Even though I am an avid fan of steak, my partner is very much vegetarian and has been for over 5 years. When we started dating, we bought this book because although we both love cooking, I had no idea what to cook a vegetarian for dinner. From the first page, this book had us hooked and our mouths were watering. This book is totally different to the "standard" vegetarian cookbook as it deviates away from the traditional soup + comfort food + meat recipe without meat or homely old style or one pot cooking aspects you usually find in the genre. Brooks-Brown looks around the world chapter by chapter and includes only recipes which are traditionally vegetarian, replicating them to make them accessible to home kitchens. As a non-vegetarian I think this is refreshing because I don't get the feeling that "although that dish is divine, it would be better with meat" - the dishes are supposed to be meat free and taste best that way.
We have cooked almost half the recipes, and all but one was simply superb (the one was our fault - we left the rice cooking too long). Generally, the recipes aren't quick and easy, so we use them when we have time to spend an hour or more making dinner. However, the effort you spend is represented in the rewards because the food is simply delicious. The author takes the time to explain intricate details which help to make the recipes special - including historical details for the dishes, tips to make them cook perfectly and ingredient explanations by region.
In terms of recipes, the Thai Green Curry is exquisite, the Mushroom Risotto to die for and the African banquet options are endless - our favourite is South African Dried Fruit Curry with Pacha Rice, a rice and vermicelli mix which is delightful to make and to eat, and which everyone raves about! Other favourites are the Walnut Pasta, Lemon and Herb Fettuccini, Ethiopian Chickpea Stew, the Argentinean Easter Torte, and Welsh Breakfast Sausages. Brooks-Brown has managed to make complex dishes with complex flavours easily achievable at home. The book has emphasis on cooking from scratch, so be prepared to chop herbs and grind spices to make intricate flavours balance beautifully. I don't think it is easy to try all the recipes in this book -some of the ingredients are hard to find, even with good access to Asian/Indian/African supermarkets and arguably Australia's best fresh produce market less than 15 minutes from home as I have here in Melbourne. This is a consequence of the authenticity and indigenous accuracy of the recipes.
Every time we get this book out, my partner's parents develop a keen interest in the smells and sounds of the kitchen and they always want a taste of whatever results! We've been told "you guys are wonderful cooks!" but all credit must go to this book. We have a stack (about 20) of other vegetarian recipe books lying around and this one is easily the best for authentic restaurant quality dishes. It has become somewhat of a food bible around the house.