“Pulse” by Jenny Chandler

Quite possibly my favourite cookbook of all 2013, “Pulse – Truly modern recipes for beans, chickpeas and lentils to tempt meat eaters and vegetarians alike” by Jenny Chandler {published by Anova Books} is a skilful, contemporary 265 page ode to the power of the pulse.

“Legumes can be stars in their own right and not just a meat substitute” the author writes, and by the end of the 160 recipes included in the book you will be able to ensure this is so in your kitchen.

Jenny Chandler is an experienced cookery teacher and an acclaimed author on the subject of Mediterranean cookery, in particular the cooking of Spain, and she has also travelled and researched far and wide to understand the vegetable and pulse cookery of the near, far and middle East in depth.

The book is structured in a scholarly way, to underpin a deeper knowledge of pulses, from how to buy them, soak, store and prepare them, as well as sprouting your own. Beautifully photographed by Clare Winfield, the production values at Anova Books are extremely high and this book would make a wonderful gift or front of the bookshelf trophy.

“Check Your Pulse : The Identification Parade” guides the reader through all the different seeds and pods that qualify as pulses, from chickpeas to lentils, peas and beans.

Recipes for nibbles, dips, purees, fritters, pancakes, patties, soups, salads, main courses and sauces ensue, as well as ideas for making fish and meat dishes sing with the addition of pulses.

No longer the mainstay of hippie, vegetarian or alternative diets, pulses are showcased and celebrated as delicious, nutritious, healthy, exciting and versatile additions to the cook’s larder, not just for every day but also for special occasions. Who can resist “Pumpkin, coconut and lentil soup”, “Black bean quesadillas”, “Smoked mackerel, grapefruit and lentil salad”, “Tarka Dal”, “Moroccan chickpeas and meatballs” and “Slow roast shoulder of lamb with flageolet beans”?

Of course we should all be eating more pulses – they are the frugal and intelligent choice of environmentally conscious eaters who are concerned about the effect of intensive livestock farming in depleting the world’s resources.

“The Food and Agriculture Organization {FAO} estimates that world livestock production is directly responsible for about 18% of the global greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming. World meat consumption quadrupled in the last 50 years and is set to soar….”

High in vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibre and flavour and low in fat and cholesterol, they are the dietary equivalent of marvellous medicine in a world where obesity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases afflict increasingly high numbers in the western world. Pulses fix nitrogen to the soil, enriching the land, enriching our diets and enriching our wallets. Cometh the hour, cometh the book.

Further Information

Jenny Chandler: http://jennychandlerblog.com/

Follow Jenny on Twitter: @jennychandleruk

Anova Books: www.anovabooks.com

Follow on Twitter: @AnovaBooks

Clare Winfield Photographer: http://www.clarewinfield.com/

Follow on Twitter: @clarewinfield

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