I love my food, and especially meat..bacon, minted lamb steaks, sausages, chicken, fish….mmmmm!! So this 50@50 challenge was one which I had real trepidation about ( and so did Chris as he thought I was going to be miserable company for two weeks). To add to my concerns I am back at slimming world, to try and achieve another challenge of losing some weight,……so this meant I had to be careful about cheese ( have I mentioned my love of cheese too?? Can’t think why I may need to lose weight!!). Anyway last night I completed my two weeks and….wait for it
I REALLY ENJOYED IT 😊😊
It was not a hardship at all. I treated myself to a finale meal of Kodava Mushroom Curry with coconut ( a Madhur Jaffrey recipe ) which was quite high in syns because of the coconut milk, but it was rich, tasty and felt like something you would order out.
I discovered I really like chickpea Dahl ( I am a bit of a food snob and would not normally eat tinned food but more fool me as I have been missing out…only 2 syns per tin and very tasty for a quick lunch on jacket potato). I have also eaten lots of roasted peppers ( add goats cheese five minutes before the end….heaven) and then cold with couscous made up with ras el hanout stock.
I also tried some ‘vegetarian’ products like sausages, a pie, meatballs and Quorn. I found out that Quorn mince was great and as long as you use seasoning and spices there is very little difference, and the meatballs were particularly good. As for the sausages…..not quite the texture or taste of a wild boar or pork and leek sausage…so not for me.
My one big mistake was to use Parmesan cheese which I had no idea that vegetarians did not eat… I think because of the rennet. The big bonuses from these two weeks were the savings I made on my shopping bill….considerable savings (although these may have been swallowed up by Chris who ate at work for two week. Also at my last weigh-in I lost 3lb and hoping for another loss this week so it obviously agrees with me.
I did not attempt this for ethical reasons, merely for making myself try different foods and to see if I missed meat. After two weeks I have not, however after two more I am sure I would. But I don’t have to wait that long as I am off soon to my good friend Helen who is cooking a leg of French venison…and I am very much looking forward to it. But, I am considering having either a designated vegetarian day ( if there is not too much dissent in the camp) or maybe Mon-Fri vegetarian lunches…as I think I will stick to being an omnivore, but with less emphasis on the meat!!
My daughter Katie has been trying to coax me to have sushi for a number of years now, but belligerently, and with no good reason, I have declined. So when I was out with my friend of 35 years, Fiona, and I explained this she set upon this as her 50@50 challenge for me.
And this is what I have learnt:-
- Sushi does NOT mean raw fish, but ‘it’s sour’ referring to the rice
- Sushi is a Japanese dish
- the rice used is a special short-grain rice (awake-zu ) and when mixed with rice vinegar, salt and sugar and is known as shari
- nigiri is the sliced raw fish with rice under it
- maki is sushi which is rolled and sliced
- both nigiri and maki are intended to be eaten with your fingers
- sashimi is sliced raw fish which should be eaten with chopsticks
- only the fish elements should be dipped in the soy sauce
- the pickled ginger is intended to be a palate cleanser
Fiona very kindly bought a selection of vegetarian and fish sushi round to my house (a great way to have a first try for the uninitiated) and we had light soy, sweet chilli dipping sauce and wasabi as accompaniments. Well I am sure it is no surprise to you all, that my inability to try new things has meant I have been depriving myself of a real treat.
I grew up with Sunday night teas being winkles, cockles, whelks, prawn and bread and butter….sushi is a posh version of this and I loved it!!! I enjoyed the vegetable and the fish (which bodes well for my 2 week vegetarian challenge), the crunch of vegetables, texture of the rice, full fishy taste and visual beauty…..I enjoyed it all. I also really liked the hit of the pickled ginger….ginger was the find of my 40s…in cakes, stir frys, chocolate and now pickled in sushi….mmmm 😍. However I can not say the same for wasabi, which was like horse radish and mustard and not to my palate at the moment…but I will persevere. So thank you Fiona for a lovely lunch and pushing me out of my comfort zone….next I can have a play on the revolving conveyor belt of yumminess!!!
So whilst Chris (hubby) is still away motorcycling, I thought I would practice some vegetarian meals for my two week 50@50 eating vegetarian challenge. I have not eaten vegetarian food much, however as we are growing so many vegetables in our garden it seems like a good time to experiment .
First of all I collected an onion, courgettes, aubergine and the first picking of our beef tomatoes. I cleaned them, chunkily sliced them and tossed them in olive oil. Once seasoned I roasted them for 30 minutes on 180 C.
Confessions here are that I cheated and used a jar of tomato sauce ( not what I would usually do but I ran out of time as it was one of the hottest days of the year today here in Kent and I spent it gardening…digging actually, so I used the half hour to have a well needed shower!!)
Then I made a basic white sauce with butter, flour and milk. I then layered the vegetables with the tomato sauce, pasta, white sauce ( sprinkled some mozzarella I had left over from yesterday’s bake – double cheese and bacon rolls for recipe see yesterday’s post)), and topped with a bit of mature cheddar. It’s such an easy meal.
I baked it at 160 C for 40 minutes which gave me plenty of time to have a lovely chat with my sister and sit outside enjoying the setting sun whilst reading Poirot ( a guilty pleasure).
Served simply with lettuce and cucumber this was such a tasty dish and the vegetables tasted amazing; it did not feel like it was “missing something” which has been a worry of mine with vegetarian food. Certainly encouraged me to try something more.
If you have a favourite please let me know.