Is my mind still meatless?

The answer to the title of this post is; sort of!

Which is fitting, considering the name of this blog.

I’ve been eating meat about twice a week, and the rest of the time I’ve been living the pescatarian way of life. I’ve made two amazing dishes since my last post; vegetarian meatballs, made primarily from rolled oats & mushrooms; also a potato, egg and mushroom curry.

I haven’t posted any of them on here because my smartphone died (which is how I upload my photos) and I’ve been living with a 99p replacement I bought from the EE store, while I wait for mine to be fixed.

No photos, no recipe is my motto!

But don’t worry, I’ll definitely be eating more food in the future, so I’ll post those recipes then.

Although I started this blog to record my 30 day pescatarian challenge, I’m now going to use it for all things related to food, health and fitness:

  • Meat or no meat?
  • Gym or no gym?
  • What the hell is Tofu made from?
  • Why don’t Brannigans sell their crisps in multi-packs?

These are the types of mind-boggling questions I’ll be looking into. I bet you can’t wait, ay?

I also signed up for the Great South Run, and instantly got struck down with the flu.

Sign or no sign?

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 31

The day is here.

I thought I’d be ready to gorge on meat all day, but to be honest I don’t really care too much. I might eat meat today or tomorrow or Monday or Tuesday, might not.

I did weigh 14 stone 12 pounds, and now I’m down to 14 stone 2 pounds – and all I’ve really done is cut out meat. I’ve still been eating chocolate and rubbish like that from time to time, and also been out for a few runs.

Before this pescatarian challenge I was suffering with really bad indigestion, and this has completely cleared up over the past 3 weeks, which is great.

In your face Indi!

The most important thing i’ll take away from this experience is my perception of meat as a food source. If I fancy some meat in the future, then I’ll have it; but I won’t be using it as the basis for every meal as I did before. I heard someone say the other day; I think it was my sister, that if we had to individually slaughter the animals we eat, how many people would still eat it?

I know I sure as hell wouldn’t!

This morning, I watched a short talk on TED by Matt Cutts; it’s called Try something new for 30 days! 

It’s a great watch, and just shows that if you want to change something in your life, then just do it for 30 days initially – no tv for 30 days, no alcohol for 30 days, no chocolate for 30 days or whatever  – then if it changes your life for the better, great continue; if it doesn’t, then just go back to how it was before.

Simple!

It worked with me and meat, I loved the challenge, and it was great having to put some thought into my meals. Yes, it was difficult at times, for instance trying come up with a meal on impulse; but that will all change as my knowledge of vegetarian cooking increases.

Perhaps I’ll do a no bread for 30 days challenge next. Don’t worry, I wont bore you with that – or maybe I will.

Anyway, I made baked beans in the slow cooker – just chuck the ingredients in overnight and you have a lovely homemade treat to wake up to in the morning. I’ve been wanting to do this for ages, so out I went to get some new batteries for the fire alarm (can’t be too careful, health and safety nation) and as I was sleeping soundly in bed the beans were bubbling away to perfection.

One thing’s for sure, I’ll think hard before I buy a tin of beans again. It’s just as easy to make a big batch of these; which will last in the fridge for a couple of weeks or freezer for a few months.

 

Homemade Baked Beans

Ingredients                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   20140810_220414

  • 2 onions (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml of stock (any kind)
  • 2 x 410g tins of either; cannellini, butter or haricot beans in water (drained)
  • meat eaters add either streaky bacon or chorizo
  • non meat eaters add paprika or anything you feel will give smokiness (I did this)

Method

  1. fry the onion, bacon or substitute for 5 – 10 mins until the onions are soft.
  2. Stir in the sugar, tomatoes and stock. Season to taste at this point, and simmer for 5 mins
  3. tip it all in the slow cooker and stir in the beans.
  4. cover with the lid and cook on low overnight for up to 9 – 10 hours.

I had it with toast and a fried egg, just what you need on a Sunday morning. You can also experiment with other ingredients, maybe add some fresh chilli or replace a tin of tomatoes with barbecue sauce – the possibilities are endless!

Enjoy.

 

Day 21

Four days have passed since my last post, partly because I’ve been busy, partly because I’ve been addicted to  Game of Thrones!

As I write this, all I can think about is eating a big slab of meat. This is the first time I’ve had a massive craving since I started this pescatarian challenge.

I had a vegetarian club sandwich at Capers for lunch, usually I have the club sandwich, which is  crammed with chicken and bacon. I honestly think I prefer the vegetarian club – which had goats cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato and humus. And once again, I’d never have ordered it off the menu if I was a meaty!

Anyway, the food I’ve re-introduced to my diet is  Nut luncheon. I say re-introduced because I used to have it when I was  living at nuttolene2 home. It’s a meat-free savory loaf made from peanuts. It can be grilled or eaten cold, and it’s really nice in sandwiches, or as I had the other day – with scrambled eggs.

I think it’s an acquired taste. I remember on many occasions friends would say:

“what you got in your sandwiches, ay?”

“nut loaf'” I’d reply

“Lets have a try!”

After gnawing on a piece of my lunch, one of two things would happen:

  1. the nut loaf would be spat in the bin
  2. the nut loaf would be swallowed, and ‘that’s weird’ would be uttered.

I can’t remember anyone saying “that’s a beaut!”

But is is, honestly!

So go on, give it a try.

 

Day 17

Went to buy some stuff for a sandwich on my lunch break; didn’t fancy cheese or Quorn slices.                                                                                   004352

Well that’s me screwed I thought.

