I’m just going to put it out there and say it. I’m owning up. I’m coming clean. The affair is over. I think…….How do I say this? I think…. I’m a vegetarian.
Initially, it really wasn’t by choice. The renal diet I was funnelled into was the beginning of the end. Where previously I would have had 5oz of meat per meal, this was now my daily allowance. I was very proud of myself in the beginning. We went to a restaurant one night and I ordered the 8oz fillet – I asked for them to cut it in half and put half on my husbands plate so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat it. Twenty minutes later, the waiter arrived with about enough meat to go between two slices of ‘Brennan’s Best’ and I hushed the voice inside that screamed “Thats not enough to feed a child”.
Repeated disappointment resulted in my belligerent refusal to eat meat at all. If I couldn’t have half the cow, I wasn’t going to even bother. Unfortunately for me, belligerence does not correlate to culinary excellence, so my early efforts consisted of courgette and water – that was the soup.
It wasn’t long before I noticed my clothes getting a little too roomy around the hips and I realised my bum had started to diminish in size and worse still, in tone. So, it was back to the drawing board and the books and 2inch layers of butter on my bread to keep me going until I found a way to make the no meat thing work for me.
I am a visual learner. I have to see how things work before I can repeat them, so reading recipes from a book is not on my ‘fun list of things to do when you don’t have any time to do them’. So, I found little clips on Facebook and other social media platforms and I started getting ideas from those and slowly but surely, I began to feel less tired, my skin perked up and thankfully, I stopped losing weight. As a nutritionist, you would think that I had everything under control in the food department at least, but I see now how difficult it can be when a number of your options are taken away due to illness or allergies. Certainly, the whole experience has allowed me to have greater insight into how my clients are faring on a daily basis.
Swapping Like for ‘Nearly-Like’
I started by swapping meat out and something else in. Bolognese and lasagne was made with aduki beans, as was savoury pie and shepherds pie. Chicken and mushroom vol au vents were made with chickpeas and mushrooms (I have an awesome recipe that uses lots of cauliflower in secret) and curries were made with chunky roast butternut and any mix of beans that were in the cupboard. Everything was really healthy and delicious and once or twice a week, I would partake in some roast chicken (seriously – not able to resist the Sunday chook).
But I was longing for something bold. I wanted to have the burger, the melted cheese, the relish and whatever other trimmings I could imagine. I cooked up burgers from the local butcher, bought floury white baps and sautéed some onions and sat down to a feast. The first bite was to die for. Utter satisfaction as the flavours came to me one by one and I hungrily went for the second bite. By the time I got half way through the burger, I thought I was going to be ill. The juice, and the fat and the texture….it was just all wrong and it felt like a lead balloon had landed in my stomach. This was not on! I wanted…I needed something tasty, something I could cook on the BBQ at the beach the following week so I wouldn’t look like a weirdo eyeing the sausages and burgers on the grill with jealous eyes.
The Importance of Teaching Your Kids To Cook –
My childhood was full of getting my hands dirty in the kitchen. I was the only grandchild and my mum was oldest of 8 so her younger siblings were like older brothers and sisters to me. I was their scullery maid and right hand woman yes, even age 6). So, on one occasion as I was peeling potatoes and kneading the brown bread, my uncle was making something called ‘Aduki Burgers’. I was a fussy eater, but these were delicious. Thats where this recipe comes from, although I don’t think we had coriander and fresh ginger in the corner vegetable shop back then. I have decided to take a few ingredients that I like and try throwing something more modern together. They may not be anything like the ones from my childhood, but I have to say, they turned out pretty well.
I made them up and stuffed them inside a pitta bread with cos lettuce and spooned a generous portion of greek yoghurt with cucumber and mint on top. This went really well with the Ballymaloe Jalepeno relish I used in the bottom of the pitta.
Heres the recipe if you would like to try them for yourself:
Aduki Burgers – The Shopping List
1 tin of aduki beans (you can used dried ones after you have soaked them overnight obviously and then boiled them vigorously for at least 15 minutes)
Either sweet paprika or hot paprika depending on your tastes.
A knuckle of grated ginger
1 clove of garlic
1 large sweet potato and 1 cup of breadcrumbs
Spring onions, coriander and parsley.
I roasted the sweet potato in the oven, then as I was peeling it, I microwaved the beans for 30 seconds. If you don’t like using the microwave, pop a little water into the bottom of a saucepan and allow to boil, pop in the beans for a minute or so. Once you have peeled the potato, mix with the aduki beans and use a potato masher (Is that what they are called?) to mash up the mix. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing them all through, leaving the breadcrumbs until last. Form the mix into balls (after seasoning of course) and then flatten onto a baking tray. You could shallow fry these, but I went for the healthier option of oven roasting them. Roast for about 20 minutes on 180degrees (fan oven) and just remember that if you make them particularly thin, they may cook faster and vice versa if they are very thick.
I hope you give these a go and perhaps experiment with other burger ideas. My good friend Sue @2birds1squid, is an awesome chefon Kangaroo Island. She sent a delicious recipe to us on the #sustain1 group during the week for quinoa and beef burgers. Let me know below if you would like the recipe and I’ll give that one a go for the kids.
Follow Me Here