beyond thrilled when Masterchef 2011 top 4 finalist Jackie Kearney released her first cook book in 2015 called Vegan Street Food: Foodie Travels from India to Indonesia. This book was inspired by Jackie's travels to Asia over the years and the various regions travelled. The sections of the book's recipes are divided by the various countries visited which include: India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia.
This brilliant and inspiring cookbook has been on my bookshelf since it was released I'm afraid to say, but I had diligently bookmarked the recipes that I wanted to cook but have only recently got around to executing and sampling. Each photo is beautifully presented and arranged, with easy to follow recipes that are visually pleasing and the recipes I have tried so far have been a joy to make and have delighted the whole family!
Jackie chronicles her journey of how she has fused her love of food, cooking and travelling, with snippets of how she has created the recipes and the memories associated. The end result is this book which seamlessly brings recipes, anecdotes and travelling together simultaneously, which took me on an exceptional journey of varying countries. This invoked my own memories of travels around Asia, stoking the fires of inspiration for my next trip - positive thoughts and energy much needed in times of this COVID-19 lockdown.
As someone who has also traveled Asia extensively and is aware of the delights and pitfalls that come with being a vegan/vegetarian in Asia, it has been great finding vegan recipes for traditional and much loved dishes such as Thailand's pad ka prao and Vietnam's bahn mi. Jackie who has mostly been vegetarian for over 25 years, understands flavour and balance, which is paramount in Asian cooking. My favourite dish so far is the Thai Marmalade tofu with chilli and cashews, simple to make and very satisfying - so delicious I had it twice in one week!
Jackie is now an accomplished and award winning author with four impressive cookbooks (I also have the Christmas cookbook called Vegan Christmas Feasts and it's also a wonderful read).
Following her successful stint on Masterchef, her spirit and ambition lay with street food and vegan/vegetarian dining, which motivated her to create a mobile food trailer in 2012 named Barbarella, which she has toured the UK with feeding the masses exciting, tasty and innovative creations. Jackie also works as a personal chef, runs a consultancy service and a supper club.
This book is great not only for vegans or vegetarians but for everyone! Good food transcends barriers of specific food groups, diets and lifestyle choices, all everyone really wants is something that excites the palette and tastes superb - you get that with this book. Jackie's need to create delicious and exciting dishes that you want to cook and devour has been accomplished.
"I love everything about street food. I love the accessibility of it, the array of flavours and spices, the fresh preparation of ingredients and most of all, the opportunities this gives for creating great dishes, regardless of whether it's vegetarian or not. It's simply about producing an amazing plate of food for people to enjoy." - Jackie Kearney