Recipes: 'The Modern Vegetarian' There's something sweetly avant-garde about the recipes in Maria Elia's The Modern Vegetarian, a book that loves its grains and vegetables for their own sake, not for their ability to masquerade as meat or camouflage its absence.

Recipes: 'The Modern Vegetarian'

Lemongrass and Sweet Corn Soup Kyle Books hide caption

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Kyle Books

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These recipes appear in The Modern Vegetarian, by Maria Elia, Kyle Books, 2009.

Lemongrass and Sweet Corn Soup with Creme Fraiche

3 ears of corn, husked
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 liter milk
5 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
4 tablespoons creme fraiche

Sweet Corn Relish

1 corn cob, husked
5 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped

1. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the corn kernels from the cob. Set cobs and kernels aside.

2. Gently heat the butter; add the onion, ginger and chile. Saute until softened but not browned (about 5 minutes). Add the flour, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk, lemongrass, corn and the cobs and stir, bringing to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

3. Discard the corn cobs and blend the soup in a food processor until smooth, then pass through a sieve and season. Serve with a swirl of creme fraiche and sweet corn relish.

For the relish:
Roll the corn in a little of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook on a preheated grill pan or over a charcoal fire until tender. When cool enough to handle, remove the corn kernels from the cob, place in a bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

Watermelon Panzanella Kyle Books hide caption

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Kyle Books

Watermelon Panzanella
(Serves 4)

For the salad
10 slices ciabatta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, finely sliced
2 cups diced seedless watermelon
2 cups diced ripe plum tomatoes
1 cup diced cucumber
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
l oz halloumi cheese, diced (or half halloumi and half crumbled feta cheese)
2/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
a small bunch of basil, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

For the dressing
1/4 cup red wine vinegar, preferably cabernet sauvignon
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
pinch of sugar, sea salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. To make the salad, tear the ciabatta into crouton-sized pieces, drizzle with olive oil, place in a roasting pan, and cook for about 5 minutes, until golden. Let cool.

3. Toss the remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl, add the ciabatta and mix together well, Season with salt and pepper.

4. To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together and pour over salad. Allow the flavors to marinate for about 1 hour before serving.

The Modern Vegetarian
Food Adventures for the Contemporary Palate
By Maria Elia, Jonathan Gregson

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The Modern Vegetarian
Maria Elia, Jonathan Gregson

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