Have you heard of the restaurant in Australia called Smith and Daughter’s? It’s on my radar but I am not going down under any time soon. Luckily, the two women behind the joint, Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse, have written a pretty amazing cookbook called Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan), so no traveling is necessary! From the actual book itself – the cover design, the photo on the inside cover of a full box of vegetables, the black edged pages, the bookmark, and the empty vegetable box on the back inside cover – to the recipes and the stories, it literally makes me want to cook everything in it!
These ladies are edgy, smart and successful. They have a great story about how they met and opened a restaurant together. There is a heavy Spanish influence because one of the authors, the chef, Shannon Martinez has Spanish blood. She has recreated a lot of her Grandmother’s recipes, which really speaks to me, as I love to veganize family favorites too. The essence of this book is down to earth and real.
Besides the recipes, the list of “23 Tips and Facts About This Book” is my favorite part. I love #2 being my favorite: “Don’t follow the recipes too carefully.” It’s like these gals are speaking to me – they are so chill about their recipes. They go on to say things like: we believe in you, sub anything for something in a recipe or leave it out if you don’t have it, the recipes are for regular cooks. and don’t be scared in the kitchen. It makes me willing to open a can of chipotles in adobo. More on that in a minute.
The first recipe I made was The Best Tofu Scramble because I’ve been making tofu scramble since the day I turned vegan and was wondering, could it get better? Well, it can! Shannon’s secret sauce turns the texture of the tofu into something akin to soft scrambled eggs. Brilliant!
Next I made the Pan con Tomate (Catalan Tomato Bread) which apparently is Shannon’s favorite way to eat toast and may be mine now too. It is literally just grated tomato, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar (a big fave in this book), and parsley.
I don’t often make salads from cookbooks, because, well salad. But this one was calling my name and it did not disappoint. It is the Artichoke & Chickpea Salad which has artichoke hearts and roasted Jerusalem artichokes, chickpeas, almonds and capers tossed with arugula and a lemon cumin vinaigrette. This one is going into the regular rotation.
I also made the Mexican Rice. Because, well, rice, peas, onions and jalapeños. Event though the recipe called for whole tomatoes, I used tomato paste and it came out brilliantly – hearty and delicious. Even better reheated the next day!
And the most ridiculous dish that I would have never made in a million years but did because this book made me feel like I could, the Sopa Seca (Peruvian Pasta Bake). The scary ingredient for me is chipotles in adobo. I have probably seen recipes that called for it in the past but I must have turned the page super fast. As far as I know, I have never eaten chipotles in adobo, and I certainly haven’t bought any. But guess what? I love them! They are smoky, sweet and a little spicy. OMG! I am now trying to figure out everything I can put them in. Here is a picture of the Sopa Seca. Lucky for you, I got permission to reprint the recipe. See below…
Anyway, there are still a lot of recipes I have to try like the Black Olive & Dark Chocolate Tapenade, the Albondigas, the Paella, the Chickpea Stew, the Brazilian Slaw, and the Spanish Potato Salad. I have been reading a lot of cookbooks lately, but this one that I will be cooking from a lot going forward. Mostly because the authors are saucy, creative and make really cool vegan food.
Peruvian Pasta Bake
This amazing Peruvian pasta dish has been the most misunderstood item on the Smith & Daughters menu. The staff still beg us to bring it back. If you don’t think of it as spaghetti bolognese, or anything Italian and pasta-y that you’re used to, you’re in for a real treat. It’s totally delicious, spicy and unusual. Make it! See for yourself!
- 60 ml 2 fl oz / 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 500 g 1 lb 2 oz angel hair pasta, broken into 10 cm (4 in) pieces
- 1 1/2 onions chopped
- 5 garlic cloves crushed
- 4 chipotles in adobo
- 600 g 1 lb 5 oz tinned whole tomatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 500 ml 17 fl oz / 2 cups vegan chicken stock
- 400 g 14 oz tinned black beans (or use whatever beans you have)
- Coriander Cashew Cream to serve
- handful chopped coriander leaves to serve
Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Lightly grease a 30 cm x 20 cm (12 in x 8 in) ovenproof dish with olive oil.
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the pasta and fry for 2–3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.
Place the onion, garlic, chipotles, tomatoes, ground coriander and oregano in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a pan with the bay leaves and cook over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until thickened.
Stir in the stock, fried pasta and beans, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, breaking up the pasta with a spoon, for about 5 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves, then transfer the mixture to the prepared ovenproof dish and cover loosely with foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Serve, drizzled with coriander cashew cream and coriander leaves scattered over the top.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Smith & Daughters: A Cookbook (that happens to be vegan) by Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse, published by Hardie Grant Books March 2017, RRP $35.00 hardcover. Photograph credit: Bonnie Savage