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So I’m lagging behind on updating what we’ve been eating on our meat-free month, so I will speedily try and do some catching up.  On the weekend we had a day at home and a day visiting family.  Visiting family wasn’t a big deal as my parents don’t really eat meat, in fact I’m sure my mother was quite pleased!

On Saturday morning before we headed off to Leicester to see my granny and meet my parents, we whipped up a quick salad from Hugh’s Everyday Veg book to take as our lunch offering (we were each making something).  We also had made a birthday cake as both my parents’ birthdays are in January – pictures of that to follow.

Saturday 14th January

Pearl barley salad with roasted squash and fennel, lemon juice, parsley and cheese.  This is a fresh wintery salad with the roasted squash and fennel tossed through the cooked pearl barley, and the other bits added to taste.  I am neither a huge fan of squash or fennel, but all together it was delicious.  I am learning to trust a few certain chefs to the point where I know I can make most of the recipes, irrespective of whether we think we like the ingredients, and know that we’ll love it.

My mom loved the salad and decided she might give in and buy the book – although she refused to watch anymore of the TV series after Hugh slaughtered a sheep during one episode and didn’t think it was appropriate for a programme encouraging vegetable eating.  I do see her point, although I understand Hugh’s motivations to encourage us to eat meat that is well-cared for.  Mommys.

(Sorry for the measly picture – I forgot to take any photos on Saturday so this is my leftover lunch on Monday)

Sunday 15th January

Broccoli and chilli pasta.  Penne pasta with steamed broccoli that had been tossed in lightly cooked garlic and chilli flakes and a good knob of butter.  I used to eat broccoli pasta all the time at University, but in the past few years haven’t been enamoured by the idea so have been reluctant to make it.  I’m so pleased we did though because there is something very comforting about this combination.  We didn’t follow a recipe we just made it up as we went along – some of the best cooking is done this way I think.

My meat-free month thoughts at the end of week 1

Last night we were chatting about how we were finding our meat-free month so far.  We’ve both had the odd pang for meat, salty crisp bacon in particular.  Bacon, egg and toast even more specifically for me.  But otherwise, I haven’t really had any meal where I’ve missed meat.  Mr Rigg says the one meal we’ve had that he would have enjoyed more with the addition of meat, again bacon, was the colcannon baked potatoes with the poached egg.

I am feeling much more cheerful about what we are cooking and eating, and I am excited about carrying on this way.  It is great to be challenged to come up with interesting and diverse meals that don’t contain meat or fish, and in the process we are discovering some firm new favourites, which we might not otherwise have found.

It also makes me want to carefully look at and work out how much meat we eat in the future – I’m sure somewhere I read guidelines on the suggested weight of meat we should each eat a month, I believe this was from a sustainable point of view, but probably also good for your health.

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The weather in the UK is positively balmy, and what we really want to eat lots of is salad.  Most other food just seems too much in this heat.  So here is a healthy but most importantly delicious salad, with tomatoes, beans and new potatoes and a zingy citrus and chilli dressing.

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Zingy tomato and bean salad

Feeds 2-4 people

1 x tin haricot beans, drained and rinsed
200g new potatoes
200g cherry tomatoes
2 spring onions
Bunch of flat leaf parsley
1/2 red chilli
A couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Cook the new potatoes, drain and cut into chunks.  While the potatoes are cooking, slice up the cherry tomatoes and spring onions.

Mix the potatoes, beans and tomatoes together in a serving bowl.

Roughly chop the parsley and pop into a separate bowl.  Finely chop the chilli and add it to the parsley.  Tip in the sliced spring onions, olive oil, zest and juice of the lemon.  Give it a good mix and add a bit more oil if you want it a bit runnier.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes, beans and tomatoes and mix well.  The potatoes gently start to melt and the dressing will seep into them and the beans and this is just scrumptious.

Eat on its own, or with some grilled chicken or fish. 

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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