Delicious, Appealing and Vegan! is the new cookbook that locally-based Italian chef and blogger Arianna Giorgetti has recently published with Amazon, in Italian at first (Goloso, bello e vegano!) and later translated in English, and in Spanish (Sabroso, attractivo y vegano!) to make her animal-cruelty-free spin on lesser-known abroad Italian cuisine readily available to her ever-growing international fanship.
Its subtitle ought to be ‘do try this at home’, because all her recipes are foolproof and easy to realise in any household kitchen – in fact she carries out her cottage industry in the comfort of her flat and delivers packed lunches and dinners nationwide thanks to Hungry Monkey.
From antipasti to dessert (lots and lots of desserts!), the book collects ninety of Arianna’s most popular homemade vegan dishes, tried and tested in her blog LeCreazioniVeganeDiArianna.it, and new ones – all accompanied by mouth-watering photographs.
All her recipes are foolproof and easy to realise in any household kitchen.
“All photos are taken in my kitchen as soon as the dish is ready to serve, and there are no camera tricks, it’s all down to my love for cooking,” Arianna says. So, if it is true that mouth-watering starts from the eyes, you’ll be crying tears of joy just at the lo and behold! presentation.
Traditional and seasonal recipes are adapted to the vegan lifestyle, so expect to stock up on lentils, chickpeas, and almond milk in your larder, and plenty of fresh produce in your fridge. But most of all, be prepared to explore the unusual and unexpected that goes well beyond the soy version of spaghetti bolognaise and introduces both naturally vegan dishes like orecchiette with broccoli, farfalle ortolana, gnocchi with pesto and spaghetti puttanesca, as well as her vegan twist on your staple fish dish and whipped faux-cream puddings or smoothies.
Be prepared to explore the unusual and unexpected.
Arianna’s passion is about catering for the vegan community on the Rock with a varied and healthy menu, as much as promoting regional Italian food abroad so that you can get the real taste of Italy, the one that even in Italy is mostly enjoyed in a quaint trattoria away from the tourist trail.
It all started by fluke almost two years ago when she liberally distributed portions of her now trademark tiramisù to friends and acquaintances, to prove that the vegan take on any recipe usually associated with animal products can be as finger-licking good as its original.
Her first tiramisù follows the original recipe to the letter, except for substituting the iconic mascarpone cheese with a vegan alternative that she describes as her ‘secret ingredient’, making sure that biscuits are butter-free. It of course features espresso coffee and cocoa powder topping, but given its fast rise to stardom, she has now introduced fancier versions like sophisticated strawberry and summery pineapple and coconut.
And when sweet-toothed people started coming back for seconds, Arianna mused she could turn her gift into a business venture and opened her Arianna Vegan Creations patisserie, soon expanded to a full takeaway menu. Arianna introduces popular options to appeal both to the environment and the health conscious who haven’t time to cook for themselves, but won’t relinquish their right to home-cooked meals.
With both lunches and dinners catered for, Arianna surely is a busy-bee stove goddess, perhaps fitting the stereotype of the Italian woman of yesteryears spending her days sweating in the kitchen among pots and pans oozing heavenly aromas.
“Cooking in my flat’s kitchen poses some challenges,” she acknowledges. “I bought a large fridge to store all the ingredients but my cooker only has four hobs, so I am limited in how many different dishes I can prepare at any one time… but hey, the perks are that my family can always pick and choose what to have for dinner!”
“Like the ice-cream truck, whose arrival is announced by Italian songs!”
Everything is cooked fresh and delivered hot, so be prepared to wait for your pasta to be al dente, as Arianna frowns on pre-boiled and reheated pasta as a shortcut.
“Because of logistics, I offer a limited menu, with up to eight daily choices repeated day in day out, but it is varied enough for customers to enjoy a different taste each day of the working week and return regularly for their favourites,” she adds.
This is a full-time job for an all-round entrepreneuse who doesn’t count on sous-chefs, scullions or shoppers to run her business, but the behind-the-scenes part of it is indeed time-consuming, and must be taken care of early in the morning before the lunch rush or between lunch and dinner, whilst juggling a young family’s demands.
Arianna goes to the market for fresh ingredients and scours the local retailers for top Italian food exports – and what she cannot find locally she orders from wholesalers at the source. She is particularly fond of Central Italy cuisine, to promote her native Terni, that she describes on her English Facebook page as “the city of St. Valentine, the city of love”, where she was inspired to her love of gastronomy by her grandmother.
Arianna is looking for investors to finance her franchising project, and into ways to set up a street-food stall to bring her creations directly to the consumer roving around Gibraltar and stopping at hotspots for Gibraltarians and tourists alike: “Like the ice-cream truck, but with hot and cold food… whose arrival is announced by the notes of iconic Italian songs!”
Arianna and her family made the transition to veganism six years ago on ethical grounds while still living in Italy, and have never looked back: “We enjoy a varied and tasty diet and, even if it was difficult to find vegan options at first, nowadays they are everywhere, and veganism is no longer regarded as a fad, but a lifestyle. We comfortably get all the nutrients we need while contributing to a sustainable planet.”
Delicious, Appealing and Vegan! is available from Amazon UK. To keep up with Arianna, follow her Instagram account @lecreazioniveganediarianna.