Monday, May 23

Yeah, but what do you eat?

Being a vegetarian is something I'm passionate about. Maybe even a bit militant about... but I've been doing this for 14 odd years. I frequently get asked: "what do you eat?", and its weird because I just eat food. I eat interesting, yummy food. I eat something different to the previous day most evenings. I probably eat a wider variety of things than meat eaters. No honestly.
When we were in Uganda we frequently got asked whether we liked their food "oh yes its lovely" (read: "good god this is the most boring crap bland stuff ever") We lost a lot of weight over there. There's only so much beans and rice a person can handle. Plus its hot so your apppetite dwindles anyway.
But when people asked us about what we eat in Australia, what we grow and eat, well, it's hard to say. It's hard to explain to someone that eats the same carb heavy thing everyday that we can eat whatever we want, but it isn't usually mashed up green banana (matoke). That we don't grow what we eat, we buy whatever we like from a shop.
We found ourselves saying things like err Australians eat... ummm... spaghetti.... rice... vegetables... meat. And they are like "oh okay, so the same as us except no matoke".
I feel the same way when people ask me what I eat as a vegetarian. Seeing as I'm pretty sure I think about food about 75% of the time, it seems strange that I struggle to answer this. The food on this blog is mostly baking... because thats my hobby. But I love cooking dinner, when I'm home. I love thinking about flavours.
I mentioned the giant roast we had on the weekend. I made the vegetarian alternative to eating lamb. A mushroom and brazil nut pie. I will unashamedly say, it was flipping great. When it's Christmas or Easter or big family dinner time I don't miss out, I reckon I win. 1. I have room for dessert coz im not overloaded on fatty meat. 2.  I have a clear concious - (hey I warned you I'm militant)
Without further ado, a recipe, so that next time its a roast occasion why not think about baby animals suffering for your ten minutes of culinary satisfaction... then think about making this instead.

You need:
Pastry (you could cheat and buy ready made for this part too)
* 225g wholemeal plain flour
* 225g white plain flour
* 200g butter, cut into small cubes
* 8 tablespoons cold water
* milk to glaze
* 50g butter
* 1 large onion, chopped
* A few cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped finely.
* 300g button mushrooms, sliced
* 2 tbsp plain white flour
* 300 ml vege stock (massel is the best)
* 2 tbsp tomato puree
* 350g brazil nuts, chopped into medium to small bits (I whizzed them in a food processor for 10 secs of so.)
* 150g wholemeal breadcrumbs
* Fresh parsely, sage, oregano (or herbs you have growing but not basil) and pepper to taste.
Make the pastry. Sift together the flours and then rub in the butter, until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the water, and bring it together to form your dough. Wrap it in cling wrap (I prefer to recycle a clean plastic bag) and pop it in the fridge for at least half an hour while you make the filling.

Preheat your oven to 200c.
Make the filling. Melt the butter in a large pan or deep fry pan. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and fry for atleast 5 minutes until its getting soft.
While still on the stove, sprinkle in the 2 tablespoons of flour and stir it in. Slowly add the stock, stirring until it is all smooth and thickening.
Stir in the tomato puree, nuts, breadcrumbs and your fresh herbs and pepper.
Taste it and add anything you think its missing. I added a tiny dab of chilli to mine. But you might prefer more salt, pepper, freshness from parsley etc. Turn off the heat and let it all sit in the pot and cool slightly.

Grease your pie dish. Mine is about 30cm across and 5cm deep.
On a floured surface roll out two thirds of your pastry nice and thin and make it the base of your pie, let it hang over the edges a bit.
Squash the filling into the pastry case and then roll out the rest of the pastry to be the top of the pie. Pinch the edges together so it's sealed (and pretty).
Cut a  hole or cross in the top of the pastry to let steam out and if you have any left over pastry make a little leaf... or mushroom maybe to decorate.
Brush the top of the pie with a light coating of milk and pop it in the oven for 30 - 40mins until it is golden brown on top.

Serve with roast vege's and watch the meateaters enviously eye of your glorious vision compared to their brown dead thing (Okay okay now im just being provacative i know! I jest!)

ps. You can make this vegan by switching the butter for marg and using soy milk to glaze.


  1. I've been a vegetarian for about 10 years and get this question a lot too. My usual response is "Everything you eat, except for the meat."

    It's always amusing that this produces a quizzical look while they mentally inventory all the things they eat:

    Sausages - X
    Bacon - X
    Steak - X
    Meat Pies - X
    Chicken - X

    Nothing else is even on their radar as counting as food.

  2. Hi Anon. yeah thats what I often say too! So funny! *s*

  3. Totally going to make that pie Soph! We're not vegetarian but in an average week would eat far more vego than meat-based meals. Better for the environment, better for us, and because eating less meat gives us more in the budget to spend on ethically sourced meat & fish, better for our victims too ;)

    Nic xo

    PS do you have the Moosewood Cookbook?

  4. HI Nic, no I don't have that cookbook but have heard of... it's my birthday soon so I'll put it on the list! Yup I reckon thats the way to go if you're gonna eat meat Nic. Nice one.
    Mia, soooo have you become a vego yet ;)

  5. Its interesting. Vegetarianism isn't a concept in all cultures. I haven't encountered it here. Accept some Hindu's who don't eat meat. I remember in Vietnam too, the concept of being strictly vegetarian wasn't understood. Here we eat meat 1-2 times a week but mainly because its difficult to get and the process is quite shocking at first. Thanks for the insight! Loren

  6. I ate a piece of that pie and it is no lie people - its delicious!!! Long live baby lambs (alive ones that is!)


Thanks, I love receiving comments! *s*