For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while you’ll know I like using Green Cleaning methods. However, I often think I could do a bit more; be a bit greener; change a few more aspects of my life to Do My Bit without scaring the family too much! One other area that I’ve managed to include into Family Life is Meatless Mondays. It’s a simple concept with two main arguments that we can all relate to; better health and less pressure on the environment. Eating meat supports an industry that uses huge amounts of fossil fuels which are attributed to an accelerated climate change throughout the world. Massive amounts of water are required for livestock ; so much more required than for watering veg and grains. Health concerns over a meat heavy diet include various cancers, heart disease and diabetes. I’m not into scare-mongering and I am certainly not saying cut out all meat in your diet but I do agree that, on this issue, the world is spiralling out of control and will be unable to sustain the amount of meat eaters in the future. Just one vege meal a week is a very easy way of including more veges and pulses and to shake up the menu a bit. Change is Good! You might surprise yourself! You might even find yourself including more than one vege meal per week. I recently bought Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Veg book. It contains some really tasty dishes that I’ve used on my family with great success. One of his points is very succinct and says it all, “ Just ask yourself if you, or anyone you know, might be in danger of eating too many vegetables…” Well, Quite and Very Well Put Hugh. Veges are virtuous and vitamin packed and voluptuous. They are your friends so eat a few more! Here’s one of our favourite family vege recipes from Veg….
North African Squash and Chickpea stew
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 large onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 teaspoon frehly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
100g red lentils
400g tin chick peas, drained and rinsed
8 saffron strands, toasted and crushed (I didn’t include this when I made it)
500ml roasted tomato sauce or passata (homemade or shop bought)
A good handful of parsley, chopped
A large bunch coriander, chopped
300g pumpkin or squash
1.2 litres vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
50g vermicelli, orzo pr other small pasta
Dates to serve (optional)
Saute the onions in the oil until golden. Turn the heat down low and add garlic and spices and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the lentils, chickpeas, tomato sauce or passata, parsley and coriander and cook over a gently heat for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and deseed the squash or pumpkin and cut into large cubes. Add to the pan with the stock and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta and simmer until cooked. Season with salt and pepper. I sometimes wilt some spinach or pak choi at the very end just to add a bit of greenery!
Serve with a scattering of coriander and a few dates on the side if you like.