I’m the daughter of a beef farmer and could not imagine living without meat. But I also find the recipes by authors such as Meera Sodha, Melissa Hemsley, Georgina Hayden and others completely inspiring and many of them feature no meat at all.
It’s worth explaining for a moment what being flexitarian means. OK it sounds like a trend, a faddy word to describe a new millennial food obsession. But wait. It’s actually about saying it’s OK to eat more veg and less meat, that meat or fish does not need to be the centrepiece of every meal. That sometimes it can just be a flavouring, like a few cubes of pancetta in a carbonara, or it simply doesn’t need to be there at all.
By eating in this way perhaps a) we will all be healthier and b) can source our meat and fish a little more carefully.
At home we eat a wide range of vegan and vegetarian food. The meat I buy has to be high welfare for our own health, for the animals’ wellbeing and for the planet. So it’s expensive and we don’t eat a lot of it. Right now I have the remains of a cooked leg of lamb in the fridge, which I’m about to turn in shepherd’s pie. We ate it roasted with new potatoes and cavolo nero (we being me, my husband, 3 year old and 10 month old), then as cold cuts with salad during the recent heatwave and whatever is left now will be cooked up into said pie.
Favourite veggie dishes include Dhruv Baker’s chickpea curry, Melissa Hemsley’s butternut squash and miso soup, The Detox Kitchen’s daal, Jamie Oliver’s puy lentil and broccoli salad with anchovy dressing (admittedly not one for the kids) and Georgina Hayden’s shakshuka with roasted feta on the side. I make these flatbreads to go with it.
When my editor on Waitrose Weekend asked me to write the feature (above) about the rise of flexitarianism I knew there were a whole range of exciting names I could speak to. But it was also interesting that one of our doyenne’s of cookery, Prue Leith, has recently published a vegetarian cookery book.
She says she tried to get it published back in the 80s but was warned off the title ‘vegetarian’. How things have changed.
A few inspirational links:
- Meera Sodha’s new vegan column in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/food/series/the-new-vegan
- Green Kitchen is great, especially if you have kids: https://greenkitchenstories.com
- Melissa Hemsley has fantastic ideas: