Meat free meals for meat eaters!

I’m not a fully-fledged veggie, vegan or even pescatarian (though I do opt for fish over meat most of the time). However, I do firmly believe the future has to be more plant-based. Eating meat every day isn’t good for us (especially red meat and processed meats) but more importantly is that is isn’t sustainable either (watch Cowspiracy people!). Of course, this message wasn’t the easiest to deliver to my meat-eating husband, but with a few carefully planned veggie meals he’s agreed to eating a few more of these each week. Woohoo! So, what were these magical plant-based options? Read on to find out…

HECK Bollywood Bites

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I’ve just discovered these in Waitrose and they’re delicious! I’d say they’re like curry-spiced stuffing balls, only no meat. Served with brown rice and stir-fried veggies, a cucumber raita dip – this went down a treat!

Sweet potato coconut curry

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There’s something about the combination of sweet potato and coconut that really works. They internet is full of recipes, I like this one. Or I’m partial to just combining a little Blue Dragon Red Thai Curry Paste with half fat coconut milk and some almond butter for a quick tasty sauce. Pack the curry with lots of other veggies like mushrooms, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and you’ve got lots of lovely texture with each mouthful.

Frittata

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Okay, so being egg- based this isn’t the most sustainable dish, but baby steps, it’s an exercise in getting meat eaters to realise veggie meals can be very nice and filling. Plus, all the egg means it’s high I protein, so it’s good for gym goers. You can pop almost anything in your Frittata, I like mushrooms, Pappadew peppers, spinach, onion, broccoli and sometimes a little cheese. Herbs and spices and even curry powder are good additions here too – experiment until you get your perfectly flavoured Frittata! Or, there are some really great ready-made ones available on the super market shelves, I LOVE the ones by Higgidy.

Pulled Jackfruit Burger

Jackfruit is from the tropical areas of Southeast Asia, Brazil and Africa. It is technically a fruit, but it has a consistency similar to that of chicken or pork. It has a fairly neutral taste, so it takes on the flavour of the sauce or seasoning you cook it with. It really is surprisingly meaty! When you pull it all apart and cook it in a barbeque style sauce it’s very similar to pulled pork. A bit of effort was required to get the consistency and flavour right, I followed this recipe from Ocado which worked pretty well. The effort was worthwhile though as the resulting burgers we’re really good!

What are your meat-free miracle dishes?

Those are four dishes currently going down well in my household…I’d love to hear more suggestions of yummy meat-free options that will please and satisfy meat-eaters!

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Cupcakes, cookies and Vietnamese cuisine…

Phew, last week was the week to end all weeks – so busy! Fortunately, on the foodie front this meant I got to enjoy some fabulous things too.

There was a trip to London’s west-end and dinner out – lucky me! Naturally I tried to push for a table at the super-tasty Burger and Lobster in Soho – but even on a Tuesday it was heaving. Fortunately we came across Cay Tre, a nearby Vietnamese restaurant that proved be be delicious. The food was fresh and fragrant without being at all overpowering and there was so just much on the menu that I wanted to try! In the end we settled on a mixed platter of traditional Vietnamese goodies to start and I had a stewed pork belly, cooked with caramelised coconut and a hard boiled egg for a main course. Here’s a little look at our yummy spread of Vietnamese food…

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Dinner at Cay Tre in Soho

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My dish of stewed pork belly…it was excellent

Last week also saw me launching Martha Stewart’s beautiful new Home Office collection of accessories – to celebrate we had cookies and cupcakes baked to Martha Stewart’s own recipes, which of course were absolutely lovely. Here’s a little sneak peak at the refreshments table piled high with Martha Stewart’s Old Fashion Sugar Cookies (sadly the cakes aren’t in this shot – we were still setting up at this point)…

As you would expect Martha Stewart's sugar cookies did not disappoint!

As you would expect Martha Stewart’s sugar cookies did not disappoint!

It didn’t end there for the culinary delights last week – there were birthday dinner celebrations in the Old Vine in Winchester, a Paella at El Sabio and a get-together at my long-term favourite The Bugle Inn, Twyford (I highly recommend their new veggie dish of grilled halloumi with sweet potato fries).

Barely a week passes without a trip to The Bugle these days!

Barely a fortnight passes without a trip to The Bugle these days!

So yes…I’ve hardly cooked a thing recently and I’ve certainly over indulged – I’m so thankful for the foodie fun times and experiences I’ve had in the last week!

Now it’s time to get the 5:2 diet back on track and hit-up Movers & Shapers again.

Hopefully I’ll eat a little more sensibly this week…

How many is too many roast potatoes?

Well for a family of four, the answer is this many…

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A huge plate full of my dad's amazing roast potatoes

These are my dad’s famous Christmas Day roast potatoes and fabulous though they were, I think this was the first year we didn’t manage to polish them all off! The remaining roasties didn’t go to waste though, they went very well in sandwiches and with cold meats the next day. I’m also a big fan of using them for a soup, along with the rest of the left overs from the big day and creating a lovely thick ‘roast dinner soup’. I love hearing about what other people do with their Christmas Day left overs – any unusual recipes…do let me know!

The big day itself was a wonderful occasion spent with my family, eating, drinking, gift giving and generally being merry. And aside from some transportation issues with a bit of bird cage/smart car drama, I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas.

Thank you to my amazing family for a brilliant day, for welcoming my crazy parrot into your home and for all the fabulous gifts I received! A special shout out goes out to my Dad and his sublime Christmas Dinner – excellent as always!

xXx

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The festive spread