Family: A cookbook of new vegetable classics to comfort and nourish

family cover

family coverIf you have never tried roasted cauliflower before you are in for a treat. This recipe comes from Family by Hetty McKinnon which is full of tasty vegetarian recipes and some gorgeous desserts.

Hetty is a self-taught chef who used to run Arthur Street Kitchen in Sydney from where she did home deliveries of hearty salads to the locals on her bicycle. Now based in a loft in New York, she continues to develop healthy recipes and runs cooking classes.

Family is filled with the kind of food she puts on her table at home, dishes which often include lots of grains and nuts as well as vegetables. Her multicultural recipes reflect her Asian heritage and her love of travel.

For those times when you don’t have the energy to cook some of her meals can be thrown together in under 10 minutes. The others take longer but none are difficult to make. And if you don’t have quite the right ingredients to hand she lists ideas for substitutes.

We have tried quite a few of her other recipes over the last few weeks.

Roast potatoes with lentils, capers and lemon-parsley pistou

This was a very hearty dish, filling enough to be a meal by itself. It satisfied even my carnivore partner who especially liked the addition of the crunchy roasted potato chunks.

Baked potatoes filled with edamame beans, ginger and shallot

We like to munch on edamame beans as a healthy pre-dinner snack and they are readily available frozen in our supermarket. Using them as a topping for jacket potatoes was comfort food with an Asian touch and great for lunch.

Smashed peas, with freekeh, broccoli and avocado

I substituted the freekeh for quinoa which is gluten free.  Avocado and quinoa are pricey but as my vegetarian son likes to point out, if you are not buying meat you can splash out on some of the other ingredients. I’d make it again to impress vegetarian visitors.

One pan sweet potato mac and cheese

Macaroni cheese is one of my granddaughter’s favourite dishes. This one is magically made without cream, milk or béchamel on top of the stove. Not quite the same flavour, but we really enjoyed it and there was minimal washing up!

Korean savoury pancakes

I made them the quick and easy way by dumping all the chopped vegetables into the batter. The dipping sauce made with soya sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and a pinch of sugar is optional but I think it was needed as the pancakes tasted a little bland on their own. It is such a good way to use cooked leftover veg like roasted broccoli.

Orange cake

I served this fragrant orange cake, made with olive oil instead of butter and spiked with rosemary, with some full cream lemon yoghurt. It was a delicious dessert.

The overall verdict

I really like Hetty’s philosophy that food is something to be enjoyed and shared around the family table. Although hers is very healthy food she is not at all preachy about what you should or should not eat. I’d recommend it to people who like to cook healthy food and would like to try new and flavoursome combinations.


Come back tomorrow for Lyn Potter’s favourite recipe from the book, roasted cauliflower with peas and minted pea yoghurt.  

Family by Hetty McKinnon is published by Plum. RRP $39.99.


Reviews by Lyn Potter

Parent and grandparent, Avid traveller, writer & passionate home cook

Read more by Lyn here.