THE NEW MEAT
Veg will safeguard your health, trim your waistline and bulk-up your wallet. It's time to upgrade your five-a-day from side-dish to main event
There is a man-food that contains more nutrients and vitamins per gram than any other. It can be seared, grilled and barbecued, then eaten as burgers and kebabs You can braise it, butcher It marinade it and even rear your own from the comfort of your kitchen. It will form the hearty kick of flavour, satiety and goodness on your plate and will even help you shed fat and stay in shape It is not meat.
It is called a vegetable. You know, that bit on the side, next to the fleshy love of your life. Now, we at MH would never ask you to cheat on meat. But a day apart wouldn't hurt. In fact, it would do you good. Recent research at Harvard University found that just one meat -free day a week can reduce your riSk of heart disease by up to 19% and cutting your weekly intake by the equivalent of a 450-calorie steak Will limit weight gain by nearly half a stone over your next 10 years of flesh-eating. And that's not just hunks of beef. That's good 0l', low-fat, eat-it-every-single-day chicken, too.
If the mere thought of a rare steak fresh off the board still has you salivating, consider this: studies show eating two portions of red meat a day increases your risk of bowel cancer by 35%. Vegetables, on the other hand, are higher in nutrients, just as quick to prepare and a darn sight cheaper, too. They can take the place of a Sunday roast, a weekday dinner and even a Friday night feast. So if you want to be healthier, and take a break from 'chicken (no) surprise', vegetables should be your one and only once a week. Here's exactly how to prepare, cook and eat your new meat. Because, vegetables matter.
QUICK TV DINNER
Slash yoursat· fat intake and stock up on protein·dense veg with th is light and nutritious take on corner-shop instant noodles. The principle is the same as ever: add hot water and devour.
DIY POT NOODLE by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley·Whittingstall
25g Protein per serving
- 1 nest of thin, quick-cook egg noodles
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder. or 1/4 veg stock cube
- Pinch of brown sugar
- 1 small carrot
- 3- 4 spring onions
- 6 sugar snap peas
- 1 leaf spring greens or green cabbage
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger
- 1/2 clove freshly grated garlic
- 1/4 red or green chilli
- 2 tsp of soy sauce
- Juice of 1/2 lime
DO YOUR PREP
Peel the carrots and slice them into thin strips. Trim and finely slice the spring onions. Shred the sugar snap peas and the cabbage (or spring greens). Remove the seeds and white pith from the chilli and chop it finely.
Put all the ingredients, except soy sauce and lime, in a heatproof pot with a lid (a 500ml Kilner jar will work perfectly). Pour over boiling water, pressing the ingredients down. Cover and leave for 10min, stirring once or twice.
Add soy sauce and lime juice to taste. Now eat.
Two portions of your five-a-day
350% of your RDA of eye-boosting vitamin A
HEARTY SUNDAY ROAST
A family lunch centrepiece that is easier- and cheaper- to cook than anyofthe trad it ional joints. Vary the vegetables according to the season for a fresh batch of nutrients all year round.
SQUASH SOUFFLE by Andrew Dargue of vegeta rian fine-diner Vanilla Black
15g Protein per serving
- 4 free- range eggs
- 175g butternut squash
- 225ml milk
- 150ml whipping cream
- 40g unsalted butter
- 40g plain flour
- 1 small swede
- 1 turnip
- 2 carrots
- 2 parsnips
- 1/2 red cabbage
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small bunch of mint
- 1 small bunch of tarragon
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- A pinch of sugar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
DO YOUR PREP
For the souffle
Peel the squash. Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. Warm themilk in a pan and preheat the oven to 180®C
For the roasted veg
Cut the swede and turnip into chips. Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut into round slices. Shred the cabbage.
For the herb dressing
PicK the leaves from the herbs and chop roughly with a sprinkle of sugar. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add salt and pepper and mix intheoil.
Roast the squash with a little oil until soft(around 45min), then setit aside. Melt the butter in a pan. Add the flour and cooK gently for around 3min.
WhisK inwarm milk and heat until the mixture thickens. Cool, then use a hand blender to blend egg yolks and squash. Whisk whites in a clean bowl, With a pinch of salt, until peaks form. Fold whites into the mix then season with salt and pepper. Bake in ramekins or small containers at 220'C for15-20min or until risen. Set aside to cool. Turn the oven to 190'C for the veg.
TIpall of the vegetables except the cabbage into a large tray and toss in the oil, sugar, salt and pepper to coat. Roast for 30-45min at 190'C until tender and coloured. Turn every lOmin. Half way through cooKing, add thered cabbage to themix.
