Low-Carb & Gluten-Free Vegetarian
by Celia Brooks · Published by Pavilion
Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
I describe myself as a passionate cook, writer and urban farmer - I grow my own fruit and veg on an allotment in North London. I'm from Colorado USA but I've lived in London for 25 years. I've published 8 cookbooks, I do lots of cooking demonstrations and TV appearances, and I run a business in London called "Gastrotours", conducting tasting tours around London’s foodie hotspots. Everything I do is about inspiring people to appreciate good food.
Tell us a bit about the book?
The recipes are designed to be easy and accessible with high-impact flavour. You'll find everything from curries to party food, using all low-carb and gluten-free ingredients. The ingredients are also all natural with the exception of the recipes in the desserts chapter which use sugar replacements.
What was the inspiration behind it?
The original book was published in 2004 as a paperback entitled "Low-Carb Vegetarian", so this edition is updated for 2014 and is also gluten-free. Back in '04 I was cooking regularly in the kitchen of Christiane Kubrick, wife of the late film director Stanley Kubrick, and she went on a low-carb diet for weight loss inspired by the Atkins diet craze, so I was challenged to develop delicious recipes for her and her family, and that's how it started.
Which is your favourite project?
Paneer and Herb Fritters with Sweet Chilli Sauce, Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Butter, and Thai Hot & Sour Salad with Crispy Tofu are a few of the recipes I make all the time at home.
What is your craft space like?
I live with my boyfriend in a rented flat in North London and it's pretty tiny. The kitchen opens out into the living room and I write with my laptop on my lap looking out to a beautiful view over London. I'm only a few paces from my lap-desk to the cooker! I have yet to materialise my dream kitchen / office, but one day...
Have you always been creative?
Yes, I would say so. I wrote music, stories and poetry from the age of 5 and started writing a novel aged 9 but never finished. I spent much of my early teens acting and writing plays and I majored in drama at university - stage directing in particular. I didn't discover the creativity of cooking until I was 20 but it felt like I had finally find my artistic outlet and it wasn't long before I combined cooking with writing. And there a lot of parallels with drama and cooking - cooking a meal is a performance delivered to an audience.
When did you first start crafting?
The first thing I ever tried to cook was a chocolate cake when I was about 7 years old. I had a recipe on a sheet of paper and didn't realise that the method was on the back of the page, so I just mixed all the ingredients together and stuck it in the oven and of course it was a disaster. I vowed never to cook again. And I didn't. Until 13 years later!
Who are your crafty heroes?
When my mom found out that I had discovered cooking, she gave me "The Moosewood Cookbook" by Mollie Katzen - a real old school, hand-written and illustrated vegetarian cookbook - but the recipes are great and it really inspired me. I love Elizabeth David and Jane Grigson's classic books. I am a big fan of Jamie Oliver and all the wonderful things he has done for inspiring young cooks.
Where do you find inspiration?
I try to let ingredients inspire me and I love rustling up a dish from a basket full of fresh seasonal produce from my allotment or from the veg market. Living in London there are so many cool innovative things going on with supper clubs, pop-ups and street food, so I take in as much as I can for new ideas. I love Twitter because people digest the internet for you and you can find links to some great recipe ideas and foodie events.
What's next for you?
I have another new book out called "5:2 Vegetarian" (also published by Pavilion) based on my blog. I'm keen to promote this healthy diet of "fasting" two days a week for weight loss and general health, so I am busy trying to get the message out there and help people with advice and ideas for eating 500 / 600 calories on fast days. I'm continuing with my popular Gastrotours and I'm developing a new tour for the summer. And with Spring on the doorstep I will soon be getting very busy growing food on my allotment.
Fully updated for 2014, Low-carb & Gluten-free Vegetarian offers a complete range of easy, satisfying and stylish low-carb recipes designed specifically for vegetarians, with the added benefit that they are all gluten-free as well. With all recipes approved by the well-known nutritionist Fiona Hunter, the book offers a varied and exciting menu, that doesn't limit choice in any way. A complete diet is included, from fortifying breakfasts and satisfying main courses, to light lunches and snacks. There are even chapters on party food and sweet desserts. Low-carb & Gluten-free Vegetarian is the ideal companion for those who are trying to lose weight and also those who simply want to follow a long-term weight-maintenance lifestyle. Note: this is an updated version of Low-Carb Vegetarian, originally published in 2004.