Sunday, 19 November 2017

No-Meat November

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So, you managed a Dry January and survived being Sober for October. Just one more life-style changing month before plunging headfirst into Decadent December.

For health reasons, we are cutting right back on meat and processed foods for a month. Perhaps you would like to join me? I am aiming for a veggie vingtaine- 20 out of the 30 November meals to be meat-free.

I estimate that it will be not just better for our health, but also better for our budget and for the planet.
So here goes.

In addition to the usual pasta, quiches, soups, salads and stir fries which make up our standard meat-free meals- I am looking to expand my repertoire with some new recipes too.
I began with a Vegetable Satay Chow Mein- a selection of veg from the fridge ( courgettes, spring onions, bean sprouts, red pepper, mushrooms ) fried in a wok with some cooked egg noodles added in. The Satay sauce is made quickly from 2 tbsp peanut butter, 2 tbsp chilli sauce, 1 tbsp lemon or lime juice, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 200 ml coconut milk and 2 tbsp boiling water. Mix it all up and add it to the stir fry. Add more chilli or soy to taste.
Vegetable Satay Chow Mein
The leftovers will go into a Miso Noodle Soup

'Leftovers' Miso Soup
and these yummy little pancakes - Ban Khoai.
Make a pancake batter with 1 egg, 1 cup of plain flour, 1 1/2 cups of milk, a pinch of salt and a pinch of turmeric for colour.
Fry little saucer sized pancakes and stack (keep warm)
Fill each one with a spoonful of the re-fried noodles and veg. Fold and serve in a lettuce leaf with a chilli dipping sauce.
Ban Khoai
Next challenge- a really good veggie burger.

I think I've found it in this 5-a-day Burger.

150 g  fresh mushrooms
50g dried mushrooms
2-3 spring onions
1 clove of garlic ( finely chopped)
1 cup cooked Puy lentils
1tbsp hummus
1 cup grated fresh carrot
1 veg stock cube
1 cup soft white breadcrumbs
1 cup toasted breadcrumbs ( for coating)

1. Soak the dried mushrooms in a tbsp boiling water.
2. Blitz the fresh mushrooms, spring onions and garlic in a food processor

Blitz the mushrooms
3. Squeeze out the soaked mushrooms (keep the liquid), chop and add to the fresh ones.
4. Fry the mushroom mixture, adding a crumbled stock cube and the (filtered) mushroom liquor
5. Cook rapidly until all the moisture has evaporated.

Fry the mushroom mixture and season well
6. Allow to cool and then place in a bowl along with the hummus, carrot and lentils.
Your 5-a-day in a bowl
7. Mix well and then add the soft breadcrumbs to soak up any liquid.
8. Chill for an hour or so, then coat in the toasted breadcrumbs.

Toasted breadcrumbs on
9. Fry in hot oil
Looks like the real thing!

and serve with chips and extra salad.

Now, how about Carrot, Sweetcorn and Courgette Fritters with Fried Halloumi?

Put 1 grated carrot, 1 grated courgette, 1 cup of sweetcorn, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 egg and 1 heaped tablespoon of plain flour in a bowl.

Mix to a batter and then fry spoonfuls in hot oil until golden.

Fry until golden
Serve with slices of fried halloumi and a salad with a lemon vinaigrette.

Carrot, courgette and sweetcorn fritters with fried halloumi

Next, Miso Aubergine with steamed rice.

Slice 2 aubergines, brush with oil and bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes or so until tender. Mix up 2 tbsp miso paste, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp chili sauce, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp sherry ( or mirin or Muscat depending on whether you're in the UK or France). Pour over the aubergines and continue to cook in the oven until the sauce becomes thick and caramelized (15 minutes or so). Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and finely chopped spring onion. Delicious!

Miso Aubergines
And final dish this month- Butternut Falafel.

Steam or roast (whichever you prefer) 500g of butternut squash, then mash it with a potato masher until it makes a coarse puree.
Blitz to a paste a can of (drained) chick peas with 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1 handful of chopped parsley, 1 tsp each of ground cumin and coriander, juice of 1/2 lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Mix together with the squash and shape into patties ( an ice cream scoop does this well).Place on an oiled baking tray and chill for half an hour or so.
Scoop out your falafel onto an oiled baking tray
Bake for around 20 minutes in a hot oven until golden and firm.
Serve with salad, pitta bread and hummus.

Butternut falafel- yum!yum!
And so, how did it go? Did you manage to resist meat? We are finding that we love this new diet.It seems a shame to go back to eating meat- even though Christmas is coming. 

Perhaps we won't.

Image result for dog that has eaten a carrot
If he can do it....