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!

Blogs

 I’m off on hols for a couple of weeks so thought i’d leave you with some foodie websites/blogs of interest in my absence… 😉

pin an awful lot of recipes from various places on the internet and sometimes make an interesting blog discovery through those.
Here are a few I think are worth a look:

He Needs Food

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hanoi11a

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All Pictures by He Needs Food

He Needs Food is a food and travel blog by an Australian, I originally found the blog whilst looking up photo’s of Vietnam – he has taken some great ones! I pretty much used his posts on Vietnam as my culinary guide when we were in the country 🙂 He has some interesting recipes too though.

Lavender and Lovage

Parmesan & Chive Salmon with Garlic & Nutmeg Spinach

Parmesan & Chive Salmon with Garlic & Nutmeg Spinach

Chilli Peppered Chicken Steaks & Mediterranean Goat’s Cheese Vegetable Stacks

Chilli Peppered Chicken Steaks & Mediterranean Goat’s Cheese Vegetable Stacks

Butterbean & Chorizo Stew

Butterbean & Chorizo Stew

All photo’s Lavender and Lovage (clicking on photo will take you to recipe)

Lavender and Lovage is a website I found when trying out the 5:2 diet, the three recipes above are all low in calories but delicious! If you still want to eat interesting food on a diet then this is the website for you. It’s not all diet recipes however, there are all sorts of lovely sounding recipes to try out.

Not Without Salt

Bacon, Kale and Ricotta Sandwich

Bacon, Kale and Ricotta Sandwich

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Coconut Date shake

Tuscan Melon Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Crispy Prosciutto

Tuscan Melon Salad with Basil Vinaigrette and Crispy Prosciutto

All Photos by Not without Salt (click for recipes)

Not Without Salt is a blog I found whilst perusing pinterest for rhubarb recipes (my first post was inspired by a recipe from this blog!). I love the photography and interesting mix of recipes, and the fact there are quite a few drink recipes also. Worth checking out!

Some other blogs/websites that have good food sections

A Beautiful Mess – Needs no introduction but as well as all the inspiring DIY ideas there are also lots of food and drink recipes (mostly vegetarian).

Sheer Luxe – A lifestyle website with great fashion and beauty tips, but also a really interesting selection of recipes – I think I’ve pinned most of the ones on their website!

The Critical Couple – No recipes here, but if you’ve ever wondered about what it’s like to eat in all the top restaurants in the world (who hasn’t!) then read these reviews and look at the pictures, and drool…

Red Online – Red Magazine has interesting recipes every month, and helpfully, they’re pretty much all archived on their website 🙂

BBC Good Food – Last but not least, an old friend of mine! BBC Good Food website always delivers the goods –  if I’ve lost inspiration, or feel like cooking something but don’t have a recipe, this is the website I turn to first.

I also have a trusty arsenal of recipe books that I will have to do a separate post on at a later date!

If anyone has any tips on good blogs, let me know.

Happy Reading!