Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Sorry if it sounds like I hated being vegetarian! I didn't hate it, but I just felt very limited by what I could actually eat, particularly when eating out. I absolutely loved that it made me experiment more in the kitchen and will definitely keep that going, trying to cook both veggie and meat dishes of course! My housemate Beth commented that I don't ask for help with switching the oven on now, haha. The yummiest thing I made this month was this cannelloni:
Ok, well it was more like a normal pasta bake (hey, it was my first pasta bake too!) because I didn't have lasagne sheets to wrap the filling in but it was the combination of all the ingredients that made it taste so comforting and delicious which really surprised me. It had leeks, green beans, mushrooms, peppers, spring onions, various herbs and creme fraiche - so nothing particularly amazing but it was so good! And it stayed piping hot whilst I ate it which is just how I like my meals to be :-)
So it was when I went out to eat that I realised that vegetarian options are very limited, which is a shame I think. Then again, it could just be the particular restaurants that I went to. I just found the choices a bit bland and unexciting compared to what else was on offer. But that is from the point-of-view of a meat-loving vegetarian, which is likely to be very different to what an actual vegetarian feels, as they probably don't crave the meat options! It would be good to try more veggie options at restaurants in the future (not that I'm unable to now of course!) but I doubt I would be able to go veggie for a longer period of time to really test this path out.
At least now I won't immediately skip over veggie options on the menu and will actually consider them when I eat out. To be honest though, I will still find that particularly hard if there are more delicious choices on offer that happen to have meat in! Is it just a habit I can't break? Or do I have too strong a meat-tracked mind?
It's funny because I met up with Sam, a good friend, the other day and we went for a pub lunch. Earlier that day, my mum told me to go for a veggie option because she was due to cook lamb chops for dinner. "You can't tell me to go veggie now!" I exclaimed.
"But I thought you were more open to vegetarian meals now," my mum said. Well yes, of course, but having just come off the meat ban, I would like to feed my carnivorous cravings for a while!
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Tuesday, 30 December 2008
It's one of my favourite dim sum dishes and my mum taught me how to make it today! It's steamed and usually pan-fried afterwards, so it's soft and crispy at the same time, mm. The main ingredient is what looks like a large white carrot:
No, you don't have to be one of those gigantic vegetable growers to get one of these! It's actually called a 'daikon radish', 'mooli', or a Chinese white turnip (are they all the same thing? Well I don't know actually). You can get them at Chinese supermarkets and other Asian stores but I've never seen them in normal supermarkets. But apparently they have them in Asda!
I hovered over my mum and my sister to take photos whilst they cooked it, so here's how to make it in 10 steps!
1) Chop the mooli into large chunks so that you can peel the skin off easily.
3) In a separate bowl, mix together roughly 3 parts rice flour and 4 parts water, adding a pinch of salt and pepper.
4) Stir-fry the rest of the ingredients for the filling and set aside - here we used a random mix of parma ham, coriander and red onion (i.e. Christmas leftovers!) but the more common ingredients include Chinese sausage, spring onions, dried shrimps and Chinese mushrooms. If you decide to go with the mushrooms and shrimps, soak them in hot water for half an hour before frying.
5) Fry the mooli shreds in a large wok until tender.
6) Pour the cooked mooli into a large bowl and mix in the rest of the filling.
7) Slowly add in the rice flour mixture and mix well. You should also prepare the wok for steaming - fill it with water (to a level where it won't touch the food when it's steaming, so about an inch or so below where the dish containing the food will sit) and cover.
8) Spoon the mixture into a steamproof dish.
9) When the water in the wok starts to boil, turn the heat down low and sit the dish on the rack. Leave to steam for about 45 minutes.
10) You can then serve as below. Yes, it looks like porridge here but it tastes delicious, honest! Alternatively, you can leave it to cool down and cut into squares. Pan-fry until lovely and crispy!
Yum!Continue reading this post..
