Its not all lettuce and dust – week three

Once upon a time I was on the Aussie Ready Steady Cook show as a contestant. I was newly arrived in Aus and it seemed like a hilarious thing to do with a mate. It was. We had great fun and we laughed and laughed during our auditions for the show.

However, the actual show itself proved interesting. I already knew as a then vegetarian that I stood no chance of winning. However I did, naively, believe that they might try to balance the odds a little. Oh no, not so. As my lovely friend presented steak, chocolate fondue and something else delish to the audience my chef had me presenting soggy polenta, a terrible tagine and some fried pineapple. I gagged my way through the food smiling and making “mmmm yummy” sounds but I already knew my friend had it in the bag.  My chef was entirely disinterested in cooking and, off camera at the start of the show said in his french accent, “I don’t like cooking vegetarian food. I don’t serve it in my restaurant.”

My hopes sank as he asked me to chop an onion for the tagine.

I remember it baffling me, a chef who doesn’t like cooking vegetarian food. To a chef, I believed, cooking was the joy, regardless of the food. I look back now and think, ‘what the hell would he have done if I was a vegan?’

Somewhere during the show as the presenter asked me endless questions about what a vegetarian eats I got bored of trying to justify my diet and stated, “mainly just lettuce and dust.” Anyone reading who’s watched Little Britain will get this joke. However, I sorely mis-judged my audience of mainly 12 year old school boys and also the presenter’s TV knowledge as the joke fell on deaf ears and tumbleweed started to float across the set! I, however, was fairly amused with myself and felt much better as it stopped the endless flow of questions about what the hell I ate (and the strange removed judgement that I sensed along with it).

So – three weeks into being a vegan, I have learned its all FAR from lettuce and dust.

This weekend my husband and I made homemade Mushroom Arancini with a pea puree and salad. It was absolutely divine. I’m still eating the leftovers for lunch two days later.

For the arancini I simply ‘veganised’ the recipe by removing the parmesan and replacing with tofutti cheese slices chopped by scissors, using Vegg instead of egg and nuttelex instead of butter.

For the pea puree I basically followed the same rules…I replaced the butter with nuttelex and the cream with almond milk. I then also added a little fresh lemon juice into the mix et voila!

Absolutely delish and so far from lettuce and dust its not true!

Nom Nom Nom!

Nom Nom Nom!

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