- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Pavilion Books (Sept. 12 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1862059861
- ISBN-13: 978-1862059863
- Product Dimensions: 19.5 x 2.8 x 25.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #595,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Pulse: truly modern recipes for beans, chickpeas and lentils, to tempt meat eaters and vegetarians alike Hardcover – Sep 12 2013
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About the Author
Jenny Chandler studied Spanish and Catalan at Bristol and Barcelona Universities. After training at Leith's School of Food and Wine she worked as a chef on a luxury yacht based in the Mediterranean and in Barcelona. Jenny currently runs the Plum Cooking school in Bristol and teaches regularly in London and Bath. She has made television appearances for BBC, ITV and Carlton Food Network. She is a highly respected Spanish food consultant for restaurants in London, Barcelona and Madrid. She is the author of The Food of Northern Spain, The Real Taste of Spain and Pulse (all published by Pavilion).
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I did not grow up eating beans. Once a week, a can of kidney beans was emptied into a pound of ground beef, plus a can of corn and a can of green beans and a can of tomato soup, to feed a family of four for dinner—thank goodness my father insisted on a chopped onion going into the mix, too. That was the extent of my bean experience until I started cooking for myself. As I experimented with beans, (they were cheap and my wallet was usually empty), I soon learned that beans need a lot of help in the flavor department. Once I taught myself how to add layer upon layer of herb and spice flavors to my bean dishes, I learned to love beans. There are so many ways to incorporate them into your diet!
And that is what I like about this book: The author uses LOTS of herbs and spices and layers them on. Why it is a bit of a disappointment: Being British, she has included very many chickpea and lentil recipes. There are quite a lot of Indian-inspired dishes as well. The book is missing the wonderful bean varieties that are available in the US now. It is also missing the interesting varieties that I find on the shelves of my favorite Asian market. Plus, she doesn’t get into the nuances of the individual bean varieties. And she does not mention why this or that bean would work better or worse than another. So, how much you like this cookbook may depend on how much you like chickpeas and lentils…. Or how many recipes you already have for chickpeas and lentils….
The author has a very nice, personable, style of writing. The ingredient lists are down-to-earth and not a mile long. Instructions are understandable and leave room for creativity. There is a good amount of helpful general information, info on beans as baby food, sprouting beans, and sauces, salsas and seasonings to use with your bean dishes.
If you are short on time, YOU CAN STOP READING HERE, I’ve covered the basis for my four-star rating above. But if you are still undecided about this cookbook, keep on reading: I’ve included more info and listed some recipes below.
This book is not strictly vegetarian. There is a chapter dedicated to “Vegetarian Mains”. Throughout the book, you really don’t see much meat listed in the ingredient lists.
Besides listing many new dishes, the author includes her versions of well-known dishes: Falafel, farinata (chickpea flatbread), bean burgers (with variations), split pea soup, pasta fagioli, African peanut soup, Jamaican Rice and Peas, Brazilian feijoada (pork and black beans), stir-fried greens and fermented black beans, Boston baked beans, chili con carne and a cassoulet.
In addition to the main recipes, the author has incorporated a feature titled “How About?” in which she offers suggestions, alternatives and variations. It is a great feature! There are a decent amount of (fairly average) pictures of finished dishes, but there is not a picture for every dish.
Living in south Texas, I was not impressed with her British version of Mexican bean dishes.
Here are some recipes that I’ve tried and some still on my bucket list:
--The Sweet Potato and Coriander Falafel can also be used as a side dish of puree; that is how I tried it, and liked it. There is also a Butternut Squash and Mint Falafel.
--A Tomato, Rosemary and Red Lentil Soup with garlic, hot peppers and lemon;
--Here is an interesting recipe: Cannellini and Porcini Cappuccino, where the dried mushrooms are pureed along with the beans, then strained and frapped to make it totally smooth and somewhat layered. If you’ve got a milk frother, you can top the aerated soup with milk froth. It is lovely in a double-layer clear glass.
--How about fresh clams with navy beans, white wine, garlic and tomato?
--Two beautiful salads: Fresh (or frozen, thawed) edamame, melon, blueberries and chicken; and mixed beans with ginger, chopped scallion or red onions, hot peppers, tomatoes, citrus juice, basil, cilantro or other herb;
--To add to a basic white bean mash: Horseradish, Dijon or grainy mustard, herbs or parmesan;
--The author includes several variations for a basic braised bean dish: Make it a gratin with bread crumbs and cheese; add sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary; add fennel, fennel seeds and orange, or add fresh, young greens;
--We really enjoyed the Greek Baked Butter Beans with Feta, which incorporated a lot of different flavors (celery, carrot, tomato, hot pepper, vinegar, brown sugar, dill, oregano and parsley to name a few).
**I received a temporary download of this cookbook from the publisher through NetGalley. I’ve had the download in my possession for about a month before writing my review.
In the interest of full disclosure I have to admit that I haven't actually tried the recipes yet, but I'm already learning so much in terms of concepts and principles. Chandler starts at the very beginning (how to buy legumes), goes on to the basics (various soaking methods for different types of beans), and covers suggestions for how to reduce gas.
She also gives pros and cons for different cooking methods, and explains the effect that various ingredients can have on the beans and the pros and cons of adding salt or tomatoes early or late in the cooking process, for example. Personally, this may explain why some of my previous attempts kept producing rubbery little pellets. Even better, the principles here will help me indulge my habit of substituting and experimenting, without messing up the cooking time when I think I'm only enhancing the flavor.
Finally, she gives wonderful seasoning ideas, using both common and exotic ingredients. Maybe I will finally use the zatar that is hiding in my cupboard.
[Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Anova Books as part of their Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. ]
As for the range of recipes in the book, I am really excited about Jenny Chandler's diverse use of beans for different types of dishes (sides, main courses, some classics including meat, plus many vegetarian or vegan). I've been looking long and hard for a book that will deliver a big range of family friendly bean dishes that are really nutritious. The health benefits of pulses are extraordinary, and I want to include many more of these nutritional bullets in my family's menu, but I'm looking for more exciting recipes than just good old baked beans, or yet another variation of hummus, or chickpeas in a salad. This book really delivers - it is up there with my other favourites by Ottolenghi.