Did you know you could crowdfund a recipe book? Perhaps not everyone can, but Bill Sewell, who runs Bill’s Cafés in Hereford and Cambridge, has managed it.
Such are his cafés’ popularity that he managed to bring together 340 backers on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to fund the idea, and Bill’s Kitchen is the result.
Sewell opened his first café in London in 1989, followed by community café/church projects Café @ All Saints in Hereford in 1997 and Michaelhouse in Cambridge in 2008. The idea behind all of them has been homemade food, and that’s exactly what you will find in this book.
Featuring more than 120 of his “greatest, all-time recipes” (Sewell already has two well-known vegetarian recipe books to his name), Bill’s Kitchen promotes the themes of sustainability and good (but responsible) eating, as well as flexible vegetarianism. It’s a book for our times then, as plant-based cuisine grows ever more popular.
While some recipes might be a bit too socks-and-sandals for some, there are also some very appetising options on offer. Like most of the recipes, fattoush with fresh goats’ cheese (from the ‘Salads and things to go with them’ section) is simple but looks utterly delicious. The healthbowl, featuring sweet potato, Puy lentils and brown rice, with a dressing of ginger, soy, balsamic vinegar and sesame seeds, is both virtuous and appetising, and there’s also a dish entitled ‘the best coleslaw’ – a brave and somewhat Trumpian claim – but the addition of crème fraîche, vinegar and horseradish, does give the commonplace dish a welcome kick. And although Sewell is known for vegetarian food, he doesn’t shy away from meat dishes, such as Dean’s ale and beef pie, or a breakfast of egg poached in tomato and chorizo.
However, if you’re a professional chef looking for ways to jump onto the plant-based bandwagon, then it’s the meat-free recipes that are likely to provide the most inspiration. The crowdfunding raised nearly £18,000 from 340 people – the equivalent of around £53 each. For an unusual book of this quality, it looks like money well spent.
If you like this, you may enjoy these
- Vegan Bible by Marie Laforêt
- The Accidental Vegetarian: Delicious Food Without Meat by Simon Rimmer
- Leon: Fast Vegetarian by Henry Dimbleby and Jane Baxter
Bill’s Kitchen by Bill Sewell (Archetype Books, £20)