Vegetarian/ Vegan Shepherds Pie

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Recently I have decided to heavily cut back on the amount of meat I eat. I do not possess any where near the requisite will power to become a vegetarian full time but I have pretty much stopped buying and therefore cooking with meat. This is in part a money saving venture but predominately I just enjoy being able to smugly reflect on the microscopic sacrifice I am making for the good of the environment every time I get on a plane or accidentally put some plastic in the normal bin.

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Actually cooking without meat is pretty hard, especially if you like trying out new things in the kitchen. At first it was an exciting challenge, but after about a month of the same 5 vegetables variously disguised as curries, chilli and stew, I was starting to get pretty bored. This shepherds pie, despite not exactly reinventing the wheel, does provide a bit of a contrast. The lentils are a good alternative to mince and give a fairly similar texture and the whole dish is comfortingly familiar; perfect for a chilly winter night.

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Ultimate Fully Loaded Burgers!

burger3Recently I made plans to meet a friend for dinner, unfortunately neither of us had much money. I hate eating out or searching for restaurants when I have got no money. The food always sounds great but any enjoyment is hampered by knowing that you can only afford half the things on the menu. After being underwhelmed by everything in my price bracket I thought why not just bring the pub to mine. I provided the food and she provided alcohol in various shapes and sizes. ( I apologise for the quality of the photos- many beverages had already been tested at this point!)

Burger1For ultimate pub-grub I decided to make us burgers. Everywhere seems to have their own view on what makes the best burger and I thought I would add my voice to the mix. I go simple normally with burgers, I stick to original beef but with all the trimmings. In my opinion both cheese and bacon are essential as is a good base of salad. All in all, I can confirm this recipe is the quick and easy way to make the perfect Friday night-in burgers that will rival any pub’s.

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A Sweet Potato/ Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

Sweet Potato

Recently I have been very confused. The weather is a nightmare. We have been having a lot of that sort of rain that doesn’t really fall from the sky but just hangs there, midair. There is a real predicament about umbrella usage in this type of weather. No one wants to be the idiot with an umbrella up when it’s not raining but equally you don’t want to walk around holding an umbrella but not using it. My walk to work the other morning was farcical, umbrella up, umbrella down, my arms were knackered by the time I got there. There is a constant worry about what to wear, whenever you I go out the weather decides to change entirely about 30 seconds after I have left the house!

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Equally baffling is the question of what to eat in this sot of weather. Thunder storms conjure up images of stews or jacket potatoes but guaranteed as soon as you start cooking the sun will come up and you’ll fancy a salad and a glass of wine. This recipe is my solution to confusing British weather, it is both warming and light and requires very little effort.

spI usually make this dish with Butternut Squash but this time I decided to mix it up a bit and use a sweet potato. This is so much easier as one sweet potato is the perfect size for one. I also chose it because sweet potatoes seem to be very fash at the moment, they are everywhere as chips alongside that other food fad du jour, the burger. Also, sometimes when I make this I mix the lentils with some salad leaves to give it more body. This is not necessary, the salad is entirely delicious on its own. Continue reading