Bean Rolls and Other Yummy StuffPeople like my cooking. They like it a lot. My recipes are all vegetarian (meat free) and many are, or can be easily adapted to vegan and gluten-free. But carnivores should not be put off. Critter-chewing friends have delighted in telling me how well Hot Ugly Sauce goes with steak, and chook-eating kids have begged for my Satay Sauce. It’s also great to be able to dish up something appealing for your vego/vegan/dairy free/gluten free friends, which everyone will enjoy.

I was born a vegetarian, much to the horror of my omnivorous parents. Despite being raised with chops’n’chips, roast dinners and fresh fish, I resisted eating meat. I was fussy too which didn’t help. As a teenager I was overjoyed to discover other vegetarians and to find vego food in cafes. Up till then I survived mostly on grapes, hot chips, peanut butter sandwiches and cheese on toast. I’m not a vegetarian through any high ethical stance about the environment or animals although I do believe both can be treated well. I’m not a health fiend or a hippy but I do like my meals to be nutritious. I don’t like soymilk and I rarely use wholemeal flour but I always use authentic free-range eggs. I don’t cook meat and that includes seafood and poultry.

I love local produce and like to shop at the food co-op but am not a fanatic and I firmly believe that frozen pastry is a wonderful thing. I cook with butter, cheese, oil, salt, sugar and tinned food. I’m not prepared for every meal to take hours of prep and I can’t see the point in cooking nutritious tucker if no-one likes it. If you don’t like anything, you can replace, add or omit any ingredients.

I like to grow my own herbs and vegetables. There is not much as satisfying as making a fabulous green curry or spicy vegetable soup almost entirely out of the garden or a quiche with local herbs and vegies and eggs from the neighbourhood chooks.

Eating a few more vego meals can have health, environmental and financial benefits but many people think vego fare is bland or insubstantial. I aim to provide basic versatile formulas that can become part of your kitchen repertoire. This is the real food that is created and demolished in my kitchen. Most recipes are simple but there are some special dishes (read labour intensive &/or fully loaded with fat/sugar/salt). With this book I aim to provide new and experienced cooks alike with simple vegetarian formulas that you can adapt to suit your household.

I hope to inspire you to cook vego food that you’ll want to eat time and time again. Have fun improvising in the kitchen and sharing good food with the people you love,