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It has been days and days since I last posted about our meat-free month. During those days (weeks really) we have had highs and lows of eating meat-free. When I last posted, with a snapshot of a vegetarian curry we were making, I was on a real high, thoroughly enjoying our meat-free month and the delicious new recipes we were trying out.
The past week has seen that go downhill with real desperate cravings to eat bacon and egg, and sausages. I don’t know why, but my body has just been desperate for something else – the result is we’ve eaten a lot of stodgy comfort food as you might get a glimpse of in my diary. My lovely friend Caroline who has just finished her meat-free month also said they experienced this, getting more and more desperate for, again, bacon and egg by the end of their month.
For now, here is my better week of eating…
Monday 23rd January
Stilton, onion and potato pie. Really, it is just that. Make some mashed potato, sweat some onions down until nice and golden, then in an ovenproof dish layer mash, onion, stilton and then more mash on top. Bake in the oven and eat. Fabulously stodgy and simple comfort food. Really should be eaten with lots of greenery.
Tuesday 24th January
Ah! No idea of what we ate! Didn’t take a picture so can’t remember. Oh well.
Wednesday 25th January
Macaroni peas. This is a new firm (and super easy and quick) favourite from Hugh’s Everyday Veg. You basically cook peas, then blitz half of them to a puree with some of the pea cooking water. You also add some sliced garlic you’ve gently softened in butter, along with some grated Parmesan (it’s a bit like a pea pesto). Then you mix together your cooked macaroni, pea puree and the remaining whole peas. It’s really delicious.
I am really enjoying our meat-free month and not really finding it a challenge so far – it’s really great to be trying out a lot of recipes that I would usually not cook because we seem to default to others. The only downside was this evening realising that we couldn’t eat fish and chips at the pub – I was pretty gutted.
Monday 16th January
Dev-Mex Pumpkin Soup from the Riverford Cookbook. Pumpkin and tomato soup with a hint of chilli, topped with crumbled tortilla chips, avocado chunks tossed in lime juice, grated Jarlesburg, and coriander.
Utterly, utterly amazing. It’s always those dishes that you want to like, but don’t think you really will, maybe because it contains an ingredient you don’t think you like, and WHAM – so delicious! If there’s one recipe so far I would recommend you make, it would be this one.
Tuesday 17th January
Mushrooms, creme fraiche and pasta. This is Hugh’s mushroom risioniotto…at least I think that’s what it’s called. He does make up some odd names. It’s basically tiny pasta that looks like rice, I love it, it’s very comforting and moreish – probably because you can eat big mouthfuls of it along with some rich sauce. The mushrooms were simply fried in butter until they start to go golden, then some wine and creme fraiche stirred through to make a sauce. I miss calculated the amount of mushrooms and did half the recipe…turns out it was only for 2 people so I definitely won’t mess this up next time, as it did need more mushrooms.
Wednesday 18th January
Roasted tomato and mozzarella risotto. Another from Hugh’s trust Everyday Veg book, and one that we had been cooking regularly before we even considered doing a meat-free month. Yes, perhaps eating tomatoes in January isn’t the most seasonal choice, but my body was craving it and they were bought from Unicorn Grocery in Manchester so not as bad a supermarket tomatoes.
Hugh’s recipe uses a roasted tomato sauce that he also provides a separate recipe for – I just sliced a whole load of plum tomatoes in half and roasted them in the oven with olive oil, sliced garlic and herbs until they were soft and gooey. I think pop the whole lot through my mouli, a carboot bargain that I couldn’t now live without. If the Dev-Mex Pumpkin Soup was my top recommended recipe, the mouli would be my top recommended piece of kitchen kit.
For someone who loves his meat, I love that one of Mr Rigg’s favourite meals is mushroom burgers.
This week we decided to make a summery version, with a little mayonnaise smeared on the sliced buns, the mushrooms grilled with a garlicky butter, then filled with blobs of soft goat’s cheese and a sprinkling of chives. Finally they were topped with a handful of salad, including tiny nasturtium leaves.