When I was little we ate meat at the weekend but the rest of the week my parents couldn’t afford it. So we did without. We weren’t unusual. It was just the way things were for ordinary people. It seems weird now, looking back.
Tony and I eat meat five days a week and and make the effort to cook meat-free and fish-less meals twice a week, sometimes more. It’s apparently good for your health to cut down on the meat thing, especially red meat. So we stick to fairy-sized portions.
Because I won’t eat factory or intensively farmed meat and insist on 100% free range / organic, it’s even more expensive than it could be. But it’s so worth it. The small amount of fresh meat we eat tastes absolutely splendid, immeasurably better than the cheap stuff.
I also enjoy cooking meat-free because it’s a lot easier. Take pasta. Just sling it in a pan, boil it and add a simple sauce. Then sprinkle cheese on top for extra flavour. Ten minutes and it’s done. And there’s less washing up too.
My favourite pasta sauce recipe at the moment is one I made up a few weeks ago. We can’t get enough of it! Here’s what you need to feed two grown ups to Monty Python’s Mr Creosote bursting point: have a go at this one and you’ll be effing stuffed!
- half a container of fresh cream
- half a Boursin garlic and herb cheese
- a teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
- a pinch of salt
- plenty of freshly ground black pepper
- half a jar of artichoke hearts (the ones in oil)
- two large onions, finely chopped
- fry the onions lightly
- add the rest and heat it up
- pour it onto your pasta
I also make a mean vegetable and bean casserole, if I say so myself. Here’s what I do:
- round up all the tired old fresh veg from the fridge, chop it up and steam it
- boil a load of spuds to make it heartier
- add dried mixed herbs, salt and pepper
- dissolve two veg, chicken or beef stock cubes in a cup of boiling water and pour it on
- add tinned borlotti beans, butterbeans, kidney beans and anything else you fancy: tinned peas, broad beans, whatever
- simmer for 15 minutes and scoff it with crusty fresh bread (or old bread toasted and buttered)
What’s your favourite meat and fish-free recipe? Let us know and we’ll feature it here.