I would seriously challenge anyone who made this statement about vegetarian food. In the two weeks that I have been a pretend vegetarian I can hardly think of one meal that hasn’t been nutritious and delicious, with the exception of a meal that I had at a restaurant last week whilst out with friends. (it was an Italian restaurant and the choice was very limited). I have certainly learnt a lot about being a vegetarian. Much of this learning has come not only from the cooking I have done, and lots of it, but also of people’s perceptions of what a veggie life is like. Friends have said things like, ‘You have to eat a lot of cheese if you are vegetarian’, wrong!, and ‘So, have you eaten lots of quorn whilst being a vegetarian’, no, and not even sure I would want to. ‘I just think that you need to have some red meat in your diet otherwise you start to feel a bit low’, I have never felt better since being a vegetarian but there is a bit but in all of this. In my opinion you have to be prepared to cook and be able to cook. Planning is key to having a varied and nutritionally balanced vegetarian diet. If you just walk into the kitchen and hope to conjure up a well-balanced meal I don’t think you will. I have taken a lot of time out of the kitchen to get ready for this food experiment. I have tried food combinations that I never believed could work. I have spent hours making feasts for my husband and I in the name of nutrition. And it has worked. I don’t actually think I will go back to being a fully fledged carnivore, not that I was anyway. I might have the odd serving of spaghetti bolognaise with my daughter or fish and chips with my son but in all honesty I have absolutely loved the challenge of cooking new foods and want to raise the bar even more.
Proving that vegetarian food is not boring here is a fabulous recipe that I made tonight using some local ingredients, with a twist!! I was so good I just had to share it with you immediately.
STUFFED PEPPERS WITH FONDANT SWEDE AND GOAT’S CHEESE
This recipe has been adapted from ‘Plenty More’ by Yotam Ottolenghi
You will need –
150g unsalted butter
1 medium swede (I used a turnip) peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
10g thyme leaves
30g grated parmesan (if you want it really cheesy add your desired quantity)
2 crushed garlic cloved
2 large red peppers & 2 large yellow peppers
180g goat’s cheese log cut into 1cm cubes (I used a Lancashire variety called Kidderton Ash, it was delicious)
Salt and black pepper
Melt the butter in a large frying or saute pan on a medium heat. Add the turnip/swede and thyme along with a sprinkle of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, for about 50minutes, spooning the butter over the swede, until the swede is completely soft and caramelised (It took mine a lot longer and in the end I put a lid on to speed up the softening). Use a slotted spoon to remove the swede and add to a bowl containing the garlic, parmesan and capers.
Pre-heat the oven to 230degrees, slice the peppers length ways leaving the stalks on, lay on a baking tray covered with baking paper and drizzle with the olive oil. Put in the hot oven for 35minutes until slightly charred. Then turn the oven down to 180 degrees whilst you fill the peppers.
Once your mixture is ready fill your pepper halves, topped with the cubed goat’s cheese and place back in the oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is slightly brown. Serve immediately. We had them solo for a light supper but they would be equally good with a jacket sweet potato, baked at the same time as the pepper or a cous cous salad. We will be eating ours for lunch tomorrow and enjoying every mouthful. Hope you do too.
Thanks for reading! Lx