No Meat for a Month Challenge

So this March my husband and I are really going to challenge ourselves. We’re going to give being pescatarian a go. Okay technically not ‘no meat’ cause we’ll be eating fish and shellfish etc but that’s a good start for us, who’ve never really had a vegetarian meal in our lives. A number of reasons lead ourselves to this decision. In no particular order; we hope it will be cheaper, we might eat healthier, I get to learn how to cook new recipes (cause I’m pretty tired already of just making pies and different types of chicken like, all the time) and we decided pescatarian over just good ole vegetarian because well for me I’ve never really eaten fish, and I wanted to challenge myself to be able to cook fish meals (and hopefully I’ll convince my husband to give mussels a go!)
I know what you’re thinking, going cold turkey on meat is a bad idea. I understand I probably should wean myself off it, but heck I love a good challenge. It’s not something that’s just popped into my head either, I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and in preparation I’ve scoured through my recipes books to find some great recipes that sound and look yummy. Obviously I can’t post every single recipe, but here’s just a few of the recipes I can’t wait to cook!

  • Mini Salmon and Broccoli Pies
  • Roast Butternut Squash
  • Spicy Salmon Fish Cakes
  • Prawn and mussel Paella
  • Margherita Pizza (I totally forgot I can still eat pizza, just take away any meat toppings and there you have it)
  • Asparagus and Tomato Tart
  • Mushroom Vol au vents
  • Slow cooked Potato Stew

I got all these recipes (and more!) from my favourite recipe book ‘A Year Full of Recipes’. As I start the month of March and Begin trying out these recipes, I’ll be sure to post my favourites! For now though Google will do the work for you, just type in any of the meal ideas and you’re sure to get great recipes online!

Also side note I made my first ever soup today! I have no idea why I was so anxious to try making a soup, to be honest it’s actually the easiest thing to make. Today was Butternut Squash Soup, and even if I say so myself it was uh-maze-ing. I literally just threw it together this morning in the slow cooker so it would be ready for when me and my husband came home later this afternoon. 1 chopped butternut squash, roasted in the oven for 25mins in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. Whilst the butternut squash was in the oven in the slow cooker I had 2 carrots chopped , 1 red onion chopped, 2 celery sticks chopped and 500ml of vegetable stock. And then simply put the roasted butternut squash in with the rest of the ingredients. That was literally it. I had it cooking on low for about 4/5hours, came home, blended it, threw some croutons on top and there it was a really tasty, healthy and (most importantly for my challenge in March) vegetarian meal that I really enjoyed. So along with any other recipes I posted earlier I am now pretty confident I could make a good few soups as well to help me through this challenge in March.

So what about you? Do you think you could give up meat for a month? Who knows you may prefer it or at the very least you’ll learn a ton more recipes (which is my goal!). Let me know if you’ve ever tried a no meat diet or even a pescatarian diet, and if you have any recipe ideas then definitely share them!

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Easy Peasy Lemon Sqeausy Meringue Pie

  If this were an actual page, there’d be drool marks on it…Lemon Meringue Pie is my hands down favourite thing in the world… Well ever since I learnt to make it myself that is.

After I got married in October 2015, one of my goals has been to learn how to cook/bake/not burn things. Which is a lot more difficult that what that sounds. If your like me and you really struggle with anything food wise then you can appreciate that this is no easy task. 

But here’s the thing, no one else is gonna feed me, I have to do it for myself and my hubby! So I decided I need change, I’ve got to stop being scared of trying new foods and at least attempt to try to cook. And like a lot of us, we stick to the same routine day after day and that includes our eating habits and as comforting as that is, B.O.R.I.N.G.! 

Although after all this motivation for change I was still stuck with the problem of trying to think of things that I’d actually like to make. Here’s where those countless numbers of recipe books for engagement/wedding gifts come in handy! I fully recommend investing in a good recipe book that you actually are going to use. My favourite recipe book at the moment is ‘A Year Full of Recipes’. It literally has 365 recipes in it, from soups, mains all the way to desserts! This leads me to where I found the lemon meringue recipe of my dreams.

Being a newbie to this, the word ‘meringue‘ I admit, scared me. But the picture in the book screamed ‘EAT ME!!‘ so I bit the bullet and gave it a go. Best Decision of my life.
So anyone out there who is afraid of cooking/baking just give it a go and see what happens, heck if I can do it, then anyone can. If it’s a disaster well sure now you know for next time what ‘not to do‘. 

Those who are ready to blow their minds with amazing lemon meringue pie, then this is for you, ingredients and an easy to follow method below:

Serves
: 6-8                Prep time: 20mins plus 30mins chilling time            Cook Time: 1HR

Ingredients:

Pastry

  • 150g Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 85g Butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing
  • 35g Icing Sugar, sifted
  • Finely grated rind of half a Lemon
  • Half An Egg yolk, beaten
  • 1.5 tbsp Milk
  •  or you can use ready made shortcrust pastry 

  
Filling

  • 3 tbsp Cornflour
  • 300ml Water
  • Juice and Grated rind of 2 Lemons
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, separated

Method:

1. To make the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl. Rubs in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly. Wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F/Gas Mark 4.

2. Grease a 20-cm/8-inch round tart tin. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 5mm, then use it to line the base and side of the tin. Prick all over with a fork, line with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pastry case from the oven and take out the paper and beans. Reduce the over temperature to 150’C/300’F/ Gas Mark 2.

3. To make the filling, mix the cornflour with a little of the water to form a paste. Put the remaining water in a saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon rind and cornflour paste. Bring to the boil, stirring. Cook for 2 minutes. Leave to cool slightly. Stir in 5 tablespoons of the caster sugar and the egg yolks, then pour into the pastry case.

4. Whisk the egg whites, in a clean, grease-free bowl until stiff. Gradually whisk in the remaining caster sugar and spread over the pie. Bake for a further 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool and serve. 

Scrumptious Banoffee Ball Bites

If you’re like me, then you absolutely love anything and everything sweet. Which can be detrimental if you’re trying to be healthy for once. However, I couldn’t help but take matters into my own hands when I saw the snack-size video tutorial on how to make amazing bite sized Banoffee Balls on Tasty.

  
Here’s the ingredients and method to get you started: 

Ingredients:
1 400g Packet of Digestive Biscuits

1 Banana 

1 Can of Pre-made Toffee/Caramel (I opted for Nestles pre made Caramel)

2 Bars of Milk or Dark chocolate
Method:

1. Crush Digestive Biscuits in a large plastic bag (zip lock bags work very well at keeping all the crumbs in). Pour into a large bowl and add the Banana and half the can of Toffee/Caramel. Use a fork to mash it all together. If you need more Toffe/Caramel add more until it’s enough to coat all the biscuit crumbs without becoming too sticky. 

2. Roll the mixture in your hands to create 1inch sized balls and freeze for 15minutes until firm. 

3. Melt the Chocolate either in a microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water. 

4. Remove the balls from the freezer and dip into the chocolate until coated all over. Transfer to a sheet of wax paper and sprinkle biscuit crumbs over the top. Chill in the fridge for chocolate to harden and finish off with a drizzle of extra Toffe/Caramel before serving. Ta-dah! Enjoy! 

Such a simple and creative idea and yet so big on flavour, if you give them a go let me know how they went in the comments.