The kids think I am trying to turn them vegetarian by stealth. Although far from the truth (we all love our meat), I keep trying to include more vegetables in our meals, and also make entirely meat-free meals. There’s little risk that we will turn vegetarian, but we all need to eat less meat (and eat only high quality when we do) and more veggies.
Having grown up in a largely vegetarian household I never got bored eating vegetarian meals. But we were lucky at home with mum, who was a superstar at turning out variety with humble vegetables. Taking a leaf from her book, I have been attempting the same without limiting myself to Indian food (which incidentally is the easiest cuisine if you are an aspiring vegetarian).
In a pickle
First off, this week I decided to pickle vegetables. If you make a jar of the stuff (which requires only 3 ingredients and lots of veggies), eating a small serving with your meal ups the veggie intake. Also, using organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar is an excellent way of imbibing some of this powerful stuff. You might have come across recommendations to quaff it as a means to aid digestion and improve metabolism. Try it, it takes a strong stomach to drink it (even diluted). A much better way is to eat it in salad dressings or to make a batch.
A recent highlight for me was the advanced sourdough course at my favourite flour mill – Shipton Mills located in the Cotswolds. A fan of their flour, the idea of an “advanced” sourdough course got the juices flowing.
With our head baker Chris, it was a day really well spent. My knowledge of sourdough baking went up several notches, and I came back armed with tips and tricks, which meant even better sourdough bread at home. It was inspirational to meet other equally passionate bakers and the day flew by. I would highly recommend the course.
Recipes this week
With the last of the summer sun fading, I made a final batch of pesto, and defiantly, we ate lunch on the patio, on a cold but sunny day. Spaghetti tossed with peas & pesto, bits of feta and topped off with a perfectly boiled egg. A simple yet complete one-dish meal.
Armed and loaded with pickled veggies, it was the perfect timing to make a super veggie sandwich for an easy no-cook dinner. As it happens, we had some vegetarian house guests, which spurred me to make my much-loved spinach tart, which I highly recommend. Not abandoning the meat eaters in the family, we did eat some delicious free-range chicken thighs matched with chickpeas and harissa.
It had been a while since I had baked any treats, so this week it was a fresh ginger cake – it turned out much, much better than I expected.
Eating on the wild side
On a final note, a friend recently recommended a book “Eating on the Wild Side”. Written by Jo Robinson, it’s full of amazing revelations about the fruit and veggies that we eat today. She describes how over the years we have unwittingly, bred a wealth of nutrients out of the human diet. The growers’ main focus has been on the “looks” of the produce and extending the shelf life, at the cost of nutrition and flavour. I am halfway through the book, so expect a review next week.
Love your meat? Ring some changes, eat and cook more veggies!