Black pudding and falafel

Black pudding and falafel

I’m not a vegan, in fact, I’m not even a vegetarian, but I am a Netflix subscriber and food programme addict and this combination has started me on a kind of a quest to change the way I eat.

It all started when we went on holiday during the October half term, with the evenings being quiet, we watched quite a lot of Netflix. I had been meaning to watch the documentary film The Game Changers for a while, and I would wholeheartedly recommend giving it a go. Basically, a group of top athletes have turned to veganism to aid their recovery after injury and the results are astonishing.

At the end of the documentary we were sold and vowed to wake up as vegans. Although, in the morning, the eggs needed using and the bacon was already open, so with food waste being a sin and all, we delayed our start, then delayed it again, and again, actually we’re yet to start if truth be told.

However, in the weeks following, if we are out to eat, I have been eating more vegan and veggie options. I’m open to the idea of trying different diets, I’m willing to try a vegan pizza or a gluten-free cake, as long as it’s taste isn’t sacrificed, and yes, I realise things can take a bit of getting used to but I don’t want to, I’m happy with the taste I already enjoy.

I also know I can’t make these items myself yet, as I’m too inexperienced and would serve up stir-fry after stir-fry, with perhaps a stir-fry on the side, and there would be significant moaning from the troops and quite possibly me too. I know before the end of the first week I’d be “nope tried it, boring, let’s get back to the usual grub, someone pass me some chicken.”

But, on a recent trip to Liverpool, my experience of a vegan breakfast (restaurant details) was a turning point. It blew my mind; halloumi, spinach (made by angels), a baked mushroom without any mushroom water, a grilled tomato, avocado (of course), some kind of fried bread/grain/potato/spiced mystery of joy and homemade beans – simply put – it was sensational.

The Quarter- Liverpool

It occurred to me on the train home that perhaps it might be time to change my perspective on meat and do my bit for the planet. So, how about I only eat good quality meat on the occasions I really fancy it and not a quick sausage roll because I’m ‘hangry’ or a slice of salami while I browse the fridge. How about being a mindful meat-eater? (I think I made that up, repeat after me, “I’m a mindful meat-eater“).

As I have already mentioned, I am not a particularly good cook. I’m okay, no-one has died yet. The thing is, I’m not very experimental, well not successfully, and I don’t dedicate the time to tasting and tweaking to jazz up everyday foods – so tofu in my hands will be as tasty as a wet sponge!

I know that to continue on this culinary pathway I need assistance, so I have signed up to Simply Cook and ticked the ‘I am a vegetarian’ box. My first haul hasn’t arrived yet, but from what I can gather, I think I’m getting the tasty bits and instructions on how to make my own great dinners. I’ve tried Hello Fresh, and while it was great to start with, we soon got bored and the portions weren’t always right. This seems like a better solution. I buy the basic ingredients and then I am supplied with spice blends, rubs, etc, whatever I need to get the taste in. I’m poised for salivating delight – which naturally I’ll let you all know about too.

Last week, I went out for a bit of a mooch with my husband and we ended up in a delightful country café called Tarka’s Cafe in Halstead, Essex. As I was about to order, I remembered that I was now a ‘Mindful Meat-Eater’, so with much hesitation, I ordered a vegetarian scotch egg. And, once again folks my socks were blown. Seriously delicious, so delicious in fact I tried to make it at home, and it kind of worked (my filling was a bit too wet). Anyway, as we are awaiting the arrival of our new food writer I’ve included the recipe below, just click on the pics (taken by me, I’m bowing thank you) to be directed to the official recipe.

Spiced sweet potato vegetarian scotch egg

I feel like going from a full-blown carnivore to a vegan is too steep a jump, like a New Year gym-goer that goes every day until dry January is over and then gives up. Perhaps, the key to this is a softer, gentler approach. I’ll reduce our meat intake, put oat milk in the porridge (I can’t bring myself to put it in my tea yet) and I’ll prep like a boss. I’m going to have snacks in mason jars and the fridge that are easy to grab and not necessarily too healthy, you know the kind, “I fancy some chocolate, oh ok here’s a carrot,” that’s never going to wash and frankly, the chocolate is staying put for now.

Here you go, courtesy of Olive Magazine, some recipes that happen to be vegan but are also yum like these miso nuts. I reckon I can do it, a slow, gentle wander into a more mindful diet and, as I’m fast approaching peri-menopause, I think I might just be helping myself more than I even know yet.

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