Review & Giveaway: The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes

The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes
The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes
Review: The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes

Nicola Graimes wrote one of my favourite vegetarian cookbooks – Veggienomics. This is definitely one of my ‘go to’ cookbooks and you can see some of the recipes I’ve tried from it here, here and (my favourite) here.

In Nicola’s latest cookbook – The Part-Time Vegetarian – she confesses that, after almost thirty years of being vegetarian, she now occasionally eats meat and fish. While Nicola doesn’t go into detail about why she chose to start eating meat again, part of me dearly hopes one of the reasons is ‘got drunk and bought a kebab on the way back from the pub’ but my guess is that probably wasn’t a contributing factor and, after thirty years, deciding to re-introduce meat and fish into her diet probably wasn’t something she did lightly.

Still, whatever Nicola’s reasons, I’ve got to admit when her publisher asked me if I’d like a review copy, I was hesitant to accept. Although I’m pro-choice and, as far as I’m concerned, if people want to eat meat then that’s their prerogative, my collection of cookbooks is 100% vegetarian/vegan and I don’t want to see meat recipes while I’m flicking through a cookbook looking for something to make.

Vegetarian recipe with fish adaptation
Vegetarian recipe with meat/fish variation

This isn’t a half-meat/half-vegetarian cookbook though – The Part-Time Vegetarian contains vegetarian recipes that can be adapted to include meat and fish. For example, it could be something as simple as sprinkling  some crispy bacon on the finished dish, the addition of prawns, or a more substantial alteration such as spiced grilled lamb instead of roasted mushrooms served on a white bean mash.

So, if you’re one of the two out of three part-time ‘vegetarians’ who occasionally eat meat, chicken or fish*; you cook for a family that contains a vegetarian; or you just want to incorporate a few vegetarian meals to your weekly menu, then this book will be of interest to you. Nicola’s also included menu plans for a family vegetarian week, a part-time vegetarian week, a 7-day healthy week, part-time vegetarian meals for friends and menus for different occasions.

Paneer, egg and potato gratin from the Part-Time Vegetarian
Paneer, egg and potato gratin
 Recipe: Paneer, egg and potato gratin 

I don’t know if it was my subconscious to blame, but the recipe I decided to try first from The Part-Time Vegetarian didn’t have a meaty alternative. I also don’t know if how it turned out was anything like it was supposed to, as there’s no photo for this recipe in the book (there are plenty of full-page photos to accompany other recipes though) and the finished result wasn’t how I’d pictured it in my head but, appearances aside, this was a tasty, filling meal, with the paneer and Indian spices giving an interesting twist to the potatoes and eggs.

[Please note: As usual, this is my simplified/altered to my preference version and not how it appears in the book.]

Paneer, egg and potato gratin
Cuisine: Vegetarian
  • 800g potatoes, halved if large - no need to peel
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 green peppers, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and sliced
  • 325ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g paneer, cubed
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/Gas 6
  2. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water with half the turmeric for 10-12 minutes, or until almost tender. Drain the potatoes and leave until cool enough to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the onions for 8 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, cumin seeds, green peppers and chilli and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Slice the potatoes into 1cm slices and add to the pan, turning gently until combined, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes until the stock has reduced by three-quarters. Stir in half the coriander and transfer to a baking dish.
  5. Make four indentations in the potato mixture and break an egg into each one. Scatter the paneer over the top and drizzle with the remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper, cover with foil, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the foil and cook for a further 5-8 minutes.
  7. Scatter over the remaining coriander.


Giveaway: Win a copy of The Part-Time Vegetarian by Nicola Graimes 

I’ve got a copy of The Part-Time Vegetarian to give away and if you’d like to win it, just leave a comment below and I’ll pick a winner at random after the closing date of Friday 2 October 2015.

UK entries only.

*Yes, I know there’s no such thing as a part-time vegetarian. Don’t shoot me. 

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  1. Sounds lovely! I’m try to cook with more vegetables but my partner isn’t too fond of a main meal without meat. This could be a step forward for us

  2. The Part-Time Vegetarian looks fantastic. I often cook vege dinners, but sometimes they get ‘corrupted’ by the addition of chorizo!! would love some fresh recipe insperation to keep me on the straight and narrow.

  3. This book sounds like it has lots of great recipes as I do love a vegetarian dish that doesn’t have meat substitute in it.

  4. But of course, there are part-time vegetarians! We spend only about £15/month on meat, but I’d hardly consider us to be vegetarian-like, yet there are times we don’t have meat. Or perhaps we’re part-time non-vegetarians? Regardless, I love trying out new meatless dishes for the family.

  5. Looks an interesting book – hubby still eats fish occasionally, so this looks a great idea to allow us to still cook the same ‘base’ dinner

  6. Looks good – I love to read cookbooks and my son is trying to include more vegetarian meals in his diet ( hubby is pure carnivore, and I’m vegan – go figure 🙂 )

  7. Wow, thanks for the great competition! This book looks really good! I’m veggie but my other half isn’t so this looks like it would give us ideas to suit both easily! 🙂

  8. I’d love to win this book, my 16 old daughter is a vegetarian but my 12 year old son isn’t so a cookbook that covers both diets would be a dream!

  9. I would love a copy to give to my mum! She struggles with finding meals to cook for the family’s different eating requirements! Look like a fun book!

  10. This looks a great new book by Nicola Graimes. I have enjoyed two of her cookbooks so far – The Salad Bowl and The Top 100 Recipes of Healthy Lunchbox. This looks another great book. Brilliant competition 🙂 Thank you ever so much.

  11. What a fab prize. I am always looking for inspiration when it comes to food, as eating healthy can be boring at times. I eat much less meat than I use to, and have increased my veg intake. New recipes would liven up meal times again!

  12. What a brilliant idea, this book would be perfect for this household 🙂 Sounds like a really good book full of my type of recipes anyway! 7-day healthy week sounds interesting

  13. This would come in handy as my husband is omni and his veggie meal for me is chips and beans….. We need all the help we can get…..

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