Monday, 23 January 2012

Good greens, shame about the yellow

It’s not been altogether successful day, but on one level at least, my quest to follow in Hugh’s footsteps and eat less meat (while not becoming a vegetarian), things are moving in the right direction, although the reviews have been mixed (as they say) depending on age and outlook.

Yesterday, I took a bold step and served a meat free (yes, MEAT FREE) main meal on Sunday. It’s a long story. I’d planned to have chicken, but I forgot to buy one, This was a fairly fatal error as my week’s menu relied on there being at least one left over chicken meal. I quickly re-wrote the meal planner mentally replacing chicken with some of Melvin’s pork (the pork is ours, I should hasten to add, we did acquire it lawfully, from Melvin, who raised the pig. Hence it is Melvin’s pork). However, when, as I often do come Sunday, I surveyed the food situation, it was clear that I had enough root veg to feed a small country, so the opportunity was there to take that leap. I didn’t have any cream or anything interesting like that hanging around, so the Three Root Boulangere in Veg Everyday was my best bet. A brief forage in the garden turned up some sprouts and sprout tops, and some cavolo nero with which to try the steamed greens with a hint of garlic. To be fair, my kids are pretty good with veg, but leafy stuff – kale type things – doesn’t do it for them. When I saw this (and I think Hugh might have cooked it in the series) I thought it was definitely one to try. Of course, no meat on Sunday meant no leftovers for Monday night, but never fear, Hugh is here – Roasted root frittata saves the day for Monday evening. “Excellent”, I thought to myself. “That was easy”.

 “What’s for tea?” asked Blue. “3 root Boulangere” I said. Quickly.  Too quickly,  fear – rats were smelt – and no, the dog hadn’t brought one into the kitchen - “Do I like it?” asked Pink “Of course you do” I breezed. And crossed my fingers.

The dishes are both dead easy. I made a minor error by miscalculating the length of time the boulangere would need, so the veg had steamed at the wrong time, and I forgot to remove it from the steamer so that it was rather overcooked, but very edible nevertheless.
The kids came steaming into the kitchen ready to eat. I waited for the wails of ‘where’s the meat’ but actually the comments was “MMM smells like garlic bread.” Oh dear. I could sense bitter disappointment just around the corner.

I am pleased to report that, in the main, the food was eaten. Pink in particular enjoyed the greens – she is my ‘veg eater’ (Blue prefers fruit) but she’s not been keen on leafy green stuff. However, chuck in some garlic oil and it seems kale is just delicious. She wasn’t so keen on the Boulangere, mainly because of the celeriac, but she had a good stab at it. The Husband enjoyed it, although I did catch him looking under his slices of potato and parsnip – possibly wondering if there was some bacon somewhere. Blue similarly, I think, was secretly hoping that somewhere there would be some meat somewhere, but he manned up. “It’s a bit yellow” was all he said. But he ate it too. He wasn’t so convinced about the greens – mainly because he had been cruelly conned into thinking there was garlic bread on offer.
On reflection, my intention has been to eat less meat, and had I planned it better, I would probably have chosen something slightly richer than the Boulangere. It was very nice, but felt a little austere, especially as I had overcooked the greens, and pudding was stewed apple cinnamon and raisin out of the freezer along with various yoghurts lurking in the fridge, rather than a delicious crumble. Hell, I hadn’t even made some custard to go with the apple. Fine for a week night, but not perhaps for a Sunday.  I shall plan better next time. Watch this space.

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