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World Food Café Review 03/11/12

Laura Cooke reviews World Food Café, a vegetarian cookbook that takes you on a taste trip to spicy destinations. (You can win a copy too!)

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Summary: Easy vegetarian cooking featuring unusual and fresh ideas.
Great for cooks who don’t like to spend hours on complicated recipes and enjoy fresh, simple ingredients. Perfect as a gift.

World Food Café is a cookbook that at first glance doesn’t grab your attention. The pages aren’t filled with the luxurious food porn we’ve come to expect from cookbooks these days and I certainly didn’t immediately get excited about it when I first received it.

But, you’d be missing out if you pass it over. It’s full of classic vegetarian staples from various countries and features a number of unusual and surprising recipes that I haven’t seen elsewhere. And they’re all vegetarian or vegan.

From the few recipes that I’ve tried, they don’t seem to be heavily reliant on specific instructions or quantities – which is precisely how I like to cook. The recipes are also easy to adapt according to the vegetables you have available and how hot and spicy you like your food.

Marrakesh night market

About the authors
Chris and Carolyn Caldicott started the World Food Café restaurant in the UK after extensive travel around the world. Chris was the photographer in residence for the Royal Geographic Society and had the enviable task of venturing to remote and beautiful destinations.

The book is filled with his lovely travel photographs and their experiences of being vegetarian in the countries they visited – a valuable resource to those of us veggies who fear what’s going to end up on our plate when heading off the beaten track. What they discovered is that most countries have vegetarian options and unique tastes.The one exception is Southern China which, according to the Caldicotts, was a “horror show for vegetarians”.

What makes this book particularly enjoyable is that by documenting meals that they discovered in remote areas – which include everything from an Oman truckstop to a meal deep in the Borneo jungle – the authors bring an authentic and personal tone to the book that makes you hungry for a lot more than a good meal. It makes you want to head off to discover the places, people and the food for yourself.

The recipes
While I haven’t cooked many meals yet, my first attempt went down very well. (Read my Mexican refried beans test here). I also tackled one of the more time-consuming recipes, a Morrocan chermoula and a phenomenal Gujarati carrot salad on the side. (Recipe coming soon). It was a raging success. This I know because between three of us, there wasn’t a scrap left at the end.

Mexican refried beans plus salads

One criticism is that as there aren’t photos of all the dishes, it’s a bit difficult to picture the final product, particularly as many of these are not commonly seen in recipe books.

In general, I am thrilled to have World Food Café  on my shelf.

Buy one for yourself:

WIN: If you’d like to win a copy of World Food Café, send an email to with World Food Café in the subject line and be sure you have subscribed to our newsletter or liked our facebook page to stay up-to-date with more news and competitions. (Only open to South African readers).




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Laura Cooke is the editor and creator of the Veggie Bunch website and community.

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