Ditch the meat, save some cash
Judging by the popularity of shawarmas, roast dinners and meaty curries here in the UAE, it's unlikely many people are considering turning vegetarian any time soon.
Yet without concern for our four-legged friends prompting a swap from burgers to beans, with the economy still uncertain, foodies in other parts of the world are ditching the meat in an attempt to save cash.
“The number of people who are completely veggie - not eating any chicken or fish - is very stable. But the growth is where people are choosing to eat vegetarian food for reasons such as reducing their shopping bills,” says Su Taylor of the Vegetarian Society in Britain.
“By buying things like dried lentils or pulses, you can make meals for the whole family that would cost much
less than if you were buying meat.”
According to market research company Mintel, the ‘meat-free’ foods market grew by nearly a third in the five years up until 2011.
In a survey, nearly half the respondents said they limited the amount of red meat they ate, with 24 per cent restricting their consumption of poultry and 32 per cent curbing their intake of fish.
The most popular reason given for avoiding all three was financial, with health coming a close second in the case of red meat.
In his new cookbook ‘Eat Your Veg’, Arthur Potts Dawson aims to put vegetables “at the centre of the plate”.
He writes: “For most of us, veggies are just the accompaniment: think of your Sunday roast, for example. You might decide on chicken or roast beef. But what about the roast potatoes and garlic cloves? The carrots, parsnips, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, beetroot, asparagus, courgettes and other vegetables are the unsung heroes of cooking.”
With just 22 per cent of us managing to eat our recommended five a day - according to a poll by the World Cancer Research Fund - there’s no time like the present to get started by trying out one of Arthur’s recipes...
AVOCADO WITH GRILLED HALLOUMI AND MINT
(Note: Use vegetarian versions of cheeses if preferred)
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4-6)
200g (7oz) halloumi cheese, drained
3 ripe avocados, peeled, stoned and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 bunch of mint, chopped
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
75ml (2 1/2fl oz)
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Preheat the grill to high. Cut the halloumi into slices, 1cm (1/2in) thick. Place on a grilling rack and grill for about five minutes, until the top becomes deep golden brown - the darker the colour, the more bite the cheese will have when it cools.
Turn the halloumi over and grill the other side for five minutes, or until the same colour, then remove and leave to cool slightly.
Place a few pieces of avocado on a serving plate, then tear the halloumi into bite-sized pieces and add them too. Sprinkle with some of the mint, salt and pepper, vinegar and olive oil. Repeat the layers of avocado, halloumi and flavourings until the ingredients are used up.
This is a great way to ensure each mouthful captures the brilliant combination of flavours.