The Times calls Anna Jones the new Nigella and though the match isn’t immediately obvious (Unlike Nigella, Jones isn’t big on using cream, meat or refined sugar), they’ve actually got a point. Because yes, Jones is a vegetarian cook and food writer whose approach to what we put into our bodies is mindful, but more importantly, like Nigella, her recipes are delicious, packed with flavour and goodness, and really easy to put on a plate day-in, day-out.
Jones is not a food guru, wellness expert or instagram sensation: she is a trained cook who has worked with everyone from Jamie Oliver to Antonio Carluccio. She eschews food fads, but she does believe that making vegetables the focus of our diets is the most important thing we can do – both for our own health and that of the planet. She’s right of course. And her books show you how to do that without compromising anything else. You won’t have to spend hours at the stove; you won’t have to juice; you won’t have to feel like depriving yourself of anything, because her dishes are so complete and tasty.
We loved her first book, A Modern Way to Eat (read more about it and Jones herself here), but this new book is actually more useful on a day to day level. The chapters are divided up by how long the recipes take to cook (plus a breakfast chapter and one on puddings and treats), which is such a good idea, as finally most peoples’ overriding consideration when it comes to cooking is indeed: how long have I got? There’s a whole chapter, for example, for suppers that take 15 minutes to get onto the table. It includes an ingenious pasta dish – with kale, tomato and lemon – that you cook entirely in one dish (and it works), an addictively good pea and coconut soup, and a genius way to make Asian noodle soup that you assemble quickly, put into a screw top jar, and finish off at work using a boiling water from a kettle. But there are also chapters for things that take more time (her honey and white miso aubergines are killer), as well as a really valuable chapter called Investment Cooking, which is about creating things, when you do have a little more time, that then become the go-to backbone of your kitchen: stocks, coconut yoghurt, granolas, grains, and pulses (including, and this is really useful, how to freeze the latter so you’ve always got some on hand). Of course vegetarians adore Jones’ recipes, but we are meat eaters ourselves and still this book has quickly become one that we constantly reach for and use, rather than flicking through once or twice.