A few of you may have noticed that the Meat Free Monday’s posts looked a little, well, dodgy. Anyone that follows me on Twitter or Facebook will have noticed that I was posting what I’d eaten that day for dinner at 9am. I can explain this. Each of those was one the week before. That is how I’m able to do the “Next week: ” section. This week, however, is live, and yes, I have written this today.
Branflakes and Banana
Nandos hot sauce (Naturally)
Breakfast and lunch were quite boring as I’d not had the time to whip up anything substantial the night before. So I had to look under my desk and use some old cereal I had lying around.
The Spaghetti was amazing. I thought I’d go all out and make everything from scratch. I didn’t use a jar of sauce, I actually made it myself! It took a long time to make though, but I think the end result was definitely worth all the effort. I bought a living Basil plant and trimmed off some of the leaves to put in it. It tastes a lot better than the dried herbs I’d usually use!
Meat Free Monday conclusion:
It’s definitely doable. The hardest part I’ve found about the whole thing was coming up with new and interesting ideas each week. I’ve come up with 4 different meals to each on Mondays. If I ate each of these every day of the week, it’d drive me crackers. I’m not sure if it’s something I’d carry on with as it’s just too much hard work, and I have to hand it to Vegetarians (and vegans) who manage to make their food interesting and enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed some of the things I made, but some really could have used some meat in.
I was a little disappointed with my lunch. I’d completely forgotten and not planned anything, so ended up eating rubbish instead.
My dinner was really nice! It was very spicy though. The instructions on the hot sauce I added says to add one drop at a time. I like things spicy, so I put a cap full in! I think this was where I went wrong. It was that hot it gave me a nose bleed! Honestly! I don’t think at any point during the meal that I actually thought about meat. It was obviously lacking in a pound of beef mince, but I can’t say I thought about it.
2 large Portobello mushrooms
Hand full of spicy chilli wedges
I’ve had Red Lentil Soup 3 weeks on the trot now and it’s still yummy.
I thought my dinner was pretty good! A lot better than what I was expecting! I thought it was going to taste a bit bland, but actually it was pretty flavoursome. I thought it had a bit of a bitter taste, but I think that was down to the rocket salad. I’m thinking about making this at the weekend for the missus as it was that tasty!
Cheerios / Honey Nut Shredded Wheat (I had about half a bowl left in both boxes. So thought I’d mix them)
Red Lentil Soup
After my disappointing attempt at cooking something veggie last week, I thought I’d cook something I knew I was 100% Guaranteed to enjoy… Home-made Penne Pasta. I’ve cooked this quite a few times before, but I’ve always used either bacon or chicken when making it. I thought I’d give it ago without any meat what so ever instead of using a meat substitute.
Tin of Tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
Good old glug of Nandos Hot sauce
2 cups of Penne pasta
1 Yellow pepper
1 Red Onion.
The red lentil soup was brilliant as always.
My dinner was brilliant. Everything was very tasty thanks to the garlic, and their was just the right amount of spice in it. This is the first time I’ve ever made my own tomato sauce from scratch, and I think I pulled it off. I’d bought two Dolmio sachets just in case, but I definitely didn’t need them.
I would definitely have this again if I were to carry on having Meat Free Mondays and I can honestly say that I didn’t miss the meat.
I thought I’d kick start my Meat Free Monday challenge by making one of my favourite dishes: Spaghetti Bolognese.
I love this dish. If their were such a thing as “Desert Island food”, this would be the dish I would take with me. Of course, Desert Island Food sounds like a stupid idea, and in practicality, you’d be better off taking CDs rather than food. At least you can use the CDs more than once and use then as a mirror to flag down passing planes. The way I’ve made Spaghetti Bolognese has changed quite a lot in the last few years as my tastes have changed, and simply because I don’t want to get bored of it. I used to used beef mince, but instead I now use Pork mince. Partly because I prefer the taste and it’s a little bit leaner than beef. I no longer put sweetcorn in it as I’ve kind of gone of sweetcorn recently. I never used to mix the pasta into the sauce, but now I find I enjoy the pasta more when it’s all mixed together and not just I’ve also added more vegetables and reduced the amount of meat I actually use to make it a bit more healthy.
I really enjoyed my lunch. My girlfriend made the Red Lentil Soup at the weekend and she uses all sorts of spices in it. Perfect after a long cold walk.
I’ll break my dinner down into categories to make it easier… Smell: Quorn doesn’t really smell of anything. On opening the pack of mince, I was expecting something quite potent to come rushing out of it, instead of the dull, slightly musty smell that did eventually come out of it. Taste: Non-existent. It doesn’t taste of anything either. It does however absorb what ever it is you are cooking it in. I used quite a lot of spices and a tomato sauce, but still it didn’t taste of anything. Texture: Like polystyrene balls. I found the mince quite rubbery and didn’t disintegrate when you chewed it. I kept finding bits in my teeth and in the crevices in my mouth for a good while after. Comparison to meat: It doesn’t compare. Full stop.
I would say this wasn’t a very successful first attempt, as I found it disgusting, bland and just generally unpleasent. It’s rare for me to leave any food on my plate, but I left the majority of it. I think I had around 3 mouth fulls, then found myself picking at the pasta before leaving it. I wish I’d not have bothered putting the Quorn mince in to be honest. I should have just stopped and left it when it was purely vegetables. I think I might try this again on the last week. I might make it again but without any mince and see how that goes.
I read an article recently about a campaign called “Meat Free Mondays”. It’s pretty self explanatory as to what it involves, so I won’t dive into too much details. I thought I’d give this a go and see how it works out for me. I’m not a vegetarian, I love meats and most of my dinners do involve meat in some way. I can only think of one thing that I cook regularly that doesn’t have any meat products in. It’s been on the news a fair bit recently as a means of reducing the countrie’s overall CO2 emissions. Apparently, more CO2 is produced from the meat and livestock industrys than from transport.
I’m very doubtful it’ll be something that I would be willing to adopt long term, so I’m willing to give this a go for 1 month (5 Mondays). As I say, I’m not a vegetarian, and I’ve not been forced into this by any pushy vegetarians. I’ve simply decided to try and see if Meat Free Mondays were, for me, a good idea or not. As a devout meat eater, I will be finding it harder to come up with recipes and ideas for meat free meals, so if you have any recipes or suggestions, please post them below and I’ll give them a go.