... AND SERVE
Place souffles back in the oven at 180®C for 10min. While they're cooking, plate up the veg and drizzle with the dressing. Add the souffles on the side when they're golden and heated through.
Three portions of your five-a-day
50% of your RDA of brain-boosting potassium
50% of your vitamin C RDA
TOP OF THE CROPS
Nutritional heavyweights of the vegetable kingdom-based on their protein count and ANDI value"
14g Protein Per Serving
A rare slab of beef is the epitome of meaty indulgence, but the fibre content of these stuffed peppers will more than fill the hole in your face. It's Friday night food-minus the cholesterol.
SWEET STUFFED PEPPERS by Italian chef and author Giorgio Locatelli
Serves two (generously)
- 140g breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves
- 75g salted capers
- 150g whole black olives in brine
- 4 bell peppers or 6 pointed peppers
- 60g chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 75g sultanas
- olive oil
- 50ml vincotto (or if not, a good-quality sweet balsamic)
DO YOUR PREP
Blend 70g of stale good-quality bread or grate it into large crumbs.
Chop the garlic finely. Rinse and drain the capers and olives and pat them dry.
With a sharp knife, make three or four cuts in each olive from end to end and then cut each segment away from the stone as carefully as you can. Chop the olive flesh.
Slice the tops off the peppers-reserving the 'lids'-and remove the seeds with the tip of a knife, taking care not to break the 'case'. Preheat the oven to 180®C.
Mix the breadcrumbs, gaarlic, parsley, sultanas, capers and olives with enough olive oil to bind. Stuff some of the mixture in each of the peppers and put the lids on. Grease a roaasting tin with a little more olive oil and add the peppers, packing them together snugly so that they stay upright, or on their side if using the pointed kind. Drizzle a little more oil over the top. Cover the tin with a sheet of foil and cook in the oven for 15-20min, or until the peppers are tender, adding more olive oil if necessary.
Lift out the peppers and put them on a serving dish. Put the roasting tin on the stove and add the vincotto (or balsamic) to the pepper juices. Let it bubble, and stir gently to make a sauce. Add water if it's too thick, then spoon it over the peppers.
Two portions of your five-a-day
500% of your RDA for vitamin C
25% of your RDA of fibre
NEW MEAT MASTERCLASS
Grow veg from your kitchen with author Jo Whittingham
1 For indoor crops of peppers, tomatoes and chillies, sow inn March in a heated propagator (at about 20®C) or on a warm windowsill. It's best to choose smaller varieties:Totem tomatoes, Apache chillies and Gourmet peppers are all compact.
2 Before planting your veg, check that there are holes in the bottom ofthe container. Place broken polystyrene in the base to improve drainage. Sow seeds about 2cm deep in trays and make sure seedlings get plenty of light. Prompt pricking out - removing the seedlings from trays-and potting individually will keep your plants strong.
3 Water plants generously once or twice a day during summer and apply a high-potash feed-a fertiliser high in potassium-to fruiting crops every week during growing season. When watering, concentrate your efforts at
the base so that the water can soak directly to the roots.
Andre Dupin, head chef at top London cookery school L'Atelierdes Chefs (atelierdeschefs.co.uk) shows you how to wield your blade with aplomb
You don't need to peel them. Just take the top and bottom off, then trim the sides to make four flat surfaces (the ends should look square) with no skin left. This is the secret to uniform matchsticks. Now cut this into very thin slices, gather the strips together, turn, and cut into thin batons.
The tip is tender, but the base can be very tough, so break it off first. The asparagus will naturally break where the spear becomes softer and more tasty. To make sure the bottom of the spear cooks at the same speed as the top, peel the skin from the bottom 3cm.
DICING AN ONION
Cut the peeled onion in half through the root.Then slice it into very fine strips, this time without touching the root. Make two or three cuts across the top with a big knife,parallel to the chopping board. Make sure the onion stays in one piece.Cut top to bottom across for the final dice.
How to store your vegetables for ultimate freshness and Methuselian longevity, by Jane Baxter, headchef of the Field Kitchen Restaurant at Riverford Organic farm (riverford.co.uk)
1 Reserve fridge space for your leafy salad greens and broccoli. Most vegetables don't need to be stored at temperatures this low.
2 Keep the rest of your veg in a cupboard on a north-facing wall or hang it in a net or rack in a cool, dry place well away from hobs or ovens.
3 Leave the plastic wrap on the veg in your fridge to keep moisture in. On other veg, remove wrapping to prevent mould, and cut off leafy tops as they'll draw out moisture.