Let’s talk about vegetarianism. No wait, veganism. Hold on, what about pescatarianism…oh wait, let’s not forget to mention flexitarianism.
If you have an inkling to turn the page, do it now (or hear me out).
Living in Australia in the 21st century can be seen as a wonderful thing. We lead relatively (sometimes VERY) comfortable lives, are up there with other developed nations in terms of economy, lifestyle, technological advancements and whatnot. In one sentence, I love Australia. I love its diversity, its complexities, its multiculturalism, its simplicity.
But what I don’t love so much is the state of our population’s health. We are all over the place in terms of health. We seem to be a nation of fitness junkies, raw foodie vegans, binge drinkers, overindulgers, fad dieters, couch potatoes – need I say more?
But today I’m going to speak for myself, as I can only understand things from my own experiences. I grew up in a Turkish family, where my mother, as so many other immigrant parents do, fed us what she would of eaten growing up in a village in southern Turkey. If you’ve read this post on my ode to the vegetable, re-read it. Vegetables made up the majority of my diet growing up, meat was always there, but never the element my culture celebrated on a plate. Instead of meat-and-three-veg, mine was more like veg-stew-and-bread-with-the-odd-bit-of-lamb.
Okay, now I’ll get to the point I’m making. Why don’t we all stop for a second. And just think about food rationally. And stop complicating everything. And just eat some damn veg!? Why can’t we stop seeing vegetarians and vegans and raw foodies and all sorts of ‘fascinating’ ways of life as a novelty thing, or something only kooks in Newtown (you guys rock!) and inner city hipsters do. The humble vegetable is one of the most beautiful things in life.
This is not an anti-meat, anti-carnivore post. It is simply a reminder that vegetables are delicious and proven to make us healthier human beings. And they are really exciting to cook with. In terms of cooking with them, you can do pretty much anything. Experiment with spices, oils, cooking methods and find what works for you. Get that goodness into your belly. But try to avoid deep-frying them, they are much too pretty for that.
Here’s a recipe I literally just made up and it excited me so much about my little veggie pals that I decided to create a post about it (very rare). Velvety, sticky, sweet and smooth – you’re going to love this one.
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 2 tsp coconut oil (or any oil with a high smoking point)
- 1 cup butternut pumpkin (with skin on), thickly sliced
- 2 cups eggplant (with skin on), thickly sliced
- toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1) Place a small saucepan over high heat, add pumpkin and enough water to just cover. Pop on a lid and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and set aside.
2) Heat 1 tsp oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Arrange the eggplant so that the pieces aren’t touching and, without stirring, cook for 5 minutes, or until just golden brown. Turn over once and repeat.
3) Meanwhile, place small saucepan with pumpkin over high heat and add 1 tsp oil. Repeat step 2, again making sure pieces are separate. Turn off heat.
4) Once eggplant is golden brown, turn the heat to high and add soy sauce. Add the pumpkin and stir until liquid evaporates and vegetables are caramelised. Season and sprinkle over sesame seeds.
Note: You can substitute the pumpkin and eggplant for pretty much any other veg that caramelises well – potato, sweet potato, zucchini, corn etc. Make sure to adjust cooking times to suit the different vegetables.