I believe that if you are going to eat meat, choose organically raised animals that have been treated well and lived outside in their most natural way.
Lots of people thrive better with meat, it is hard to make a vegan diet work long term without serious learning and dedication to balancing the nutrients we need, though (I have to say it) I believe a regime light in meat, dairy and processed grain and sugars is best and learning to eat well is worth it.
People always say to me that eating raw vegan is so expensive and also eating organic meat or fruit and vegetables is so expensive – well yes it can be but so can eating a standard diet. It depends on what you choose. If you buy it all fresh and seasonal and choose well you can eat really well for less.
Last week I saw organic chickens for sale, buy one get one half price. I paid 12€ for both.
For the first time ever I boiled a chicken.
This is how I did it.
I simply put the whole chicken, 2 whole carrots, an onion cut in quarters, a stick of celery plus the leaves from a couple of other sticks in a big pan. I threw in a sprinkle of whole black peppercorns, ½ teaspoon of salt, some fresh thyme, rosemary and sage out of the garden – dried would be fine.
Water , about ¾ of the way up the chicken, if I had used a smaller pan with a more snug fit it could have covered it. Popped the lids on, brought to the boil then turned down to a simmer and left it for just over an hour.
When it was cooked I removed the chicken, which was messy as it all fell off the bone it was so tender. I pulled all the meat off and put the carcass back into the pan and left it, with the lid on to simmer all afternoon, about 4 or 5 hours altogether. Then I strained and put the stock into jars and when cooled into the fridge. At this point you could freeze the stock so that you could use it for a longer period of time.
I was amazed at how much chicken there was and how good it tasted.
The chicken was packed into a glass storage box into the fridge.
Meals from 1 chicken.
Chicken or mushrooms
Miso/lemon grass/garlic/ginger/seaweed/ coriander leaves – all or none, its optional
I chopped carrots into sticks, shredded bok choy and kale (any cabbage would work), about ¼ chopped red pepper. NB just use any veg!!
I heated some oil in a pan and gently fried sliced leek for a few minutes with some chopped lemon grass (not necessary but I had some) and a crumbled red chilli (I have a small tub in the cupboard, they keep for yonks!) then added the vegetables and stir fried 2-3 minutes. I added some stock (I wanted it like a soup so added enough for two of us – you know how much you need 😉 and a spoonful of miso and stirred as it heated. This went into bowls with some soba noodles for Robin which I had cooked and rinsed in cold water and a handful each of sprouted mung beans that I had sprouted myself. Shredded chicken on top.
You could add a boiled egg on top too if you need more.
I sprinkled seaweed over.
OK, I know all that looks a lot but if you have dried peppers and dried seaweed flakes in the cupboard, they are a bit pricy to buy but last for ages and you don’t need to use a lot. Miso same thing; and it makes a really good savoury drink any time. Lemon grass can be bought and chopped and kept in a freezer bag in the freezer. Ginger the same, just peel it (easy, scrape it with the back of a spoon) and pop it in the freezer then grate as and when you need it. If you don’t have home made stock use a cube, a Miso cube is lovely.
The whole think took me ten minutes.
Robin is putting insulation in the roof up a ladder, going up and down all day long and needs calories. He also does fine with bread so a few sandwiches made from good bread, packed with leaves and cucumber and chicken served him very well.
- Savoury Pancakes
Fresh herbs (I used coriander, sorrel and dill as I had them)
Leaves (I used spinach and water cress)
I made Socca pancakes (chickpea flour with same quantity water – ie 1 cup flour, 1 cup water OR as I did ½ cup chickpea flour and ½ cup coconut flour, you need a bit more water for this) heat one side in a pan that can go into the oven then pop in the oven for the top to cook.
I stuffed these with lots of leaves, chicken, fresh herbs, mungbeans, avocado slices and some homemade salsa I had in the fridge.
See how to sprout your own mung beans here Friday bits and bobs
Mixed fresh vegetables
My usual think I just threw in the veg I had (Squash, leeks, parsnips this time) added the stock and blended with a wand blender when cooked.
- Chicken n chips
Salad or coleslaw
I chopped sweet potatoes and beetroot into chips and shredded some sage leaves. Tossed all in olive oil, ground cumin and a pinch of salt and cooked in the oven. I served with the chicken and some salad with a lemony dressing on it; I have also served it with homemade coleslaw.
So that is 9 meals and there was still a bottle of stock left which I didn’t use in time and was too concerned to keep after a week so had to throw away, annoyingly.
Do you ever do that, think it is so precious you need to keep it and then it goes off. The mango I treat us to then save for the perfect moment and it is black inside….
Reminds me of a beautiful little outfit I had when Aimee was a baby and I kept it and kept it until it fit then she was to big for it in a couple of weeks.
I still do it /:
SO, 9 meals using the expensive chicken plus fresh veg and store cupboard items.
All flexible with ingredients and quantities.
All in all really nutricious, warming, tasty and inexpensive meals!