Just after Christmas I announced grandly over a big meal (possibly a beef stew) that January was going
to be a vegetarian month in our house. As it often goes with grand announcements, the reality is a bit less grand and Vegetarian January hasn't quite happened.
I quite like the idea of being a vegetarian but I do love a good burger and nothing is quite as amazing as a bacon roll for breakfast after a cold night in a tent. I am not alone. It seems that I am - for once - right on trend being,a part time vegetarian or flexitarian. I like a good label, don't you? I have a few vegetarian cookery books, some better than others. Most don't stand the test of hungry teenagers. I even have a vegan cookery book. If you have been visiting here for a while you'll know that the exploration of vegan cuisine was not much appreciated in my house. I haven't used the book since the infamous vegan lasagne incident.
Although Vegetarian January is not happening, we've had many vegetarian meals. For this first cookery book challenge I chose a cookery book that I have used before but not for a while: Rachel Demuth's Green World Cookbook a book that CJ at Above the River recommended to me ages ago. It has some really scrumptious recipes and if I were living a single life, I'd use it several times a week.
The first dish I cooked was a Laksa Lemak with fried tofu. I am particularly fond of coconut flavoured soupy food. I also love tofu. Where can I find really good tofu? The best I have found is Cauldron's but it is not nearly as good as the tofu you get at the Hanoi Bike Club in Glasgow (they make their own). There is more choice at the big Chinese supermarket but this is a bit out of the way and unpractical. Alas, the subtleties of tofu flavour and texture went unnoticed by all but myself. There's a surprise. Alistair must have eaten half of it. The others were less enthusiastic. The alternative (nothing) was probably worse. Comments were that the noodles were too slippery, the tofu too spongy, the soup too soupy... you know, the usual, nothing to take seriously. I'll cook that one again. It is versatile and happily accepts whatever vegetables wait to be eaten. For the version here I didn't have pak choi but used tender stem broccoli instead.
The second dish was a Creole Rice and Beans, accompanied by kiwi and avocado salsa. The latter caused some barely disguised gagging but I rather liked it. I admit it is not a combination of flavours I would have chosen but it worked. Unfortunately it doesn't keep so any leftovers must be eaten pronto, unless you like greyish brown mush that is. I used dry mixed beans instead of canned ones because they are better value and generally taste nicer, too. I thought there was a bit too much cumin in the recipe. I am a cumin super taster and always reduce the amount suggested by half. I don't know how others experience cumin but I find it overpowering even in trace amounts. There is quite a lot of research into flavour experience actually, it is so very interesting. I know some people experience cucumbers as pungent. A cucumber!. Apart from the salsa, the dish was relatively well received. Everyone picked out the green peppers. I can't blame them, these are just so bitter. I ate them to prove a point. I don't know why I followed the instructions here, I know that nobody (including myself) in our family likes green peppers.
On the whole, the kids are not particularly happy with my cooking. Too many new things apparently. They are creatures of habit and would probably eat macaroni and cheese every day, alternating peas with broccoli for their veggies. Me, I am bored with the food that we often have and I like to challenge my taste buds. I have started writing on the notice board what we are going to eat to avoid lengthy discussions with various offspring. Unking words are uttered when something unknown appears. I find it rather amusing and I have been trying to disguise old favourites with new names, just because.
I am not sure which cookery book I will be exploring in February but you'll find out if you check in here at the beginning of March.
Thanks for stopping by xx