It’s Meat Free Week. Take a look to see what the campaign is highlighting. Then read on to compile your menu for the next seven days – helpfully, half the food writers used it as the prompt for their recipes.
No meat, this week
To be honest, as with gluten free, lactose free etc, the best meat free recipes are not ones that involve tenuous substitutes or massive flashing ‘free from’ signposts. Rather, they’re recipes that work and tempt, simply because they’re good.
For example, I’m pretty certain Meat Free Week wasn’t on the agenda for Henry Dimbleby and Jane Baxter in the Guardian’s Cook. Yet Jane’s fava bean falafel, spiced aubergine and tomato and minted yoghurt sauce was the recipe that made me want to go veggie the most.
There was no pro veggie agenda in Rowley Leigh’s piece leading to his pappardelle with artichoke number either. Two things I like in particular about this piece: 1. The admission that he’s barely ever made pasta; and 2. The very weight specific flour, egg, and egg yolk ratio in the (Georgio Locatelli borrowed) recipe.
Bill Granger’s Independent on Sunday column was firmly in the ‘favourite meat free recipe’ camp. Head there for Vietnamese style (i.e. fish sauced) aubergines with prawns; bulgar wheat stuffed squash; and courgettes spooned out and filled with anchovies, bread and mozzarella.
Jamie Oliver offered Sunday Times readers whole roast cauliflower tikka masala. I certainly like the idea. Though, in this instance, is the whole roast cauli really better than a tray of roast florets that are then coated in curry sauce?
Hidden in the weekend pages of Saturday’s Times was a set of meat free recipes by Anna Hansen. Beetroot, lemongrass and miso risotto really intrigues. I’m sure roast tomato, fennel and ginger soup with sumac croutons will be good too.
Cook offered ten tofu recipes. Crispy fried tofu with chilli dressing and tofu tempura both caught my eye. That said, I’m still to be wholly convinced by tofu and there was no recipe for my favourite type – tofu skin. Also, this ang moh would love a guide for the brands to head towards when referred to ‘extra soft’, ‘silken’, ‘medium firm’ and ‘extra firm tofu’.
Plenty of sweet things to follow the salad.
Yotam rescued recipes from the 1970s for his Guardian column. A massive lemon curd and mascarpone massive millefuille topped with pomegranate, raspberries and rose petals. Save space for the prune, almond and ginger trifle too. Oooh. Matron.
I thought Ruby Tandoh’s lemon and basil poppy seed muffins look pretty strong in Cook. On that baking theme, the latest three week resident Cook writer is the baker Claire Ptak (at the time of writing, her piece isn’t yet online).
Perhaps my preferred set of sweet things this weekend was Nigel Slater’s lighter bites in the Observer. These included passion fruit glazed madeleines and a super sounding banana and cardamom frozen yoghurt. One to bookmark, I’d wager.
In The Telegraph, Deliciously Ella swaps refined sugar for shit loads of dates in her ‘raw brownies’ (which might also be known as ‘pureed dates with maple syrup and cacao powder’). Naturally occurring sweetness or not, these are super sugary bites.
Oh go on then, meat if you must
Mark Hix didn’t get the all veg email. Thanks goodness, because his hand raised game pie recipe looks bang on. In fact, let’s lift and scull a large glass in honour of the photo of that and also the cut through of his bergamot meringue pie. These weren’t ‘styled’, they were just cooked f*cking well. Chapeau.
Thomasina Miers took inspiration from Morocco for her column this week. Nowt wrong with lamb neck, prune and chickpea tagine. As an aside, I’m still waiting for a food writer to take the Moroccan theme to the next level and provide the recipe for stuffed camel spleen. Must it be me?
Some saffron themed recipes from John Whaite in Saturday’s Telegraph. Regular readers will know that I think saffron tastes like Toilet Duck. If that flavour floats your cistern ball valve, then take a look at recipes for disinfectent-like buns, poached pear salad, and a chicken and chickpea stew. Also in The Telegraph: some brunch ideas, and recipes from a French blogger.
Theo Randell provided a few easy Italian dishes in The Sunday Times. I’m a fan of veg heavy faux carbonara, so the asparagus with linguine gets a thumbs up.
Finally, good to see Ross Shonhan in Saturday’s Times. He provided four ramen recipes. A bit cheeky, though, because the real secret to ramen lies in the broth, and these just call for ‘good quality chicken stock’. Oh, and though the four best ramen at his (excellent) Bone Daddies restaurant are the tantanmen, tantanmen II, seafood kimchi and tonkotsu, none were covered here. So they’re no more the ‘Only Four’ ramen recipes you’ll ever need, than the Only Four feature is still within its use by date.
How about this chicken skin ‘bacon’, egg and cheese laced porridge number. Yep, me too.
Well it had to be vegetable focused, didn’t it? Bill Granger’s bulgar wheat and feta topped squash tempted and were pretty successful. The prescribed dollop of yoghurt is important. Painting the squash with honey and caraway seed oil half way through the bake is a nice touch.
Weekend Menu, 22 and 23 March 2015
Fava bean falafel and minted yoghurt
Jane Baxter, the Guardian, Cook
Beetroot, lemongrass and miso risotto
Anna Hansen, The Times (Saturday)
Banana and cardamom frozen yoghurt
Nigel Slater, The Observer
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