Meat-Free February - week 1

Tuesday, 15 March 2011  |  Admin

As you'll know if you read my blog regularly, last year in March we did a meat-free month which was great. We ate more fish and veg, and tried some fantastic new recipes which have become family favourites. From an environmental perspective it's always good to find ways to eat less meat (and it's cheaper than meat too!)
I wanted to do the same thing again this year but as baby no4 (and yes, I am looking forward to the day when this child is no longer a number but has an actual name) is due towards the end of March and we'll be relying on freezer meals after that, I've decided to bring it forward.
This was our first week, starting on Saturday 5th Feb and overall it's been a great one:
Saturday: Vegetarian Pizza

Sunday: Jamie Olivers Fish Pie

Monday: Jacket Potatoes, Beans & Cheese

Tuesday - veggie paella

Wednesday - Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Gnocchi *

Thursday - cheese, onion and potato pasties

Friday - Fish Fingers & Chips (the adults are out for dinner!)
*This was a batch cook, so I've got some frozen for lazy tea!
Jamie Olivers fish pie was a winner, it's just so rich and creamy, we had friends round for lunch and it was clean plates all round.
On Tuesday we tried a version of the Ottolenghi Veggie Paella."> Their recipe included fennel (which I couldn't find when I went shopping) and artichokes which I'm not fussed on. So I swapped them out and included an extra pepper and a large tub of mixed olives and sundried tomatoes from Sainsburys. It was gorgeous, but we increased the ingredients by half again and it and made enough for D to take some to work with him for lunch the following day.
Wednesdays meal was a slightly different version of the Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Gnocchi recipe which I found on the waitrose website. I changed it to make standard potato gnocchi instead of sweet potato because I have a bag of spuds needing to be used up. I also doubled the recipe so I've got some in the freezer for a lazy meal another night.
D, A and I all really enjoyed this but no2 son point blank refused to touch it (to be fair he had been unwell) and J sucked the sauce off the gnocchi and didn't eat them. Hey ho.
It's only the second time that I've made gnocchi and I used a different recipe without eggs - these ones were definitely lighter and more fluffy. It's quite easy if a bit time-consuming to make gnocchi but here's the recipe:
Potatoes (I had about 1.2kg of flesh once I'd scooped them out of their jackets)

Plain flour (about 300g)

Cook potatoes in their jackets in the oven for about 1 hour at 190c When cooked, scoop flesh from potatoes and either mash or put through a ricer / sieve Sift flour onto the potatoes and mix to combine to a dough - be gentle here! Roll pieces of your dough into a sausage and then slice to form small pillow shapes Cook the gnocchi until they float in a large pan of salted boiling water - you'll need to do these a batch at a time. If you're not going to use the gnocchi immediately, place them individually onto a floured tray and cover until needed. The gnocchi also freeze well like this - freeze them on the tray and once frozen you can put them into a freezer bag or two. To use, cover with sauce and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180c for 30 mins or so.
Hopefully this will give some of you some inspiration to try more meat-free meals. If you do, be sure to let me know!

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