April 5, 2012

Meat free Mondays at AliKats? We need your feedback!

This summer, I have been trying a lot of new vegetarian recipes as over the last winter we had at least one or two vegetarians staying in the chalet each week and it is important to me to serve them the same standard of interesting and delicious food as everyone else.
Al and I have really enjoyed eating more vegetables and less meat and certainly feel better for it ; but aside from the health benefits from a less meat focused diet, there are also some pretty major environmental gains – in fact the link between meat and climate change has been well-known for a while now. A UN study in 2006 showed that the livestock industry was responsible for a shocking 18% of man’s global gas emissions.

So the question I would like to put to all of you is whether we at AliKats should jump on the band wagon and implement “meat free Mondays” in the chalet this coming winter? We’d love to know your thoughts!

To give you some “food for thought”, here is one really simple recipe I have been working on:

Aubergine and courgette parmigiana.

(this is a dairy and gluten free version as well but I have noted where you can swap out ingredients depending on your dietary preferences)

  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 3 medium courgettes
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 3 x 400 g tins chopped tomatoes
  • big pinch of sugar (to taste)
  • big splash of white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp oregano (fresh or dried)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 balls of buffalo mozzarella (or normal mozzarella if you’re not dairy free)
  • 2 tablespoons of gluten free breadcrumbs (or regular as preferred)
  • generous handful of grated pecorino cheese (this is a hard cheese made with sheeps milk but parmesan works just as well)

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4

1. Sweat the garlic and onion in a good glug of olive until softened and transparent; don’t let it brown.
Add the white wine vinegar and let it reduce completely.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, oregano and salt and pepper.
Bring it to a gentle simmer and let it reduce for about half an hour.

2. While the tomato sauce is reducing heat a griddle pan until it is smoking hot.
Slice the aubergine and courgettes length ways into strips about 1cm thick and then toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Cook them on the griddle pan until softened, turn them over when they have the dark brown griddle marks on them.

3. Put two generous spoonfuls of tomato sauce in the bottom of an ovenproof dish and then cover with the aubergine and courgettes.
Tear up some mozzarella and put this on top, then repeat the layers until you have used up all the ingredients.
Sprinkly the breadcrumbs over the top along with the grated pecorino cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbling.