Sunday, 4 May 2014

BEDM Day 4 - Adventures in meatless cooking

One of my Not Really Resolutions this year was to make more of an effort to try out some new vegetarian meals. I wrote that I would eat one veggie meal a week but I allowed myself some leeway, as long as it adds up to 52 at the end then I'll count it a success.

There have been a couple of obstacles in the way of my venture, one such obstacle being The Person.

If I called him a fussy eater he would vehemently deny it and that probably isn't a fair label. He just has a lot more things on his list of Things I Don't Like than I do.

He did not greet my decision to eat more vegetarian meals with masses of enthusiasm, he is very much the meat eater. But he has agreed to go along with it and has been a kind of willing participant in my latest experiment.

The one obstacle that I still have is that the list of vegetables that The Person really doesn't like include some of the bestest vegetables that feature most often in vegetarian recipes - namely carrots, butternut squash and sweet potato.Damn him damn him. When I tell people this there is always a chorus of people that say "Cook it anyway" and yes I agree but for a few small things:

1. I'm not cooking two meals
2. I'm not putting up with a kitchen where two people are trying to cook two different meals
3. Our freezer isn't big enough for me to freeze my lovely carroty/butternut squashy/sweet potatoey leftovers

(Living with a boyfriend can be inconvenient sometimes you know.)

But I've been coping well in my mostly root vegetable existence. I've looked online for recipes and I've had a ton of recipes recommended to me - mostly by you lovely guys. I've scoured through the always overlooked vegetarian sections of the cook books that I own and leafed through the scraps of torn out recipes that I've pulled from magazines. I bought a cheap little book from Tesco that contains lots of veggie recipes - that has been a little treasure trove of ideas, best £3 I've spent in a long time.

I've been trying to go for purely vegetable dishes and not go for meat substitutes such as Quorn or tofu. No particular reason, just trying to see what veggies can do when left to their own devices.

There have been successes and some....less so (falafel burgers I'm looking at you here). But actually on the whole it's all been going well. I'm torn between whether or not it's quicker to make veggie meals rather than meat ones. It feels like there's a lot more prep that goes on - those things don't chop and peel themselves you know. But on the other hand the cooking process is over much more quickly - no-one likes limp veg after all.

I've done well so far at not really repeating anything - the lentil bolognese I've counted for two meals and it will be the same for the aubergine and courgette lasagna. I did think about being very strict and only counting 'new' recipes as part of my 52 I'm doing well as it is, let's not make it more difficult.

The Person and I tend to do one week on and one week off for cooking and as much as he is on-board with my idea (kind of) The Person is not in any particular hurry to cook vegetarian meals on his own steam. So that tends to mean that on my weeks we're having at least two veggie meals.

At the time of writing we are 18 weeks into the year. We have eaten fifteen meals so there's a chance that we'll be having some purely veggie weeks throughout the year to come.

Perhaps my greatest achievement won't be expanding my culinary repertoire but turning The Person into a veggie lover. I'm slowly chipping away at his defences - I could tell he wasn't thrilled at the prospect of the aubergine and courgette lasagna I made this weekend, those vegetables ranking only very slightly above those orange ones I was talking about earlier. Upon finishing his plate I asked him what he thought of it.

"I feel very conflicted. I didn't think I would like it, but it was really nice and I want seconds and I wasn't  expecting it and now I don't know how to feel. It's as if I was kissing another boy and liking it."

Who needs a Michelin star?


  1. Mark and I try to eat veggie as often as we can, I love Portobello mushrooms with onions and avocado as burger replacements!

    Maria xxx

  2. That Vegetables I Won't Eat is almost identical to my husband's list. I try to sneak them into things, usually ground up, but it rarely works. He tastes everything.

    So I cook two meals. But I like cooking and can usually cook them both at once, so it works.

    1. Unfortunately I'm not as kind as you!

      Although I reckon I could sneak more in than I am doing at the moment.

  3. I've been veggie for 22 years. However I don't like cooking a great deal and so I have a lot of quick & easy meals such as pasta and yes I do resort to ready meals. It doesn't seem worth the effort cooking for one.

  4. I'm impressed. It can be awkward cooking for someone who is not all that open to non-meat eating, especially without meat substitutes to fake it through (quorn mince is handy for sneakily neglecting to mention the absence of real meat until the dish is finished...although maybe some people are less deceitful than me...). Nice selection you've got there, veggie tapas looks yumm, what did it include? & what happened with the falafel burgers?

    1. The veggie tapas was great, although a bit frenetic in the kitchen trying to get everything ready at the same time!

      We had brushetta, garlic mushrooms and spinach and sweetcorn fritters - was well nice.

      The falafel burgers just wouldn't stick together. I think I needed an egg or something to bind it all together. Or I should have stuck them in the fridge for a while to firm up. The little bastards just kept crumbling apart! They tasted nice though!

  5. Ha! He ate some veg and he liked ittttttt....

    I'm nowhere near as adventurous as I should be with veggie dishes - the fact so many of them involve cheese is not helpful. There's a fab recipe for carrot and something burgers (can't remember the other ingredient!) on A Girl Called Jack though and I have a yummy courgette fritter recipe knocking somewhere if you fancy it?

    1. Ha carrot burgers? I don't know if I can sneak that one past him although I could try and stealth attack and hide the carrots from him.

      But definitely send over the courgette fritter recipe if you get the chance, that sounds well good.

  6. Vegetables.... I love vegetables, but features is a nightmare in that he went through the worst phase of only acknowledging them as sides. One of my fave veggie dishes that I often cook for when people come over is Parmigiana- usually made with aubergine sliced and grilled, layered up with tomato sauce and oven baked. A variant I rather like is to treat it more like lasagne and to top it with bechamel sauce, cheese and grill. Also, the fritata I cooked at Norbury can be made veggie really easily.

  7. Love The Person's reaction to your lasagne! Which looks super tasty by the way. As do the veggie tapas. I am now REALLY hungry.

  8. Love The Person's reaction to your lasagne! Which looks super tasty by the way. As do the veggie tapas. I am now REALLY hungry.


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