Archive | August, 2014

On being a rubbish veggie, a wussy meat eater and learning to love cabbage

27 Aug

It dawned on me the other day, after (and only after) I had finally bought a barbecue and invited friends round to feast from it that I have never really been that keen on these meat laden affairs. What I actually like best about a barbecue is the excuse to drink and cook over hot coals and sit outside having salad with perhaps a token sausage on my plate.

I was a useless veggie because (back when I was 17-21) I didn’t like many vegetables mainly because I didn’t really know what to do with them. And I hadn’t really tried that many of them, it was all cabbage and cauliflower cooked for far too long. I was a useless veggie because I secretly hankered after bacon rolls every time I was hungover and turkey on Christmas day for the whole miserable four years of meat-abstinence. For me nut roast never really cut it on Christmas day.

I’m a wussy meat eater because even though I do now eat meat a couple of times a week I cannot really deal with too much on my plate and certainly can’t do any handling of raw flesh or de-boning, filleting or chopping. And if there’s blood I have to look the other way.

Admittedly my plight of not being one thing or another was not helped any by watching a Michael Mosley documentary two days before said barbecue entitled ‘Should I eat meat?’ You can imagine the content, the short answer is, as I have always suspected: ‘NO! Especially not bacon!’

The solution came via the plot, I realised I could fulfil my desire to eat salad al fresco with a hint of sausage when I decided to get creative (and of course use up some of the glut of cabbage, beetroot and courgette) by making quinoa with roasted plot veg (a recurrent dish this summer) and home made coleslaw with my home grown cabbage.

Home made coleslaw has been a revelation. Never been that keen on shop bought stuff but my own version (borrowed from The Guardian food magazine) has been quite addictive. I sometimes made it without carrots – just pure cabbage and onions and it still tasted better than anything I have bought.

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I have been using up an awful lot of courgettes too. This has often involved quinoa but also, in no particular order: courgette fritters. courgette cake, and a variation on a pan haggerty (with hidden courgettes).

To help alleviate the glut of beetroots I brought a juicer that can dispense with several beetroot in about 20 seconds – the result has been interesting home made concoctions such as apple, carrot, beetroot and ginger juice which the kids rejected which just meant all the more for the hubby and me. I am now going to miss my supply of beets when they run out next week.

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My turbo juicer!

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Not that I have been spending much time at the plot, the best I can manage in the school holidays is the occasional trip down with the kids during which time I might pick what needs to be picked, water what needs to be watered and perhaps construct a wobbly cloche for my cucumbers. Then usually we sit down, have a picnic and faff around for several hours.

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Last time we went I was required to dig up all my tomato plants and put them in the communal bonfire pile as they had succumbed (for the second year in row) with late tomato blight. We got a fairly good crop before they went though and I made some kicking plot pickle with the green tomatoes before the disease took hold. Next year I will invest in some Bordeaux mix which I have been reliably advised keeps the blight at bay. That has to be worth the fiver it costs to buy on-line.

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Blighted once more!

Away from the plot I have found a label (as the world is so fond of labels) with which to describe myself and my crap veggie/meat eating ways.  I am a flexitarian – a  term used to describe anyone who has a flexible attitude to food and eats pretty much anything but without ruling out meat completely. Probably coined by someone somewhere in Hoxton, it’s also referred to as vegetarians-with-benefits or veggie-vores. Personally I prefer flexitarian, as I journey through one bizarre veggie concoction after another in a bid to use up the veg I have grown while still having a sly bacon butty on the side, when mood (or hangover) dictates.