Friday, 26 December 2008
Then there was the oven-baked goat's cheese with pistachio crust that I had at my work's Christmas do in Croucher's. I had to leave most of it because the goat's cheese was too overpowering for me anyway and I couldn't get used to the taste of the pistachio.
Then I tried a tofu stir-fry with roasted hazelnuts. The nuts smelt gorgeous when I got them out the oven - I tried one and thought, hm, that's...interesting. So I tossed them in with the stir-fry anyway and proceeded to eat dinner - only to instantly change my mind about the hazelnuts and picked them out again! I did give them to my eager housemate Grace though, who kept stealing them after I roasted them in the first place!
Thursday, 25 December 2008
Wednesday, 24 December 2008
I've come back home to Luton today for the week so am very much looking forward to sitting down to my mum's lovely cooking. Especially Christmas dinner tomorrow...
Part of the reason why I chose to come home literally the day before Christmas, was because I didn't think it would be very fair on my family to endure my vegetarianism. There is nothing wrong about being a veggie of course and I don't think they have any strong feelings against it but I didn't want them to have to cook and eat differently because of what I'm doing.
But still, my mum wanted to leave me some dinner to eat on Christmas Eve when I got in, which I thought was very sweet! I did say that she didn't have to do anything out-of-the-ordinary, just no meat. Though I also pre-warned her that I wasn't having meat flavoured foods either, in case she decided to add oyster sauce or use chicken stock for example! That is a no-no for me right now.
On the way home from the station, my mum told me that she had cooked a mushroom dish for dinner - with fake char sui. Oh no! I thought. This will make me break one of my rules about not eating any meat substitutes during my ban...I didn't want to say anything of course. For one thing, it'd be incredibly rude and disrespectful to turn around and say, actually no, sorry, I can't eat that. I was brought up in a household to simply eat what is put in front of you (which I am most happy to do of course!). And secondly, I didn't have the heart to even mention it, since she had saved the can and everything to prove she really had used fake meat:
The thing with not wanting to eat mock meat during Veggie Jenny though is that I didn't want to eat anything at all that might taste like meat, so that none of my cravings during this period would be satisfied.
As I dished up, I started to feel a bit disappointed as I really felt like I was cheating myself by eating this:
After eating it though, I realised that this fake stuff really does not do meat any justice at all! It tasted...odd. Quite rubbery and definitely not very meat-like. And I'm not saying that my mum's food was rubbish because this fake stuff was from a can - the rest of the dinner was lovely as usual! Yes, I'm saying that in case she is reading this and accuses me of complaining about her cooking!
I'm very glad that I didn't go down the mock meat route over the last four weeks. Instead, I've been enjoying some very different dishes altogether that I might not otherwise have tried to cook!
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Sunday, 21 December 2008
Saturday, 20 December 2008
I did happen to take in my camera so rushed around just before the buffet started to get some snaps. As I took the pictures, I noticed a lot of things that I couldn't eat because of their meaty goodness:
Cocktail sausages, sausage rolls, pork and stuffing balls, chorizo...noooo, what are you doing to me? As I went round with my plate to pick things up, I realised that I wasn't able to eat alot of it!
I tried to divert my attention away and stop my salivating by looking at what I was able to eat.
After a bit of this though, I was really just craving for something savory. Yes, there was a veggie quiche but I do find them a bit odd. It's not really a pie and it's not a flan, what is it? Just weird! I did have this gingerbread man which unnerved me because he looked a bit angry. Ah, perhaps it was just a reflection of me, feeling the frustration!
Believe it or not though, despite my grumblings, I am rather sad that my veggie month is coming swiftly to an end. Not that I'm going to stop cooking veggie dishes and choosing them at restaurants of course, as that was the main point of this whole 'experiment'. Well I say that, but I know (and you know) that I will probably revert to being my full meat self after Christmas dinner! Ho ho ho!
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