Monday, 4 February 2013
The other man in my life...
Since July last year there has been another man in my life.............(but Mr Locket doesn't mind)
A very influential one who has made big changes to the three eldest members of the Locket household.....
Mr Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and this book in particular that we bought quite innocently, never imagining the changes it would cause.
Mr Locket, Dot and I took it in turns to have a look through the book and mark recipes we fancied........
It ended up with so many tabs there was barely a recipe that wasn't marked and we decided to start cooking straightaway, selecting half a dozen recipes to have over the coming week.
From the first meal "North African Squash and Chickpea Stew" (page 30) we were hooked and since that day the three of us have hardly eaten any meat at all.
Basically the recipes are just SO good, so interesting and exciting and tasty that we haven't wanted to eat boring meat-based meals any more.
Mr Locket has never been a huge meat eater so he is delighted but Daisy and Fred haven't joined us in this food revolution so we are tending to cook two meals most nights but that's not a problem.
We haven't gone completely vegetarian and still occasionally eat ham and bacon and a bit of chicken or tuna but 95% of our meals are vegetable based - unless we are visiting family where we will happily tuck into a roast - we just don't really cook meat anymore.
I never really took to Hugh F-W in his early River Cottage days - probably because he has always been very upfront about where our food comes from - literally butchering his own livestock and using every spare scrap of meat. I've never been particularly keen on thinking about the fact that I'm actually eating an animal's leg for example and prefer my meat neatly and anonymously cellophaned in a packet. Seeing a pig's carcass arriving at the local butchers always put me off so really I shouldn't be eating meat at all. Hugh's philosophy is that meat and fish are very precious resources that should be sustainably sourced and humanely treated (and therefore expensive) and should only be eaten as a luxury rather than an everyday right. In principle I would like to follow his example and only buy free-range produce but unfortunately my tight budget is a rather more influential pressure although it is something I want to try to improve.
A few weekly meal rituals have started to develop. On Friday's Dot makes a batch of Hugh's "Magic Bread Dough" and we make flatbreads to stuff with roasted butternut squash, chilli, raw red onion, cheese and rocket ("Hot Squash Foldover" - so delicious) then on Saturday the bread dough is rolled out very thin and turned into pizzas and everyone gets to choose their toppings. Daisy and Fred will usually just have ham and cheese but the rest of us pile our pizzas with fried kale, mushrooms, courgettes, loads of fried onions, capers, sultanas, olives, pine nuts - whatever we can gather, and I find I'm absolutely loving this Saturday night ritual - rolling the next pizza as the first is cooking, finding out what people want, making sure each pizza gets its 6 minutes in the hottest oven but doesn't burn, sipping my wine as I cook, then finally sitting down with my own scrumptious concoction long after everyone else has finished eating.
The really great thing is that I am able to eat totally delicious food and still lose weight with weightwatchers. Because I'm not having "points" from meat it means I can have a bit of cheese or some olive oil, or nuts and seeds instead - and I still have enough points left for chocolate and wine! A win-win situation!
Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my last post - I think it is hard when you are presented with other people's "perfect" lives - I know I always feel frustrated and disappointed with myself when I read housey magazines because my home will never look that good! It's just magazine- or blog-envy and I need to recognise it as such and therefore ignore those negative feelings!