So, one of my Christmas presents this year was Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s ‘Veg Every Day‘ book which is part of Hugh’s crusade to make every home cook in the country dirty every dish in the kitchen every day – sorry, eat less meat AND dirty every dish in the kitchen. I’ve long been trying to have at least one meat free day a week, much to the other half’s disgust, so I seized on this as an opportunity to try out some new vegetarian – and even vegan – recipes. We came to a bit of an arrangement – for the next month we’d try out one or two of the recipes each week and he had to not complain about there not being any meat and I had to not complain about trying new vegetables. OK, well, ‘not complain’ is a bit strong, but we had to eat the results anyway. Now, regular readers may remember that I’m not the most adventurous eater in the world, although I’ve come a long way from my entirely non-vegetable-eating childhood, so I started to get a few twinges of doubt on this deal once the other half started leafing through the pages and chuckling to himself ‘oh you’re going to have to stretch yourself a bit’ (he’s particularly looking forward to the part where I have to eat mushrooms other than chanterelles) but I’ve stuck to my side of the bargain and he’s stuck to his – indeed, more than stuck to it because the first week is barely over and we’ve had meatless suppers for three out of six days (and, er, steak on one of the others – but that was our 20th wedding anniversary and I wanted to last out at least another few years).

So far it’s gone reasonably well, although there has been predictably large amounts of washing up to be done. We’ve had squash and red onion pasties, stir-fried cauliflower, spanakopita, spicy chickpeas and we’ve been getting through a backlog of lentils of various colours that have been hanging around in our cupboards for long enough that I had to do a quick ex post facto google on ‘will sprouted lentils kill you?’* The culmination (so far) came tonight when I cooked ribollito which is Italian for ‘all the things townmouse doesn’t really like, poured over garlicky toast in a bowl’. Had I been served this up as a child, I would have just sat there sobbing at the table for the entire meal and yet here I was not just cooking it but eating it. Not, in the strictest sense of the word, enjoying it – let’s not get carried away here – but eating it. Although even I have to admit that the garlicky toast part is actually rather yummy. Apparently it’s better the next day. Which is good, because there’s loads of it left.

So there you go. I don’t really have a snappy ending to this one, except to say that it turns out after 40-odd years of picky eating, a few vegetables really won’t kill me after all. And nor will not eating much – or much less – meat. And, nor, if it comes to that, will slightly sprouted lentils. Although I’m still not 100% convinced about mushrooms.

*just out of curiosity, you understand


14 Responses to Eeek

  1. Ragged Thread Cartographer says:

    Happy New Year Mouse (sorry late again) and congratulations on a) 20 years of bliss and b) adventuring and c) actually reading something by H F-W where the photography and ambience is drool material but the effort involved….. as a meat eater 4 out of 7 nights you have my admiration. (But what about sprouts? Do I remember you hate them? or was it carrots..)

  2. Lola says:

    You can deliberately sprout lentils (at least, the big spaceship green type) in the same way as mung beans or mustard and cress, and they’re really crisp and tasty, don’t taste like pulses at all.

  3. Nick says:

    And WILL sprouted lentils kill you?…Hello?… Hello?… Is anyone there?

  4. disgruntled says:

    RTC – so far the book has been silent on the subject of sprouts, thankfully.
    Lola – that was what reassured me that they wouldn’t kill us. Not got into the whole sprouting things deliberately yet, though I suspect it’s a matter of time.
    Nick – still here …

  5. Anonymous says:

    Glad the present is being put to good use…I’m looking for a book called something like “1001 ways with a chicken” as we have something of a glut down here….

  6. welshcyclist says:

    I’m really attracted to the concept of vegetarianism, but it’s very difficult and unfair to impose it on the rest of the family as well.

  7. disgruntled says:

    I suppose there’s a difference between going completely vegetarian and serving up the odd vegetarian meal – if the meals are nice enough (and *mostly* they are) then it should be no hardship to anyone

  8. If your cupboards are damp enough to sprout lentils, you’ll no doubt have a fine stock of fungi growing there too 🙂
    A Nigel Slater dish, from ’30min Suppers’, a dish with lentils, onion, chilli (I use dried chilli flakes*) and a can of tomatoes, one pan, easy, cheap, vegetarian, yummy.
    *Because the fresh chilli has always withered and died by the time I get around to using it.

  9. disgruntled says:

    Fungi in the cupboards? I hope not. The lentils really were quite old…

  10. emma c says:

    Ooh yes me too! (except I gave it to myself for Christmas..) So far I have done the beetroot and horseradish soup, and a rarebit. It does indeed have sprouts in the raw section, would you believe it? I am not a sprout person (having gagged over them as a child) but will try it, becuase he makes it sound so good. Also, he has managed to write a classy veggie book as a non-veggie and not be annoying about it, the way I find Ms Lawson, fabulous though she is, is.

  11. Andy in Germany says:

    Thanks for the tip. I’ve been trying to work out how to grow veggies for a longer season now we’ve got a garden, but recipes to eat the drn things and have some variety will be handy.

  12. […] course I was already in a more adventurous frame of mind, as the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall washing-up creation experiment continues, reaching something of a local maximum with the consumption, by me, without TOO much […]

  13. […] The guy who had passed them on to us suggested ribollita, but we made ribollita back when we were working our way through Hugh Fearnley-Washingup’s Veg Everyday Book and I remember looking down at the resulting bowl and thinking if my seven-year-old self had been […]

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