Sunday, 10 February 2008

Less meat and hopefully more blogging.

One of the things on my list of aims for Lent, and for my Making A New Start objectives, is to eat less meat. It seems to be better both for our health (because it encourages eating more veggies, pulses and such) and for the planet (check out this article) so that should be good incentive. Here's our dinner for the first Friday of Lent a stew of beans, tomatoes and vegetables.

It's not actually vegetarian because I did use some bacon fat and the last of the gallon of duck broth I made after we had roast duck a few weeks back. They add nice flavour (and also mean I'm making better overall use of the meat we do eat). Of course it can easily be vegetarian, and I've made it that way for friends who are veggie and for myself during my 7 years as a vegetarian.

Start by adding a small onion (chopped) into a pan over low heat in the fat of your choice and cook until they start getting clear. Add garlic, then celery and carrot and saute a while adding in some pepper, paprika, a little chili powder, oregano and basil. Then add in tomatoes (I used a large can), and beans. (For the first time in a while I soaked and cooked a mix of dry beans myself - black, pinto and white beans, black eyed and chick peas, but more often of late I've used canned.)

In this case I served the beans over potatoes roasted in a little duck fat and broth but it's good over baked or mashed potatoes, egg noodles, rice and probably any other grain that takes your fancy, or I'm guessing it would work over greens of some kind too. Leftovers with extra liquid (probably stock of some kind and extra canned tomatoes) make a hearty soup too. And of course there's lots of room for playing with this recipe depending on what vegetables/beans/pulses you like/are in season/you happen to have on hand.

To balance the sensible food choices of the main meal I decided to make something more decadent for dessert (to keep the husband on side, or perhaps because I wanted chocolate...). It's Chocolate Pudding Cake, I know it doesn't look that wonderful in the photo, and you can't really see the sliced banana and warmed through raspberries underneath which added a lot to the dish but this is mighty tasty. There are lots of recipes for this kind of chocolate cakey dessert where you mix most of the ingredients in the cake tin (fewer dishes to wash), then sprinkle over more sugar and cocoa and pour over more liquid and it cooks into a cake with a gooey chocolaty sauce on the bottom.

(I don't use the coffee because I don't much care for coffee, and my 18 month old doesn't get coffee yet. Also I think I would add less vanilla next time, I am never quite sure I'm crazy about vanilla essence in things and it struck me while taking a bite of this that it's because it reminds me of play dough... I told my husband about my realization and he complained because it had never occurred to him before but now it was reminding him of play dough too).

Well, I've spent longer talking about the food than I meant to and need to go to bed if I'm going to make it to church in the morning so this will be all for now, but I'm excited to be posting more often again and hope to be back soon with more (including a picture of the first of my diagonal rib socks!).

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