"No bland or boring dishes, and you can forget all day cooking too." That is the very appetising promise made by cook and author Rachel Ama, who has just released her first book, Vegan Eats, which is full of flavourful recipes that she says are "genuinely easy" to make.
Ama launched her own YouTube channel in 2017 and has gained a legion of followers since – not surprising since her MO is simple, affordable vegan food that tastes delicious and will fill you up. Taking inspiration from her Caribbean and west African roots, Ama makes a lot of quick (under 30 minutes) one-pot dishes that don't call for dozens of ingredients and are incredibly satisfying to eat alone midweek or share with friends at the weekend. Think Caribbean fritters with jackfruit and nori, jerk mushroom pantina tacos, and one hell of a jerk BBQ sauce.
We picked her mouthwatering signature peanut stew because it's one of her favourite things to make. "My mum spent many summers in Sierra Leone, where her dad comes from, and this peanut stew was one of her favourite dishes. She usually had it with chicken, but when I made this plant-based version for her to try, she had the biggest smile on her face. This recipe is a definite winner in our house, perfect for when you want a really hearty and comforting dinner with a nice touch of spice to set your taste buds tingling," she explains.
The final vegan Pavlova recipe we've chosen does require more than 30 minutes of prep, but it's so impressive and a summer party showstopper, so worth the extra effort.
Ama's a big fan of music (neo-soul, disco, funk) and dancing too (she can move as well as cook) and each recipe in the book includes a track suggestion to play while you cook and eat.
Here are three recipes from the book to try this week...