Starting something new can be daunting. And this is very true when it comes to cooking. Someone tells you about this great quick recipe you’ll be able to whip up in 15 minutes. You try it and it takes you an hour… You get discouraged and never do it again.
Now think of your child. They can see you walk and talk and you make it look effortless. And how long it took your little one to master these two skills? What if they decided crawling and babbling is fine, walking and talking is new and scary and too much hard work…
When we turned veggie I didn’t know what to cook. There were all those mysterious beans and pulses staring at me with their colourful eyes from the display jars. We’ve had a lot of them for years and had best intentions of using them, but meat was always the easier, more familiar option. Now I had to face it, as legumes are essential to healthy vegetarian diet.
Here are 3 things which I wish we have started eating before we turned veggie.
From kitchen decoration they turned into our comfort food within a space of a month. They are delicious, nutritious, quick and easy to cook and very versatile. Granted the first time I cooked dhal according to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s easy recipe it took nearly an hour of carefull weighing of ingredients, stirring-way-to-often and general novelty related anxiousness. After cooking it twice I can whip it up in 30 minutes (it cooks while you get on with other stuff).
The texture is very satisfying and the way they breakdown during cooking makes them ideal to absorb other flavours. They can be used for quick bakes, croques, stews, salads and thickening soups. Adding a pinch of spice or teaspoon of spices transforms them into something new every time.
You may be a potato addict (I used to be!) and find nothing easier than cooking spuds, but think how long it takes to peel them. Lentils just need a quick rinse and into the pot they go!
Not to mention how cheap they are and how well they will keep in your cupboard (ours were still good after a few years of standing on the shelf and looking pretty…).
2. Nut butters
The only nut butter I thought existed was peanut butter. The stuff you get from a shop in a jar, filled with salt and various emulsifiers. Daddy and me used to eat it, but it wasn’t something I wanted to offer to Little F. Since we are vegetarian and nuts are important part of nutrition we had to find a way to offer nuts safely to Little F, whole ones pose a chocking hazard.
While looking for peanut butter recipes I have discovered the world of nut butters. Turns out you can make butter from any nuts, and you don’t need palm oil to do it. All it takes is nuts, oven and a food processor.
My personal favourite is slightly runny and very umami roasted walnuts butter.
Here’s a detailed tutorial, but the quick version is: roast nuts, put them into food processor, whizz for 10-15 minutes – ready!
3. Wheat germ
This is the part of the seed which contains majority of wheat’s nutritional value. It’s like the yolk in the egg, which feeds the new life. I knew that eating wholemeal was the healthier option, but I didn’t know it’s possible to buy ‘the goodness’ separately.
Nutrition in a nut shell, or rather a seed shell:
Wheat germ is a bountiful source of energy, fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates, all of which interact in numerous ways with the body’s internal systems. Important daily vitamins like folate, Vitamin E, and B (Niacin, Thiamin, and B6) can also be found in high levels in wheat germ. Minerals are usually not far behind vitamins, and wheat germ provides huge levels of potassium and iron to people’s diets, as well as very good levels of zinc, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium.
It is an incredibly versatile ingredient. I add it to soups, yoghurt, mix it with breadcrumbs, add to porridge and muesli, sprinkle over fruit salad… It hasn’t got much flavour so it will work in almost anything.
In case you are wondering: Little F loves all of the above.
Are there any foods you have discovered recently and you wish had known about them all along?