a casserole and a cookbook


We will have been married 20 years this year… which causes me to reflect how far we’ve come, how much the world has changed in that time and to note the two items above. They were given to us as a wedding present by friends who I used to babysit for and here they are still with us, I don’t think any other dish we own has survived that long! The Cranks Recipe Book sparked my interest at once, as I had eaten in their restaurant in London while a student, and it called to mind lovely brick walls and earthenware plates of hearty soup (they now have one restaurant in Devon).

It really taught me to cook, being the only cookery title I had at the time (bit of a change there then) in our first flat that we loved so much. I was fairly clueless when it came to the culinary arts. I remember phoning my mum at times with questions such as ‘how do you cook a neep? I can’t even seem to cut it up’. With the book I learned to bake bread, make cakes and the wonderfully frugal crecy plate pie, prepare soups and casseroles got put in the dish πŸ™‚ It influenced me in more subtle ways too. Being the one and only it got thoroughly read and I absorbed the health oriented nature of the pages, reading for example, how much adding fresh herbs enhanced the nutritional value of the food. I remember the excitement of planting up a small herb garden and reading more deeply into these subjects. Looking at it now I notice all the cheesy recipes but you could just use any one of the many vegan cheeses available now or leave it out altogether.

Bit different when we first went vegan – a vegan cookbook obtained from the library that shall remain nameless (mainly as I can’t remember it’s name, I think it was somewhat generic, but also I do not want to slander it as it may have had other redeeming recipes) was responsible for me making a vegan cheese out of marg and yeast extract 13 years ago – absolutely disgusting, totally foul!!

So, my cranks book, heavily marked with food, water and childrens crayons. It is now available in a swanky new asparagus covered edition but you can still pick up the original for a penny πŸ˜€


As for the dish, it still gets used though not as much anymore. The odd apple/rhubarb crumble is popped in it. I now favour my big Le Creuset that you can cook on the hob and in the oven with – very handy for making a sheperdess/red dragon pie base in and just putting mashed tatties on top and then into the oven it goes. I am very lucky to also have two similar cast iron AGA pans/casseroles given to us by another friend who had them sitting unwanted and unused in his garage, and these are my 3 usual dinner cooking pans now.


We’ve always been blessed with friendship πŸ™‚ I am currently reading Walking to Greenham sent to me by a wonderful woman and friend… a fascinating book and I find myself contemplating the larger worldwide changing of the times. What will the next 20 years bring?

GreenBay 100% vegan supermarket

10 Replies to “a casserole and a cookbook”

  1. Congratulations on 20 years.

    It was a Sarah Brown cookbook I got as my first vegetarian cookbook and i remember looking through it and wondering what most of the ingredients were! I still go back to the book and marvel at how many more things i eat now. (Before I went veggie, then vegan, i wouldn’t eat any vegetables except carrots and peas!).

    I also remember that vegan cookbook that made ‘cheese’ out of marg, soya flour and marmite! eurgh! There were lots of unpleasant recipes in the book and it almost put me off being vegan. Plus it was recommended by the Vegan Society at the time so i thought it would be good.Some things definately change for the better and vegan cookbooks have been one of them.


  2. oh yes, the soya flour – I sought it out specially for the recipe! I like Sarah Brown – red dragon pie is from her I think πŸ™‚

  3. wow Lucy 20 years,congratulation!!! Oh red dragon pie a firm long time favourite in our house and my mum’s,I too like Sarah Brown and wondered where that recipe came from.The Cranks was one of my 1st books too! Mind you I still am not that switched on to many ingredients I don’t think I’m adventurous enough:) xx

  4. thank you πŸ™‚

    looking through the cranks book and see it has 3 cheese recipes using soya flour and marg!! sava sounds like the one I made but this one has garlic in too, which might be a slight improvement…

  5. I have that Cranks cookbook! It was one of my first, too. And I made that vegan cheeze! And Red Dragon is one of our favourites, in Sarah Brown’s book, too! We have so much in common! πŸ™‚
    Congratulations on the 20 year anniversary! Here’s to the next 20! And the 20 after that!

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