Inspired by her grandmother's cooking, Erbology's very own plant-based chef Ana Rusu likes to experiment within the traditional cuisines and make wholesome vegan recipes. Here, she shares some of her favourite cookbooks and what she snacks on when she does her research.January 14, 2021 10:48 am
Name: Ana Rusu
Occupation: Certified Plant-based Chef
Erbology partner since 2016
“I’m always drooling over my favourite Italian cookbooks… The Glorious Vegetables of Italy by Domenica Marchetti and The Silver Spoon Cookbook are two of my favourites. This last one is also called ‘the bible of authentic Italian cooking’ and even though it was first released in 1950 and became a bestseller over the last 60 years, it was translated in English only a decade ago.
I am not sure if I am madly in love with Italian cooking or it is just because most of the flavours are so similar with what I grew up with in my grandma’s kitchen. All recipes in this cookbook are so well developed, using only fresh ingredients and simple techniques for great taste. I would say it’s one of the best cookbooks out there.
I often check The Silver Spoon before I venture myself into the kitchen. Did I mention it has a huge veggie chapter in it? This revised edition is even better with new menus by celebrated Italian chefs like Massimo Bottura.
"I am not sure if I am madly in love with Italian cooking or it is just because most of the flavours are so similar with what I grew up with in my grandma’s kitchen."
If you like a good loaf of bread and enjoy baking, check out Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. The bakery, which carries the same name as the book, is located in the heart of San Francisco and has gained an international reputation for its excellent bread and other baked goods.
I love fermenting foods and The Noma Guide To Fermentation by René Redzepi and David Zilber is another favourite of mine. Located in Copenhagen, Noma is often ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world. Their book, published last year, is a wonderful guide to turning fresh vegetables and fruits into delicious and healthy fermented foods.
Finally, I would also like to mention the Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan cookbook by Naomi Duguid. I’ve recently discovered it and read it so fast.
I love how she describes the specific flavours and talks about many local ingredients as well as bits of history. I only have it in ebook format but I’ll definitely buy a hardcover as this one is a collectable.
When I do recipe research, I always snack. Working from home was always something I dreamed of. One good reason for that was to have more control over my bad habits of eating junk foods. When I thought everything would be easy peasy lemon squeezy, reality struck; I realised how organised and vigilant I had to be in order to keep a decent schedule.
Lunch breaks and healthy snacks need to be organised, too. That’s how I started making pre-packs of food. So, my workflow wouldn’t be disturbed with long breaks spent cooking and cleaning.
Wholesome snacks are just the perfect answer. I kept stocking up on sweet and savoury healthy snacks. It is so good to open the drawer and find a pack of crackers exactly when inspiration levels are low and you want to call it a day – because being home, we can do that anytime, right?
These Erbology Greek Olive Crackers are one of my staple snacks because they simply satisfy my cravings. They are bold and full of flavour, but they are healthy, too. Being raw, all the ingredients are energising, so it’s a win-win!”
Some of Ana’s recipes inspired by Italian cuisine
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