Meat Free Freak

So this week is ‘Meat Free Week’ in the UK (and I believe, Australia). I must confess, it has taken me by surprise – I only found out about it yesterday (after having already bought food for the week… with meat in it!). What a bad food blogger, I should have my finger on the pulse(s). Sorry.

Although I won’t be taking part fully this year, the OH and I are regular meat-free eaters here and have fairly easily gone a week without it in the past, so I don’t feel too bad…

If you want to find out more about the campaign the official website is here, but the general aims of this week seem to be to raise awareness of how much meat we as a nation eat (more than double the world average!), and how this can impact on our health and the environment. Also thinking more about where our meat comes from, and whether it is ethical or sustainable, which is something I personally find important.

If you are attempting Meat Free week this year, or just want some veggie ideas, then here are some of my favourite non-meat meals, and some I can’t wait to try!

For those needing a burger or similar:

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Portobello burger with broccoli pesto & almond-crusted courgette fries (Sheerluxe)

When burgers look this good, what’s not to like? The recipe doesn’t include how to make broccoli pesto, but I (helpfully) made some last week to go with gnocchi so here is a super-quick run-through of how I made it:

Take 1 head of broccoli, chop roughly and blanch in boiling salted water for approx 3-4 minutes. Lightly fry a garlic clove, and dry fry/toast approx 75g pine nuts. Drain the broccoli and add to a blender or food processor with 100ml olive oil, the toasted pine nuts, the garlic, 1 mild chilli and approx 50g of grated parmesan cheese. Blend to a paste to create the pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

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Epic Crispy Quinoa burger with beer-caramelised onions, gruyere and sweet potato fries (half-baked harvest)

WHEN BURGERS LOOK THIS GOOD, WHO NEEDS MEAT?! Sorry for shouting, but this looks ridiculous and I need to make it soon. When only something dirty will do…

Something a bit healthier:

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Broad bean, feta and new potato quesadilla’s

These beauties are a delight, and quite spring-like. Broad beans, peas, new potatoes, feta, mint – just lovely.

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Carrot Fritters with halloumi & sweet lemon dressing (sheerluxe)

Another spring-like delight, these went down a storm at a veggie dinner party we gave a while ago. The sweet lemon dressing makes it special.

Comfort food:

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Truffled gnocchi with mushroom ragu (simply delicious)

Posh comfort food that is… anything with truffle in I will eat (I think), and a ragu with mushrooms sounds comforting and stodgy and lovely when there’s still a chill in the air – like today!

d96d56cc14c6ca4713149d6adc2f9987 Tenderstem & Split-pea curry with caramelised shallots (Red online)

Chilly comfort food again – lentils, pulses and split-peas are some of my staples and they are elevated with the caramelised shallots and tender stem broccoli in this recipe.

Lunch:

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Roasted cauliflower & mushroom quinoa salad with balsamic vinaigrette (closet cooking)

A lovely salad which is excellently very tasty cold as well as hot. Make a big batch of this and it’ll last most of the week! We tend to put blue cheese in it instead of goats, but whatever you choose it’ll taste great. Very filling too.

Brunch: 

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Griddled sourdough with halloumi and mushrooms (Red online)

Three of my favourite words in one sentence there – sourdough, halloumi, and mushrooms. Could easily be supper instead of brunch if you (i.e I!) wanted.

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Baked eggs with spinach and black garlic soldiers (red online)

Had to get eggs in there for brunch! This sounds delicious, and I’m sure normal garlic would work just as well as black – or maybe even wild garlic?

A Quick one:

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Molletes (sheerluxe)

The recipe for these little mexican delights involve making your own re-fried beans and fresh tomato salsa which, although admirable, is not needed if you just want something tasty – as you can buy both quite easily at the supermarket. It is therefore just a case of opening a couple of tins, putting it all on some ciabbata buns and putting it under the grill. Simples 😉

You might recall I did a post on an (almost) meat-free week a while back, and the recipes there are some of my favourites too, but I didn’t want to replicate. Therefore, the link is here if you’d like to take a look.

Meat-free or not, have a tasty week!

Stews for the blues (and curries, and broths, and pilaf’s…)

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Well today is apparently ‘Blue Monday’ – the most depressing day of the year… I’m sorry if anyone is finding it particularly depressing today, but i’m not feeling it – I have the day off, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and it’s nearly my birthday 😉

I definitely understand why January can be a tough month generally for many of us though – trying to be good, trying to keep new year’s resolutions, dark mornings, dark evenings – possibly drinking no alcohol? I always want to start eating a bit healthier in January, partly a new year thing, mainly a ‘I ate way too much over Christmas’ thing! But, because of the cold, dark days I also want to eat food that is comforting and warming – think stews, soups, carbs etc. These can be good if you’re feeling a bit ill or generally down too.

So if you’re feeling either of those, or you have good January intentions that aren’t coming into fruition, Maybe I can help with inspiration. Here are some of the comforting, healthy recipes the OH and I have been making and eating over the past couple of weeks…

Mexican Chicken Stew with Quinoa and Beans

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Recipe found here, serves 4.

This recipe is one of my default ‘healthy but tasty’ meals as it’s all good stuff, but is also hearty and a bit spicy. I found it when trying out the 5:2 diet last year – it was the most filling and tasty fast-day recipe I could find! It has chipotle paste in it which gives it a kick (p.s. I only recently realised chipotle is pronounced chip-oat-lay and unfortunately does not rhyme with aristotle as I had previously thought – sad times.)

If anyone is interested in fast-day recipes I have a pinterest board devoted to them – they are good if you just want to cut down on calories a bit without fasting too.

Courgette and Aubergine Curry

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Recipe found here, serves 4.

This recipe is a hemsley + hemsley one – every time I see their recipes I think how tasty (and healthy) they all are, so I may have to buy their book soon! All the ingredients in this asian-inspired curry are so fresh-sounding, and I love coconut milk. They bulk out the sauce with red split lentils too which is good in my book. P.s. bone broth is just stock, nothing too weird! So if you’re a veggie, just swap for water or vegetable stock.

Beef and Ginger broth with Noodles

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Recipe found here, serves 2.

Another Asian-inspired recipe, this time a warming broth. Tasty, tangy and surprisingly filling – we couldn’t find any wakame flakes so we used wakame miso powder instead (the sachets you make miso soup with), but we did find that birdseye does frozen soya/edamame beans which was quite exciting!

Turkish Runner Bean and Bulgar Wheat Pilaf with Garlic Yoghurt
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Recipe found here, serves 4 as a main.

Another vegetarian recipe, this one can be an accompaniment to meat or fish, or the star of the show itself – we decided to make it the star. We didn’t have the turkish pepper paste, so we put in a fresh pepper, and we also added a pinch of allspice and cinnamon to the dish too. I can’t eat raw garlic in food, I find it waaay too strong, so we also cooked the garlic clove before adding it to the yoghurt. It was a tasty, filling dish and I could almost imagine I was back in Istanbul in the sunshine… until I remembered i was sat on the sofa, under a blanket, with a hot water bottle.

I hope these recipes give you some inspiration if you’re lacking ideas for healthy, comfort food – and I hope none of you have a blue monday – just a blue-sky!