Meat Free May is done. So what have I learned by going veggie for a month?
Well, it reminded me that I’m not very good at thinking things through. When it comes to deciding on new or improved recipes at COOK, the buck has to stop somewhere … and it stops with me. The trusted members of the taste panel play an important role, of course, but I make the final call on each particular dish. Every week I go to at least two tastings of all the dishes in development. I had naively thought that during Meat Free May I could just try the sauces of the various Christmas dishes currently in development but, after the first two tastings, I realised this was going to lead to some bad decisions. If you are developing an extravagant duck pie, it’s kind of important to try the bit that quacked.
That is a rather long-winded way of saying that my Meat Free May hasn’t exactly been entirely free of meat. However, outside of tasting meetings, I’ve been clean apart from one indiscretion: after our recent supplier conference we were having a few drinks and I scoffed a few of our sausage canapes before remembering they were off-limits.
With takeaways, as with life, it's the little things that really make it. While a COOK Indian takeaway is really all you need for a classic curry night, personalising it is easy: throw some fresh coriander or pomegranate seeds on top or, if you’ve gone for something spicy like the jalfrezi, stir in some fresh yoghurt. Done. But if your ambitions stretch a little further than that, here are some simple (and a few not-so-simple) flourishes that will turn your COOK takeaway into a banquet fit for a Bollywood star.
I might as well come right out and say it: I fell off the wagon. Actually, scrap that. There’s no wagon. Going vegetarian really hasn’t been a chore. In fact, it’s been a breeze. My wife Sophie has made a couple of delicious haloumi-based meals and I have, of course, eaten plenty of dishes from our own veggie range.
If you're going meat-free for May (or, at least, a bit of it) we thought you might like some inspiration in the form of some go-to veggie crowd pleasers. If you're after a list of ingredients or cooking instructions from any of the recipes below, they're all online. Just pop the recipe name into a search engine.