Friday, 16 August 2019

Meat Free Friday

One of the major changes we can make as individuals to reduce our carbon footprint is to reduce our meat intake and change to a more plant based diet. There is plenty of information available  as to why this is  not only essential for reducing greenhouse gases but also if we are to continue to feed the ever growing world population. 
You can read articles here and here if you want to find out more.
In particular the biggest culprits are beef and lamb, because of the way they graze and the additional methane they produce. Obviously it follows that if we are reducing our beef consumption then we should also reduce our dairy intake, although dairy farming is not quite so intensive as raising cattle for beef.

I am aware that drastically changing your diet if you have always eaten meat is not easy so as someone who has eaten a largely vegetarian and pescatarian diet for the past 25 years I thought I would share some of my favourite veggie meals in regular "Meat Free Friday" posts.

One of my favourite books for simple, easy to make but really tasty vegetarian dishes is The River Cottage Veg everyday book. I think I especially like it as it is not intended as a vegetarian cookbook but as a book to encourage us all to eat more vegetables. It's not in the least bit preachy but just full of amazing food that you really want to eat


For anyone who grows their own veg getting a glut of courgettes at this time of year is a bit of a given and over the years I have become somewhat of an expert at creating courgette based meals. I could feed you for a week on courgettes without ever repeating a single dish! So one of my favourite recipes from the book is a Greek inspired Courgette and Rice filo pie. You can tell it's a favourite by the amount of splatters on the page!

Admittedly it does involve using filo pastry which can be a bit of a faff but it's really not that difficult and putting the filling together takes just a couple of minutes.  If using filo is a step too far you could always replace it with a couple of sheets of ready rolled puff pastry. My Greek daughter-in-law makes a fabulous Tyropita (cheese pie) using puff pastry

You can find the recipe by clicking on the link here: Courgette and Rice Filo Pie.

I made it this week but didn't have fresh dill. Well, I thought I had fresh dill but when I took it out to use it had gone slimy in the packet (well before it's sell by date)... all the more reason to ditch the plastic and find sources other than the supermarket. I think my new garden needs a herb patch. But I did have some chives so used those instead and it tasted just as good as ever.

It makes a delicious pie that feeds four generously. It is excellent hot as the centre of a main meal and I particularly like it with some steamed carrots on the side. But it is equally good cold with a salad or part of a picnic. Because the rice magically cooks by absorbing all the  liquid from the courgettes it stays lovely and crisp too... No soggy bottom!


Let me know if you give it a try or you have any tips of your own for reducing your meat consumption. Even if everyone started by replacing just one meal a week or maybe had one meat free day per week it could begin to make a difference. And the added benefit is that a plant based diet is better for your health too. Meat Free Friday anyone?

15 comments:

  1. It is macaroni and cheese day here :-)

    I'd love to try your recipe although my children think courgettes are not to be eaten by people..... unless it is courgette fritters, in which case they make an exception. Maybe I could cook it and portion it for lunches, it sure looks delicious. x

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  2. I love Hugh FW's books and have this and his other Veg book. I eat smaller portions of meat now, and lots of vegs., sadly no longer home grown. As I only cook for 1 these days it is not always easy to scale down recipes and I tend to bulk cook, eat one portion and freeze the rest. However, I shall try this recipe as it sounds good and maybe halve the recipe and eat the rest cold the next day.

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  3. The River Cottage Veg Everyday is one of my favourite books, there's just such a great choice of recipes. We use the magic bread dough recipe most of all, great for all manner of bread things.

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  4. One of my favourite books too though I haven’t tried that particular recipe. Will have to have a go 😊

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  5. You would not see me anywhere near a Courgette! (Or a Squash) It's a texture thing.

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  6. I have Hugh's other veg book, the one with all vegan recipes, which, as a vegan, I really like. Must admit, I'm not a huge fan of courgettes and recently stopped buying rice after reading its cultivation is a major contributor to climate change. I see lots of quinoa in my future!

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    1. I prefer millet. Quinoa is grown for export and local people can no longer afford to eat their traditional food. Always layers of pros and cons to battle thru.

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  7. Splatters on a page are always a good sign!! It does looks like a great recipe.
    We have just celebrated 20 years as vegetarians. :)

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  8. Definitely. I once thought I would never see the day when the Other Half ate a vegetarian meal but we've reduced our meat intake significantly over the last year or so. And we feel healthier for it. If he can do it, anyone can!

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  9. Definitely one of my favourite cookbooks. I have many favourite recipes in it and the book always falls open to one of those. His Much More Veg is great also and is completely plant-based. My whole family has been vegetarian/ vegan for many years now.

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  10. Can’t say I can agree with the vegetarian/vegan thing is better. Hundreds of miles of hedgerows are ripped out for larger fields. Huge swathes of southern Spain, and other countries, are now just plastic greenhouses. The water used to keep crops that are demanded is phenomenal and we mention the pesticides and vermin control. I think perhaps choosing to source our food better, no matter what type, should be a priority. Don’t just assume going to a supermarket for your healthy, vegetarian apples and tomatoes is a good thing because by the time they’ve arrived in the gassed bags from New Zealand I’d rather have a lovely pork steak from the farm over the valley. Love or hate my opinion, thankfully we are all allowed one.

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    1. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion Amanda but our opinions need to be well informed. I think most people including me would agree that it is far preferable to buy locally produced seasonal fruit and vegeatables which is what I try to do, or at least buy British seasonal produce when I can. In an ideal world we would eat the occasional ethically reared pork steak from "across the valley" but that is a luxury afforded to very few. The fact is most meat is extensively reared to feed this ever growing need for animal protein. Yes, hedgerows are being ripped out to create bigger fields but that is so that farms can grow crops to feed livestock. I'm not denying there are many complex issues surrounding food production and consumption but several reports now point to the fact that one of the most significant things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint along with reducing air travel and car use is to reduce our meat consumption. And this is researched fact based reports not just my opinion. Personally I would like our beautiful planet to survive for my grandchildren.
      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/05/vast-animal-feed-crops-meat-needs-destroying-planet

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    2. Of course what really needs to happen is population control, but that’s never going to happen. :-( It’s all a bit of a weird world we live in and the babies are going to inherit. Which is a bit of a paradox! https://www.ecowatch.com/europes-dirty-little-secret-moroccan-slaves-and-a-sea-of-plastic-1882131257.html

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    3. If you have the time and opportunity, growing your own produce is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and enjoy fresh, flavourful organic produce.

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  11. Really enjoyed the courgette and rice pie, thank you for the link. Good to have something else in the repertoire during the courgette glut!

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