So, after completing a few laps of Tescos – and with time running out –  I admitted defeat and went to the holy grail of vegetarian food – the Quorn Isle!

Sure enough, I found something to pop into a sandwich. Staring back at me were; meat free turkey slices and meat free beef slices and meat free chicken slices and meat free bacon slices.

I chose the meat free turkey slices, don’t know why they’ve got the work turkey in them, if you’re not eating meat then why would you want a mock-meat-product; just call them meat free slices, although it doesn’t sound as appealing.

The slices are really low in fat and high in protein. They taste okay, but very, very dry – so you’ll need a nice wedge of salad on top.

Should have gone with the cheese!

 

Anyway, it got me thinking about the range of ‘slices’ available – below is what I’ve found:

  • Meat free chicken tikka
  •  Chorizo style slices
  • Meat free garlic sausage
  • Meat free peppered beef slices
  • Pepperoni style slices
  • Meat free roast chicken fillets
  • Wafer thin style chicken, ham, turkey and beef

Loads to choose from. The pepperoni and chorizo style slices are really nice, and would be perfect for homemade pizzas; I’m going to try as many of them as I can before this pescatarian challenge is over.

 

Day 14

Still not craving meat on a grand scale.

I’ve noticed every now and then a weird thought will come to me like:

Shit, did I eat meat earlier?

I can’t explain it, but it really feels like I’ve eaten meat, and it’ll take me a few minutes to think back on previous meals to make sure they were meatless. It’s such a strange feeling!

Anyway, woke up this morning with a few things to do:

  1. Buy a fan
  2. do some housework
  3. get some lentils

It wasn’t long before I forgot about the housework, and quickly came up with some excuse about the weather, heat, blah, blah, blah. So, after I completed the other two tasks on my list I started to think about lentils, and how I never really use them –  apart from in soups.  This sketch from the Young Ones kept coming back to me:

After watching that I decided to make a lentil loaf or pie, whatever you want to call it really. Here it is:

Ingredients

  • red lentils (225g)                                                                                                                                                           20140724_214454
  • water (450ml)
  • 1 large onion
  • butter (25g)
  • cheese, grated (100g)
  • mixed herbs (1tbsp)
  • 1 egg
  • breadcrumbs (25g)
  • fresh chilli (chopped)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Method

Cook the lentils in the water until soft, approx 15 mins.

Then, fry for a few minutes and melt the butter. After that, combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.

Add the mixture to a loaf tin or cake tin and bake on gas mark 5 for 30 mins.

 

Admittedly, it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as I’d hoped –  but it tastes bloody lovely.

 

 

 

Day 13

Today I did something I hardly ever do. Wait for it…                                                                                                          20140722_152925

I ate a  frozen fishcake on my lunch break.

Mainly because it was the only thing in the house, and consequently I suffered with indigestion for the rest of the day.  I completely forgot about indigestion. I was suffering with it on a regular basis before I started this pescatarian challenge, and this is the first time I’ve had a bout since.

I don’t think it’s the meat that caused the indigestion, but since I stopped eating it, I’ve felt a lot healthier in general. This pescatarian challenge has forced me to stop and think about what I eat (except for the fishcake incident), and it’s this – plus the fact that I’ve changed my habit of slamming food down faster than a hungry pig – that’s saved me reaching for the Gaviscon on a regular basis.

Talking way to much about indigestion today!

I’ll put it down to working in 33 degrees of heat all day, with only a crappy little fan for company.

Are you asleep yet? I am!

 

 

 

 

Day 12

Nothing much has happened to write about in the last three days . So I didn’t.

Made a Quorn Chilli to take to work, had a aubergine kung chuchee from Koh Thai Tapas – which was amazing – and apart from that I’ve stuck to fish and rice.

Rock on!

What I really love about this challenge is that I’m trying a wide range of food. When I was eating meat I’d always, no matter what cuisine  – Indian, Chinese, Thai, Greek, Turkish – choose a chicken dish. So, I’d never have tasted the aubergine dish if I wasn’t doing this pescatarian challenge. I think it’s because I know chicken dishes are pretty substantial and leave me feeling full, and would have worried that the ‘new’ dish wouldn’t be enough.

What a rubbish outlook. This is one way I’ve reset the way I think about food. If I do go back to eating meat, I’ll never resort back to that ‘auto-feed’ mode – that’s for sure.

When I started this pescatarian challenge, I was aware that so many vegetarian/pescatarian dishes use cheese as the main ingredient. I didn’t want to fall into the trap of eating too much cheese, so – much – so that I’ve hardly had any.

So, today I’ve decided to make a dish that my mum makes to perfection. A quick phone call for the recipe, and here it is;  just like mama used to make!

Cheese & Onion Quiche                                                                                                                                                                                                         20140721_205522

– 2 medium onions

– 6 oz cheese

– 3 eggs

– 200 ml milk

– 2 tsps mustard

– 1 slice of bread (grate to breadcrumbs)

– salt & pepper (to taste)

 

Roll out the pastry and line the flan dish. Cook for 5 mins in the oven.

First chop the onion, cheese and put into food processor. Then add the milk, eggs, mustard and salt/pepper (mix until smooth)

Add to the flan dish, and bake in the oven at 180 degrees or gas mark 4 until mixture is golden brown (about 40 – 45 mins)

Easy!

Yes, it’s a lot of cheese, so don’t make it often. And definitely don’t eat it all in one goddam sitting (beware you will want to), in fact it’s so tasty, even Kristina gave it her seal of approval, and trust me that’s rare!